Meth on the Rise | TBI Crime Lab Uncovers New Drug Trend

For the first time, methamphetamine exceeded marijuana as the drug most submitted to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). Last year, massive drug busts like those in Hawkins County have led to more meth coming into Tennessee state custody than in any years past.

About the TBI

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is a government agency created in the wake of a 1949 murder in Greene County. Since its founding, the TBI states that it has striven to “provide up-to-date investigative, forensic science and support to Tennessee’s criminal justice system.” Its efforts are allocated into several key divisions: criminal investigation, drug investigation, forensic services, information services, Medicaid fraud control, technology and innovation, administration and training.

Perhaps most interesting of these divisions are the efforts of the TBI’s crime labs. With locations in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville, these organizations provide insight to emerging drug trends across the state.

Meth Trends in Tennessee

The amount of meth in the Volunteer state has steadily trended upward in recent years, even trumping the trafficking of marijuana. Historically, the TBI has analyzed a steady amount of about 10,000 marijuana submissions per year. However, while 2015 saw just 3,748 submissions of meth, 2019 saw a much greater amount: 12,072. This represents a disturbing rise of more than 222%.

Interestingly, the number of meth labs in Tennessee has decreased within the past ten years, meaning that these findings may be attributed to rising levels of imported methamphetamine.

“Drug addiction continues to be a major issue in Tennessee. As more people struggle with opioid addiction, many of them will seek out stimulants like methamphetamine. Unfortunately, those who run drug operations, often based outside the United States, know there’s an increased demand here. Alongside our local, state and federal partners, we’ll keep doing what we can to dismantle these organizations… We’d urge anyone struggling with drug problems to get help before addiction costs you your life.”
– TBI Director David Rausch

Signs of Meth Addiction

Methamphetamine, often shortened as “meth,” is an extremely addictive drug that takes a devastating toll on a person’s mind and body.

There are several signs of meth use that are unique to stimulants. Behavioral symptoms include hyperactivity, paranoia, jerky movements or twitching. Tweaking is a common indicator of meth use; this means that a person is anxious and unable to sleep for periods of time lasting three to fifteen days. Other signs may involve changes to one’s appearance such as dilated pupils, an unkempt appearance, poor personal hygiene, drastic weight loss or skin sores. Finally, meth users often experience the crash phase of use. Since the body is deprived of dopamine, the person will exhibit signs of intense fatigue, cravings and depression for a number of days after their last dosage.

Additionally, there are signs of addiction that apply to most instances of substance misuse. They include:

  • Becoming secretive about one’s whereabouts or activities
  • Dramatic changes in appearance (weight loss, poor hygiene)
  • Using drugs even when one experiences consequences (ex: health issues, job loss)
  • Avoiding personal and professional responsibilities
  • Exhibiting risk-taking behavior
  • Building a tolerance and experiencing withdrawals
  • Repeatedly trying and failing to quit using
  • Having financial problems or borrowing large sums of money to support one’s addiction
  • Spending large amounts of time obtaining, taking and recovering from drug use

If you suspect that someone you love has developed an addiction to meth, we encourage you to contact Cumberland Heights today.

Tennessee Treatment for Meth Addiction

At Cumberland Heights, we provide rehab programming tailored to the needs of those addicted to methamphetamine. Our staff members are trained to assist with physical withdrawal symptoms, as well as any feelings of depression, anxiety and irritability associated with the earliest phases of recovery from meth. Our comprehensive program includes individual and group counseling, family therapy, relapse prevention and aftercare services. To learn more about our individualized approach to treatment, contact us today by calling (866) 899-5487.