Fresno: “Meth Capital”

Sue Jacob, Reporter

According to a documentary from VICE, there is a crystal meth epidemic plaguing Fresno. For those who are not aware what crystal meth exactly is, the U.S. National Library of Medicine claims it to be a very addictive stimulant drug made of a powder that can be made into a pill or a shiny rock (called a crystal). The powder can be eaten or snorted up the nose and can also be mixed with liquid and injected into your body with a needle. One of VICE’s reporters, Paola Ramos, reveals the easy access to such a hardcore drug due to the fact that there are countless Mexican Cartels that formulate, create, and sell this drug in a variety of forms amongst the streets of Fresno. After sharing this piece of information with countless students, many shared their shock towards this epidemic. Junior Chloe Winsimus expresses her perspective towards the “Meth Capital”.

   “I wouldn’t really expect Fresno to have such high rates of meth consumption. Drugs are drugs and people are gonna use them, but also if they’re more available in one place, then more people are gonna use them there,” said

A free medical clinic bus that has needle exchanges, and is owned by a doctor who conducts free consults for meth addicts.


Many are blinded by the fact that Fresno, merely a three to four-hour drive away, is drowning in a dangerous and addictive habitual cycle with meth. Featured in the short documentary, is a clip of countless used needles that are irresponsibly disposed of due to lack of action from the city and local government that does not educate, or simply provide responsible measures that can decrease the different types of risks that many are exposed to when using this drug. Rather than being deposited in a proper manner to biohazard containers: there are myriad that are largely scattered around areas where homeless individuals find shelter. The significance is: many lose lives and limbs over these diseases that spread and ultimately harm the body. All Treatment, an organization devoted to finding rehab centers that help those with alcohol and drug abuse, shares that because of the unproportionate ratio between the lack of availability of sterile needles to the widespread accessibility to meth. Senior Jordan Jin-Venegas expresses an awestruck reaction and concern towards this epidemic, sharing a suggestion on how to bring awareness and shed light upon this shocking capital of meth.

Photo Illustration by Sue Jacobs

“It would help to make more awareness around situations like that by educating people on what’s going on. I don’t know if this happens in Fresno, but I know that Walgreens, gives out free needles — which may sound like it is adding to the addiction and epidemic, but at least they’re offering clean needles to prevent from spreading diseases,” said Jin-Venegas.

The National Institute of Health (NIH), shares a study done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow, that examines connections between the use of crystal meth and the use of other illicit drugs, which determines new pathways for treatment and prevention. Winsimus shares some suggestions on preventative measures after doing a research project for her PEACE class about the legalization of Marijuana. Although the research she conducted does not explicitly apply to methamphetamine, Winsemius provides examples and evidence to the best of her knowledge on how to help decrease the number of individuals affected.

   “With the project I’m doing in Todd’s class, the legalization of recreational marijuana, I found an article talking about how the legalization of marijuana would decrease the opioid epidemic that we are experiencing right now. [Therefore], the legalization of drugs like cannabis would most likely help decrease the epidemic because it’s a safer alternative than heavier drugs — like meth in this case. The legalization would cause a decrease and it already has in states that have legalized marijuana. With the study I was reading, the overdose rates of hardcore drugs have and are continuing to go down in states that legalize a safer, potentially less harmless drug such as cannabis,” said Winsimus.

All Treatment exposes a quarter of Fresno’s population of 527,438 people, being affected by this drug problem. Finding solutions towards an epidemic like this is challenging due to the fact that the city is already ten-foot deep with the uncontrollable making, spreading, and ingestion of methamphetamine. Although there are few developmental steps already in place to support those affected, there should be awareness first and foremost, to promote a society that is aware of this conflict — that many are oblivious towards. Before there are preventative measures and ways to treat individuals affected, many should learn what the real problem is and how the drug affects those who take it — it is not solely money or a few individuals that can solve this problem: but a collectively well-informed and inspired society that can ultimately elicit a noticeable change towards this epidemic.