Spread of Crystal Meth in New York City Raises Concerns

New York City officials are concerned about the spread of crystal methamphetamine, which up until a year ago was mainly limited to the gay community, the Associated Press reported May 16.

While other parts of the country have been dealing with methamphetamine abuse, Anthony Placido, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) New York office, said it has not been much of an issue in New York.

“It’s ironic and sad,” Placido said, “but part of the reason is the widespread availability of other stimulants, like coke and crack.”

Crystal methamphetamine has mainly been a “niche drug,” used by the gay community because it boosts stamina and sex drive. “It was euphoric beyond anything I’d ever experienced,” said Alan, a 45-year-old magazine editor who used the drug until he began experiencing deep depression and insomnia as a result.

But now, authorities said that large-scale suppliers have targeted New York City and its many nightclubs as a new market. In the past six months, federal authorities in Manhattan have seized 25 pounds of methamphetamine and arrested more than 30 people, compared to 11 arrests in all of 2003.