DEA: Methamphetamine bigger threat in San Antonio than opioids

Young women in recovery warn about dangers of ‘chasing the dragon'

SAN ANTONIO – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reports methamphetamine, which is manufactured by the ton in Mexico, is pouring across the border.

“In Texas, the biggest drug threat we have right now is methamphetamine,” said Will Glaspy, DEA special agent in charge of the Houston division.

Glaspy said were it not for the opioids that plague other parts of the country, “We’d be reading about the methamphetamine crisis.” He said the product is “high purity and relatively cheap to purchase.”

Princess Frago, a 32-year-old recovering meth addict, said the drug is so cheap, some dealers even offer free samples to get people hooked or “chase the dragon,” as it’s called.

But because it’s man-made, Frago said not all meth is the same.

“It’s crazy what I’m saying, but it does bring in different demonic spirits,” Frago said.

She said she was 28 the first time her now ex-boyfriend shot her up with meth.

“I found myself doing crazy stuff,” she said.

Frago said she after walking into a major retail store, “I started putting on stuff. I felt no one was watching me. I started taking stuff.”

Rosa Medrano, a 25-year-old recovering meth addict, said she was part of the DARE Just Say No to Drugs campaign at her school. She said students were warned about meth.

She told herself, “'I would never, ever.’ Like, that’s the scariest thing.”

That changed when Medrano was 21 after seeing people still being able to function after using meth to stay awake. Medrano said the people had houses, cars and jobs, so she inhaled it for the first time.

“It wasn’t that bad at first, until I started losing control of my life and myself,” Medrano said.

Both Frago and Medrano said they used meth to cope with personal trauma in their lives, but it came at high cost.

“I lost my friends. I lost my family. I lost my kids,” Medrano said.

“I lost everybody I loved, everyone I cared about,” Frago said.

They both lived to tell their stories, unlike many who did not.

In its 2015-2016 annual report, the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office recorded a 92 percent increase in meth-related deaths, yet a 24 percent decrease in deaths involving heroin. That came as a surprise to Medrano.

“Actually got told you can’t die from meth, so this is news to me,” she said.

Frago said she has almost died 17 times.

“Yes, 17 times God saved me from dying, from waking up in hospitals, in bathtubs, overdoses. God was there for me,” Frago said.

They both credit Bexar County Drug Court and Judge Ernie Glenn for helping turn their lives around.

Glenn said he’s also seeing more meth cases in his courtroom.

Medrano and Frago said the court’s resources and counseling have taught them the first step toward recovery is admitting your addiction.

Frago said for many like her, it takes hitting rock bottom. Medrano said she wanted to avoid falling to that level.

Medrano hopes to open a boutique someday, and Frago wants to use her experience to become a drug counselor. 

Medical Examiner's Office 2015 Annual Report (See page 15 for information on overdose deaths)

Medical Examiner's Office 2016 Annual Report  (See page 17 for information on overdose deaths)    


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