Drug smugglers are using liquid meth to hide the drug from border patrol agents, but the substance–at least in liquid form–has not shown up in Santa Clarita.
Liquid methamphetamine recently made headlines for being the newest way to smuggle drugs across the border into the United States from Mexico.
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The liquid drug may be harder for law enforcement to detect, but it is by no means new, said Cary Quashen, founder of ACTION Family Counseling, which operates several drug and alcohol treatment centers in California.
The only thing that’s changed is the sophistication of the smugglers, he said.
Now, instead of stashing the drug in the trunk of the car, where it would be clearly visible to a border patrol agent, the drug is often stored in sealed tequila bottles.
In January, NBC reported that a 17-year-old boy from Mexico was arrested the San Jose International Airport after officials found more than a gallon of liquid meth hidden inside five tequila bottles.
While the use of meth is on the rise in the Santa Clarita Valley, the liquid variety has not shown up in the area.
“(It’s) a development that we will experience, but we have not had it yet,” said Sgt. Bob Wachsmuth of the Juvenile Intervention Team at the SCV Sheriff’s Station.
This is because the liquid drug is primarily used for smuggling purposes and is turned back into a crystal before it is sold, Quashen said.
But he wanted to emphasize that meth, in any of its forms can kill.
The multiple overdose deaths in the SCV have drawn attention to heroin in recent years, but meth is just as dangerous, Quashen said.
“The kids say, ‘I won’t use heroin; it kills. But, what about crystal meth?’” according to Quashen.
“Is crystal meth as dangerous as heroin? Yes it is,” he added.
Methamphetamine is an emotionally addictive drug that causes increased respiration, rapid heart rate, irregular heart-beat, increased blood pressure, increased body temperature and a short-lived high, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
When used long-term, it can lead to anxiety, psychosis and schizophrenia.
The key to tackling heroin and meth use in the Santa Clarita Valley is cracking down on the gateway drugs that lead to addiction, specifically prescription opiates, Quashen said.
The community needs to “pay attention to gateway drugs,” he said, “attack that at a younger age, so we can stop the need for crystal meth and heroin at an older age.”
No one wakes up and smokes meth or shoots heroin, he said.
For more information about ACTION Family Counseling and the work they do in the Santa Clarita Valley, click here.
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