Meth Use Spreading in Europe

Boom in Czech labs has UN officials fearing US-style epidemic
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2007 9:02 AM CST
In this undated file photo released by the Community Partnership, methamphetamine, colored with strawberry-flavored children's drink mix is shown.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Methamphetamine use appears to be on the rise across Central Europe, following an explosion in the number of small home meth labs in the Czech Republic. Czech authorities have raided 416 methamphetamine labs this year—up from 19 in 2000, reports the New York Times. UN officials worry that the labs, using the pseudoephedrine found in common cold medications, are moving product throughout the European Union.

The Czech Republic  has “by far” the worst methamphetamine abuse in Europe, the UN says, perhaps due to the location, until 2002, of one of the world’s largest ephedrine factories. The closing of that factory, located in a town just outside of Prague, may have prompted the boom in smaller labs and the decentralized distribution, which authorities say complicates control. The number of countries in Europe reporting seizures of methamphetamine more than doubled between 2000 and 2005, from 11 to 25.