US warns of 'global meth threat'
BBC May 10, 2006
US authorities have warned that the addictive drug
methamphetamine has become a "global threat".
US Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) chief Karen Tandy said global users
of methamphetamine outnumbered cocaine and heroin users
She was speaking at an
international narcotics conference in Canada.
Methamphetamine, or crystal
meth, is a stimulant which induces euphoria, but can lead
to side effects such as violent behaviour and depression.
Delegates at the 24th
International Drug Enforcement Conference in Montreal were
told that synthetic drugs such as ecstasy and
methamphetamine were becoming a worldwide phenomenon.
trafficking and the movement of its precursor chemicals
are an increasing global threat," Ms Tandy told the
"More than 26 million
people worldwide use amphetamines - largely
methamphetamines... ," she added.
She cited the example of a
laboratory in Indonesia, raided in November, which had
exports linked to Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and the
- Sold as powder, tablets or
- Can be snorted, smoked,
injected or swallowed
- Can alter personality, increase
blood pressure and damage brain
Criminal gangs were also
exporting the drug from the US to Japan, she said.
The raw ingredients of the
drug were being shipped from India and China and smuggled
through third countries, she added.
Dr Paul Thompson, a
California-based neuroscientist researching the effects of
the drug, told the BBC's World Today programme that the
spread of the drug could lead to an increase in violent
"We know that many of the
people that are arrested in Los Angeles - about 40% of
them - have been using methamphetamine," he said.
"We're worried that as this
drug is spreading throughout the US and overseas, this
could produce a massive increase in violent crime."