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Methamphetamine use, which was on the decline until recently, appears to be increasing due to Mexican drug cartels and small U.S. drug producers, the Evansville Courier and Press reports.

“Methamphetamine is unique from other illicit drugs of abuse because production of the drug requires no specialized skill or training, and its recipes are readily available on the Internet,” Joseph T. Rannazzisi, Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Office of Diversion Control, told the newspaper. “The precursor chemicals associated with this drug have also been historically easy to obtain and inexpensive to purchase. These factors have contributed to methamphetamine’s rapid sweep across our nation.”

A report by the National Drug Intelligence Center released last August, “National Drug Threat Assessment 2011,” stated methamphetamine use was increasing, especially among the young. The report attributed the rise to Mexican drug cartels that control smuggling routes across the Southwestern border, which can produce, transport and distribute the drug. Most of the meth smuggling occurs across the border in Southern California, the report noted.

Two-thirds of the nation’s meth supply is produced in large labs in Mexico and Southern California, and trafficked throughout the country. The rest is manufactured in small meth labs found in locations such as basements, kitchens, garages, bedrooms, car trunks, and vacant buildings.

Rannazzisi said the DEA supports local laws requiring a prescription for over-the-counter cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient of meth. “At the federal level, DEA is committed to exploring all options, including legislative changes to place pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and their analogues in Schedule V, as prescription-only substances,” he added.

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