By John Dodge
CHICAGO (CBS) — The existence of clandestine drug labs dominate the Midwest, including thousands of locations across nearly all of Indiana and southern Illinois, according to federal government data.
Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan have an especially acute problem with these labs, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The DEA has recorded every known lab reported by local police between 2000-2014.
It contains addresses of some locations where law enforcement agencies reported they found chemicals or other items that indicated the presence of either clandestine drug laboratories or dump sites. Most of the labs fitting this criteria were likely involved with crystal meth manufacturing.
The register fills 34 pages and totals about 1,900 labs in Indiana.
In Illinois, there are about 900 labs on the list, with the vast majority located in southern Illinois, according to a map created by Simon Garnier and posted on his Graph Zoo blog.
Another map created by Garnier shows that Oklahoma and Missouri have the highest number of labs per capita, essentially creating a drug lab belt from Oklahoma to Indiana.
Much of the nation’s meth manufacturing is taking place in the Midwest and South, with relatively little activity along the east and west coasts.
The existence of meth labs in the Midwest is hardly a new development, but the use of data visualization tools powerfully illustrate the pervasiveness.
Meth is highly addictive and the high is reportedly similar to cocaine, with instant euphoria, followed by an increase in energy and alertness for up to 12 hours.
Taken over a long period of time, crystal meth can cause severe physical and psychological issues.
Signs of long-term abuse include: A feeling of bugs crawling on the skin; body sores from users picking at their skin; psychosis and hallucinations; and brain damage.