Crytal Meth manufacturing
on the rise
The clandestine manufacturing
of crystal meth has increased significantly in
Canada in recent years.
LABORATORIES SEIZED IN CANADA
RCMP Synthetic Drug Operations
Five years ago, RCMP noted an increase in the
cash sales of products used in the manufacture
of synthetic drugs, such as methamphetamine, ecstasy
and GHB. Chemicals were being diverted from legitimate
sources to illegitimate drug-making labs in Canada
and, in particular, the U.S.
Tighter controls in the U.S. on
the sale and purchase of pseudoephedrine - a
principal ingredient in crystal meth, most commonly
found in cold medications - led American
drug traffickers to find supplies in Canada and
bring them across the border. Organized crime dominated
the smuggling, diverting the chemicals mostly to
methamphetamine "super labs" in California.
Crystal Meth users are younger Canadians
with the increase in chemical diversion, police
and addiction counsellors started to see a resurgence
in methamphetamine use among Canadians in their
teens and twenties, mostly in Alberta and B.C.
In Alberta in particular, the availability of meth
spread from cities to bedroom communities and rural
In 2003, new legislation called Control
of Precursor and Other Substances Frequently
Used in the Clandestine Production of Controlled
into force. The law was aimed at stemming the
flow of Canadian chemical shipments to meth labs
in the U.S. American police did note a large
decrease in seizures of Canadian pseudoephedrine.
RCMP Corporal Scott Rintoul thinks the drug is being imported from underground
labs in Vancouver and Washington state to smaller towns.
However, the Canadian meth lab industry started
to boom, and outlaw motorcycle gangs, Asian crime
groups and independent trafficking networks became
heavily involved in the production and trafficking
A rise in synthetic drug use
At the same time,
the RCMP saw an "unprecedented
rise" in synthetic drug use, in particular
ecstasy and methamphetamine in the rave and club
drug scene. They also saw the use of synthetic
drugs spread to more mainstream use.
Today, the RCMP says that pseudoephedrine is
the most diverted chemical in North America.
And, the World Health Organization has said that
"methamphetamine is the most widely used illicit
drug after marijuana" in
In 2004 B.C. cops busted thirty meth labs across the province.
Crystal Meth in B.C.
Canada's crystal meth problem is the worst in British
Columbia. The number of deaths there related to
methamphetamine has risen from three
in 2000 to thirty-three in 2004. Most of those
deaths have been drug overdoses or car accidents
in which the driver was high on meth.
READ ABOUT TWO
B.C. TOWNS WITH
A CRYSTAL METH PROBLEM
A large majority of meth-related deaths in B.C.
have been men and most were in the Vancouver area
where B.C.'s meth problem is most pronounced.
Drug counsellor Bob Hughes says that crystal meth has become the drug of
choice for young users in the city Kamloops B.C.
A rise in certain types of crime in B.C. in recent
years is in part attributable to the increased use
of methamphetamines. Car theft, fraud and sex assault
are all fuelled by the adrenaline rush from crystal
Charges in possession, trafficking, importation
and production of drugs other than heroin,
cocaine and marijuana have also risen dramatically
in B.C., reflecting the growing use and manufacture
of synthetic drugs in the province.
The RCMP's Scott Rintoul says the problem is quickly
spreading across Canada. "It's
right across the country now. In Toronto and Montreal
and the east coast, it's there now. It may not be
at the same level as here, but it's definitely moving
from west to east."