Meth Markets in America: Mom-and-Pop Shops and the Mexican Cartels

September 26, 2014 10:56 PM

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While Breaking Bad has given us a multiyear tutorial on methamphetamine in America, many questions remain for policymakers and social scientists. Is meth use a growing problem and an emerging epidemic? Is it mostly a rural drug or a West Coast phenomenon? How is it that some places in the United States seem to have little to no meth use while others are inundated? Are meth markets different from those of other illicit substances, and if so, how?

Our four-year study of methamphetamine markets taught us that most of the questions about meth can be answered by understanding the dynamics of the relationship between meth markets and public policy. We found a complex, multifaceted, transnational industry. At one extreme, meth is produced in small...

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