Had the fictional TV show "Breaking Bad" been set in Illinois or another state in the Midwest, Walter White, aka Heisenberg, would have felt right at home.
No other region in the U.S. is more awash with clandestine methamphetamine labs than the heart of the Midwest; and in Illinois, the number of meth lab seizures by authorities ranks among the highest in the nation, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. In 2013, Illinois trailed only Ohio, Missouri, Tennessee and Indiana for meth-related incidents.
The Illinois State Police has kept track of the number of meth lab busts since 1997. Note this data differs from federal figures because the DEA also includes the seizure of dumpsites, equipment, chemicals and glassware in its statistics. Over the past 10 years, 2006 was the first time there was a significant decrease in the number of meth labs seized, after it peaked at 973 in 2005. In 2009, the trend reversed and there was a sharp rise in lab seizures, reaching 753 in 2013.
(Hover over the data points to see the exact figure for the given year)
The New Hope Recovery Center notes the devastating effects it has on the human body.
The long-term use of methamphetamine can have serious internal physical health consequences:
- Weight loss
- Severe dental problems: Meth Mouth
- Permanent damage to blood vessels of heart and brain
- High blood pressure leading to heart attacks, strokes and death
- Liver and kidney damage
- Destruction of tissues in nose if snorted
- Respiratory problems and lung damage if smoked
- Infectious diseases and abscesses if injected
- Damage to the brain similar to Alzheimer's disease
- And of course there are the observable physical effects that have been shown in numerous mug shot comparisons:
- sunken eyes
- dark baggy eye lids
- facial drooping, particularly the mouth and lower lips
- pale skin
- dark blue-black lips
- wrinkles from skin losing elasticity
- acne and sores
Check out Reboot Illinois to see which Illinois counties have had the most meth lab seizures since June 2006.
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