Guelph police say that methamphetamine use is increasing in the city, replacing cocaine and crack as the drug of choice.
Det. Sgt. Ben Bair, the head of the Guelph police drug enforcement unit, spoke on The Morning Edition Monday about a joint bust with Waterloo and Woodstock police that saw police arrest nine people last week and seize $100,000 worth of cocaine, $4,000 worth of marijuana, and large amounts of cash.
The seizures are the result of months of an investigation dubbed "Project Vegas."
"Marijuana's being used at large rates, but also opiates are being used at large rates, but the most recent trend seems to be crystal meth," said Bair, commenting on the problem narcotics in Guelph.
'Many of the cocaine traffickers that we're hearing about are also now moving crystal meth as well.'- Det. Sgt. Ben Bair, Guelph Police
"Crystal meth is being used by many people who were traditionally cocaine and crack cocaine users," said Bair. "It has seemed to make more inroads into a younger crowd than, say, crack cocaine has in the past."
Crystal meth, or methamphetamine, is a stimulant that's easy to produce in home labs - and is easy to sell.
"It's happening everywhere, it's happening on the streets for sure, certainly with students it would be happening at student parties," said Bair, when asked about about where meth is being sold in Guelph.
"It would be happening inside what are traditionally known as crack houses, or meth houses in this case, it's happening all over the city,"
According to Bair, methamphetamine is attractive to drug traffickers because the drug can be made in Canada. That way they can avoid middle men and the hassles of importing drugs like cocaine from South America, he said.
"In most cases it's availability that starts it. Historically in Guelph there seemed to be a reluctance to move towards crystal meth, but that seems to have changed in the last year and a half or so, and many of the cocaine traffickers that we're hearing about are also now moving crystal meth as well," said Bair.
"So I think availability plays a large role in terms of people's decision price, which is directly proportionate to availability, obviously if there's a lot available, prices are cheap."
But the drug is not necessarily being produced in Guelph.
"We're not hearing about significant quantities of labs in Guelph, much of the crystal meth that's in Guelph seems to be coming from neighbouring communities," he said, adding methamphetamine use is a province-wide issue.
"Having said that, crystal meth can be made by an individual, in something as small as a pop bottle. We have discovered a few of those, and that's certainly concerning as well."