Ten years ago, the average gram of meth available in the U.S. was 39 percent pure. Today, it is being sold in a nearly pure state, manufactured in Mexican “superlabs” and smuggled across the border to feed an epidemic of addiction.
The drug is being peddled alongside fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin, and carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer that can kill a human with just a speck or two.
The purity and potency of the illegal – and in some cases legal – drug market has seemed to reach new levels. It is a trend that is particularly alarming to authorities as it unfolds against the backdrop of an emerging opioid crisis that has taken an unprecedented number of lives and touches all walks of life.
Drug poisoning deaths are the leading cause of injury death in the U.S., surpassing car crashes, suicide, homicide and guns.
It begs the question: Just how much stronger can drugs get?
That could depend on how the opioid crisis pans out, as there are indications that the craving for prescription highs and…