Fort Wayne police are seeing a surge in methamphetamine use, backed by statistics showing meth seizures are on pace to exceed last year's record levels.
“We're just seeing the market is just flooded with meth at this time,” said Capt. Kevin Hunter with the police department's Vice and Narcotics Division.
Police have seized 1,810 grams of meth this year compared with 2,984 grams last year.
Crystal meth is 98 percent pure and very cheap, Hunter said. A typical dose is a gram or less with about 28 grams in one ounce. An ounce, which used to cost $1,200, now costs about $400 on the street, he added.
The Allen County Board of Health's needle exchange program, which began about two years ago, is seeing a surge in meth users asking for clean needles, Hunter added. Heroin and fentanyl are still being used, but law enforcement and emergency personnel are also seeing mixtures of methamphetamine and fentanyl as well.
Law enforcement first became aware of methamphetamine use in the mid-1990s, when it was considered primarily a rural problem, Hunter said. Its use brings on anxiety, nervousness and paranoia, but can make a user feel like “Superman” and can make an individual stay awake for days.
“(Meth) is everywhere now,” Hunter said.
This year, 41 people in Allen County have died from drug overdoses involving a number of drugs, according to statistics obtained by The Journal Gazette.
However, another 42 deaths could be drug overdoses when toxicology reports are completed.
In 2017, 127 people died from drug overdoses in Allen County, the highest since 2012. Last year, that number was 108, compared to 68 drug overdose deaths in 2016.
Overdoses were unknown in 2012 and 2013, according to the statistics, but in 2014 Allen County had 44 fatal overdoses with 310 non-fatal overdoses in Fort Wayne. Drug overdose deaths surged to 127 by 2017, but dipped in 2018 to 108.
Meth seizures (in grams)
2019: 1,810 (year-to-date)