Crime Beat

Blue Meth Isn’t Killing Albuquerque, Blue Pills Are

Fentanyl crystals and pills. (Source: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration)

Residents of Albuquerque are intimately familiar with the Breaking Bad craze. 

There are tours, stores, and even blue methamphetamine-inspired rock candy available for sale locally, all to pay homage to the show. In the show’s defense it was well written, has great cinematography, and does a good job portraying that there are no winners in narcotics. 

Fast forward eight years from the end of the show’s production to where we are today and methamphetamine is certainly a major issue causing death and detriment to all of New Mexico; however, blue methamphetamine is a made-for-TV selling point, but the blue pills circulating the streets are not.

As reported by The Albuquerque Journal’s Mike Gallagher, overdose deaths directly correlated to fentanyl have skyrocketed around the metroplex:

“The state’s overdose death toll jumped to 721 in 2020 compared with 574 the year before, an increase of 147 fatalities, according to provisional numbers gathered by the Centers for Disease Control…”

Most Americans collectively scratched their heads when they heard the cocktail of medication that ultimately killed Michael Jackson. Few had heard of Propofol prior to the death of the pop music icon and can only correlate the drug with his death, as it had been unheard of for people to recreationally use surgical grade anesthesia to get high. 

The days of ignorance are over and our peers and neighbors are being poisoned with unregulated anesthetics.

“In New Mexico, fentanyl is typically found in counterfeit blue pills made to look like prescription 30 milligram oxycodone tablets. The pills started showing up in New Mexico more than five years ago and over that time the price of a single pill has dropped from $30 to between $10 and $20.”

Photo by Dave Morgan

More alarming, America’s porous southern border has allowed not only a humanitarian crisis to occur, but has also created the perfect storm to feed the addiction demands that the American market has to offer. Regardless of politics, it is devoid of logic to say that there is not now two crises at our southern border.

“[M]ost of the fentanyl sold illegally in the United States is smuggled in from Mexico and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized more fentanyl in the first four months of 2021 than in all of 2020. As of April, CBP seized 6,949 pounds of fentanyl at the border compared to 4,776 pounds in 2020.”

All of this leaves some points to ponder, because drugs correlate directly to crime, homelessness, and mental health issues. 

If the social collective bargain that people want to agree upon is that “addiction is a disease,” then the penalties narcotics traffickers face should be tantamount to that which an individual who preys on a person with cancer or any other illness would face. 

We as a society have to decide if we will take the poisoning of our peers and neighbors seriously, or will we ignore it because it hasn’t disrupted our personal kingdom of mud. 

At a certain point we have to realize inaction is not care or love for the “unsheltered” population. Letting the homeless wallow in their own filth and drug addiction and telling the police to leave them alone because they are VuLnErAbLe…that is the opposite of care.

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