Meth use down in Pima County

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Methamphetamine, it’s a drug that affects the central nervous system and creates an intense feeling of euphoria in the brain.

It's also very addictive and can cause extreme weight loss and dental problems.

Larry Munguia of Tucson helps recovering meth addicts.

“Mexico has been shipping in the high quality meth, so we've seen a shift from small time labs to the stuff that's being imported from Mexico,” Munguia said.

He calls the Mexican version, toxic.

“It does a lot of stuff to the brain that the other meth never did before,” he said..

Wednesday, he joined a roundtable discussion on meth with those who prosecute meth users, those who arrest them, and those who treat them.

The good news...

“We've seen a reduction in some of the methamphetamine use,” said Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall.

LaWall credits the efforts of neighborhood associations for working together with police, and she praises the fact that it's now more difficult to buy the drug, pseudoephedrine, from your local drug store.

“Pseudoephedrine is the precursor drug that you need in order to manufacture at home, methamphetamine,” she said.

But, there's some bad news with the reduction of meth use.

“That reduction, however, has shifted the kind of drugs people are using, and the drug of choice, it appears to be, is heroine,” LaWall said.

She says heroine is an epidemic in Tucson's high schools that has filtered down to middle schools as well.

The answer to break the cycle?

“What we need to do is work on recovery,” Munguia said. “That there's always going to be a problem out there. Be it meth, heroine abuse, alcoholism. There's always gonna be a problem.”

But it's a problem many at Wednesday’s roundtable discussion agree won't be as severe if they all work together.