Study Examines Links Between Oil Boom and Meth

August 2019
The findings of a recent study by the Justice Research and Statistics Association suggest that the presence of methamphetamine in a region of the United States has increased alongside an oil boom — but the two events could not be directly linked. The study also found that methamphetamine is now being primarily sourced from Mexico.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, sought to examine the effect an increased presence of meth has had on the local justice systems in Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming, plus four tribal nations (Fort Peck, Fort Berthold, Tohono O' odham, and Navajo Nation). Since 2000, the use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling has enabled an oil boom in the Bakken Formation, which lies under parts of Montana, North Dakota, and northward into parts of Canada. The states and tribal lands selected for inclusion in this study are either located within the Bakken Formation, or are situated along the distribution routes used by Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs).

The oil boom in this region has resulted in increased employment, salaries — as well as increased issues with infrastructure and crime. Although the study was hindered somewhat by data limitations, it did find that amphetamine/methamphetamine incidents and arrests were on the rise during the Bakken oil boom. It also found that methamphetamine is no longer coming primarily from domestic sources, but instead the bulk of the drug is coming from "superlabs" in Mexico.

You can read the full study here. 

 
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