In June The New York Times obtained a leaked U.S. government report on methamphetamine production as well as patterns of its use and price in the United States, that the U.S. government refrained from releasing because, according to the Times, it was trying to “minimize diplomatic turbulence” with Mexico. The report says that meth has its “highest purity” and “lowest price” in five years.
More than an indictment of the Mexican government, the report appears to be a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the Mexican drug cartels that have diversified their suppliers of precursors, their methods of importing it, and found new precursors, in particular phenylacetic acid, to substitute for the old. In response to increasing supply of crystal meth in the U.S., Mexican legislators, along with Guatemalan, Salvadoran and Honduran authorities, have enacted laws to limit pseudoephedrine and ephedrine imports. According to the report, these efforts appear to have slowed the imports but also increased the use of new precursors, which accounts for the increased production of meth in Mexico.
“National Methamphetamine Threat Assessment 2010,” U.S. Department of Justice. (pdf)