Methamphetamine is one of the more addictive drugs out there. More commonly known as "meth" or "crystal meth," experts say part of the problem is that it's fallen into the shadow of the ongoing opioid crisis.
But, police say the drug causes a lot of problems within municipalities.
"What we've seen is a re-emergence of methamphetamine over the last several years," OPP Superintendent Bryan MacKillop said. "It has touched virtually every community across this entire country."
Meth is also an industry and it plays a part in the revenue and business done by organized crime.
"It is an absolute poison with no safe alternative and certainly contributes to crimes of violence and property crimes," MacKillop said.
January is Crime Stoppers Month in Canada and the theme for 2021 is "Helping All Communities Stay Safe." In support of this theme, Crime Stoppers Canada, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and police agencies across Canada are launching a national public awareness campaign over the next several months to help educate the public about the negative impacts of meth and how it poses a threat to the safety and well-being of communities.
"There is an over 300 per cent increase in seizures by the Canadian Border Service Agencies at our border and it is one of the most seized and analyzed drugs submitted to Health Canada," MacKillop said.
Meth is made in illegal labs with fairly inexpensive and often toxic or flammable ingredients. Police say the production of one kilogram of meth produces about six kilograms of toxic waste. This waste is usually disposed of through illegal dumping resulting in environmental contamination and health hazards.
The drug acts as a stimulant and makes people feel alert, energetic, confident and talkative. Meth overdoses can result in seizures, high body temperature, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, stroke and death. The risk of overdose is highest when the drug is injected.
The Community Drug Strategy North Bay and Area committee is on board with the campaign and is asking people to report incidents where people use meth right away.
"There's pictures of people on meth. Their teeth are black, they don’t sleep,” said committee Chair Pat Cliche. “It's not a nice product. We want to keep this community safe for our students and everyone who lives in this community."
North Bay police said fentanyl remains the main drug they see in seizures, but they also see plenty of methamphetamines. They said almost all of the meth they seize is produced outside of the community.
The awareness campaign will last for several months.