Comments Off on Breaking Bad Britain: Crystal Methamphetamine gains stronghold in UK with 400 per cent surge in attempts to smuggle in the deadly drug
  • Seizures of the drug by British police  have quadrupled in the last five years
  • Crystal meth use has reached epidemic  levels in Australia and America
  • It is cheap to buy and the rapid highs  leave a trail of social problems
  • There were 252 seizures by UK police last  year up from 61 the year before


A highly addictive and potentially lethal  drug that has devastated communities in other parts of the world is gaining a  foothold in the UK.

Border patrols have seen a  surge in attempts to smuggle crystal meth into the country, with the number of  detections on the way in to Britain rising by 400 per cent in the last  year.

Seizures of the deadly drug by police forces  have also quadrupled in the last five years, according to figures released by  the Government.

article-0-007E9CF8000004B0-512_634x395A teenage girl smokes crystal meth by  ‘cooking’ it in a pipe in Queens, New York. The drug has devastated impoverished  parts of the US and Australia and appears to be becoming more popular in  Britain


Use of crystal meth has previously reached  epidemic levels in impoverished parts of Australia and America, with its  low-cost, rapid highs leaving a trail of social problems.

And while its use in the UK remains low  compared to other class-A substances, Home Office data reveals that the class-A  substance is becoming a growing problem for police forces in England and  Wales.

article-0-181F081100000578-479_306x396Meth labs have been discovered in Britain but  the majority of the drug is smuggled into the UK. It has been linked to a number  of high-profile crimes


Border police intercepted the drug on 252  occasions last year, rising dramatically from the 61 seizures recorded in  2011/12.

A number of meth labs, where the drug is  made, have been discovered in the UK this year but the majority of the country’s  supply is thought to be smuggled in.

Officers in England and Wales recorded 110  seizures of the drug in its non-injectable form in the last year, compared to  only 24 incidents in 2008/09. It was seized on 55 occasions in 2010/11.

Around 17,000 people are believed to have  used crystal meth in the last year, according to Home Office figures.

The drug has been linked to a number of  high-profile criminal cases in recent months, with recently convicted child  rapist Ian Watkins claiming that he could not remember a sadistic act because he  was high on the drug.

It has also been brought to the public’s  wider attention in the award-winning American drama Breaking Bad in which a high  school teacher quits his job to become a ruthless crystal meth  dealer.

Harry Shapiro, from charity Drugscope, said  that the drug is most prevalent in the ‘heavy end of the gay party scene,  particularly in London’.

‘It is not a drug that we would want to see  gaining a foothold in the UK. A few labs have turned up over the years but it  doesn’t seem, as yet, to  have made much of an impact on the UK drug scene or  the number of people coming forward presenting problems with crystal  meth.’

article-2548672-1AA368FA000005DC-662_634x580The drug has been brought to the public’s  attention in the drama Breaking Bad starring Aaron Paul, left and Bryan  Cranston, right, in which a teacher quits his job to become a ruthless crystal  meth dealer


Referred to as ‘ice’ or ‘glass’, methylamphetamine can be consumed orally, sniffed, smoked or injected  and is  becoming increasingly popular as a stimulant in the gay club  scene.

In its most popular crystalline form it  resembles glass shavings or a crystal rock but is also available in pills and  powder.

The drug causes a range of dangerous  side-effects alongside its high, such as increased heart rate, paranoia and  heart problems.

The first crystal meth factory in the  UK was  found in 2005 and fears of its gradual introduction in the UK  prompted its  upgrade from a class-B to a class-A drug in January 2007.

The drug was first synthesised in 1919 but  has grown in popularity due to  the ease with which it is produced using a  number of household products  and items.

Across Europe, seizures of methamphetamine  have increased from 30kg in 2000 to 1,582kg in  2011.

Mr Shapiro said that the drug’s less  significant standing in the UK drug market may be down to the range of  other  drugs available and crystal meth’s reputation.

He said: ‘The people likely to get involved  in the drug are those  entrenched in the problem end of the drug scene, such as  heroin and  crack users.

‘I would hope that its bad reputation would  keep use in this country down to a minimum.’

article-2548672-065715B300000514-226_306x423Recently convicted child rapist Ian  Watkins  (pictured) claimed that he could not remember a sadistic act because he  was  high on the drug


In the US, where there are a million users,  before and after pictures of users are often used to emphasise its ravaging  effects, such as tooth decay.

The Reverend Paul Flowers, a former boss of  the Co-Op Bank, garnered the nickname the Crystal Methodist after revelations  about his alleged attempts to purchase the drug.

The disgraced minister was captured on film  buying crystal meth and cocaine from a drug dealer in Leeds prompting his arrest  by police.

Three days after a grilling before MPs on the  Treasury Select Committee the 63-year-old sent a text promising a ‘fine old  party’ with ‘rocks if [sic] crystal’, adding that he had yet to try the  drug.

Shamed rock star Ian Watkins, 36, who  admitted vile sex attacks on two babies in November, admitted that he was a user  of the drug.

The former Lostprophets frontman claimed not  to remember videoing himself attempting to rape the son of an obsessed fan  because he was a ‘heavy user’ of the drug and other Class A  substances.

Among his litany of depraved acts was a plan  to blow crystal-meth smoke into the baby boy’s face in a Cardiff hotel as part  of a ’summer of filthy child porn’.

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: ‘Methamphetamine (crystal meth) has been an illegal drug since 1971. This is a  class-A drug because expert advice tells us it’s dangerous.

‘There is no evidence that use of crystal  meth is increasing. Rather, these extra seizures represent a success for our law  enforcement agencies.’






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