Drug Enforcement Agency: Utah meth-related deaths on the rise

Nov 16, 2018, 8:14 AM
DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian Besser explains Utah drug-related death stats from recently published Drug Threat Assessment November 15, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY — The Drug Enforcement Agency is out with some alarming stats regarding drug-related deaths in Utah. Meth-related deaths are increasing at an alarming rate.

The opioid crisis is a major concern for state officials, the DEA says, but we have another lingering problem in meth.

“Methamphetamine in this state is out of control,” says DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian Besser. “Utah, oddly enough, is the state with the highest meth-related deaths in all of the west and mid-west right now.”

According to Besser, Mexican drug cartels are the main supplier of Utah’s meth, heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine. And they’re taking what he calls a keen interest in our state.

“They capitalize on our highways, they capitalize on the rural aspect of our state,” Besser explains.

Marijuana is also a concerning issue, Besser says.

“States that have decriminalized marijuana continue to serve as the primary suppliers of high-grade marijuana in this state.

Our bookends, Colorado and California, are the main culprits, according to Besser.

On a more positive note, Besser adds Utah saw nearly a 12-percent decrease in opioid-related overdose deaths in 2017.

The stats Besser referenced came from the DEA’s recently published Drug Threat Assessment for 2018.

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Drug Enforcement Agency: Utah meth-related deaths on the rise