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Perfect Meth Storm

The discovery of oil here in the Bakken formation has given us a boon when it comes to employment, but there’s a real fear there’s poison in the mix as well. With an unemployment rate of 2.8% (November, 2012) and the state getting 11.5 cents a barrel on oil extracted, we are eating high on the hog compared to the rest of the nation. But that same booming industry has brought young men from out of state in droves, stuck them out in the boonies without the entertainment and social opportunities they are used to.

The answer for some of these new oil workers comes in the form of drugs. Methamphetamine is a scourge here, and it looks to get worse. The State Attorney General, Wayne Stenehjem has a public service announcement out (audio in quicktime format) warning farmers about theft of anhydrous ammonia from their tanks. Anhydrous ammonia is used to make meth. He recommends farmers don’t leave tanks out in the field and describes the signs that indicate a theft has occurred.

In a report to the Interim Judiciary Committee last month, the Director of the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation said, “With the influx of people into ND brings a larger supplier of illegal drugs to ND. We have people coming from all over the country to North Dakota. With this influx brings a larger variety of drugs. These people bring with them their drug of choice and share that with others creating new habits for users. Meth is being cooked in a much more variety of methods also. Traditionally there was one type of meth cook in ND, now there are cooks coming from all over and bringing their method of cooking with them. ND still receives the vast majority of meth shipped from CA and Mexico but there is more being cooked here that in the past.”

The BCI Director goes on to cite limited resources to combat the rise in meth use.


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