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February 08, 2013 09:59 PM

Is Meth Making a Comeback?

Sioux Falls police made seven meth-related arrests in two days. Three people were arrested at a Grange Avenue residence on Wednesday after police say a child living there and other neighborhood residents tipped them off. The next day a tip led police to a mobile meth lab at an East Sioux Falls home near 12th Street and Van Eps Avenue where four were arrested.

On Friday afternoon officers returned to a neighboring home in the area after a neighbor said someone put meth-making materials in his trash can. Addiction counselors say the drug is highly addictive and they have also seen an increase in meth-related visits.

“Every time you're either slamming it or smoking it, you're taking your life in your own hands. The risk is there that you may not come out of that,” Keystone Treatment and Outreach Center assistant clinical director Phyllis Bauerle said.

Bauerle said meth use slumped the past few years following legislation to limit the sale of popular ingredients used in it.

“So why is it coming back? We're talking about that too,” Bauerle said. “Why is it coming back so strong again?”

The two labs found this week in Sioux Falls were not large-scale meth-making operations. In most instances, the materials and items used to make the drug are things your home commonly has. Bauerle says because the drug is so expensive, users often turn to making it for themselves or to make money.

“They will put things in like rat poisoning and all kinds of different hallucinogens,” Bauerle said.

As a counselor at Keystone in Sioux Falls, Bauerle says those who look for treatment are usually at a last resort. While it's too soon to tell if this suspected spike is a trend change or just happenstance, she says the drug has never gone away and it continues to be among the most dangerous out there.

“It robs you of everything, financially, emotionally, spiritually. It takes everything away. So, by the time they come through the doors they have nothing left,” Bauerle said.

Meth treatment is also extreme to deal with the drugs' extremely addictive traits. Bauerle said users looking for treatment usually end up in an intensive inpatient program that can last more than 18 months.

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