Drug experts are warning methamphetamine use is on the rise in New Jersey.

According to Angelo Valente, the executive director of the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, the drug, which is also referred to as meth, crystal meth, crank and speed is now showing up in cities, the suburbs and even rural areas.

“What we’re seeing is in New Jersey there is a resurgence of the use of meth, unlike what we’ve seen in the past. Meth for the most part was utilized in the Midwest and the West, but now meth is widely available and widely being used throughout the state of New Jersey,” Valente said.

A powerful high, then a major crash

The drug is a powerful stimulant that provides a feeling of euphoria but when it wears off users “crash” and it is frequently mixed with toxic chemicals and harmful ingredients that can cause a variety of physical and mental damage.

High drug addict lies unconscious after injection, syringe in hand, overdose

“It’s something that is extremely addictive so we are extremely concerned that this is becoming so widely used in the state,” said Valente.

He said meth has traditionally been smoked, snorted or injected but now it's available in pill form.

"So it’s much easier for people to become familiar with it, use it, and become dependent on it and addicted," Valente said.

Even more dangerous than before

Similar to other drugs on the street, fentanyl is also making its way into meth.

“There are some meth pills that are being laced with fentanyl, and we all know only a small amount of fentanyl can cause immediate death,” Valente said.

In the past, supplies of the drug came from local meth “labs” in private homes all over New Jersey, but Valente said that is no longer the case.

“What we’re finding is most of the meth that’s coming into the state is coming from Mexican super-labs, so it’s flooding the market. It’s an inexpensive drug.”

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Mexican cartels, to encourage a new population of users, have been giving out free samples of the drug, which can cost about $10 for a high that can last 24 hours.

Rotting teeth

Valente said meth users frequently exhibit personality changes, where they no longer seem like themselves, as well as physical changes.

"Decaying of teeth is one of the signs.”

He stressed if your child, a friend or loved one gets hooked on meth, it’s vitally important to get them professional help as soon as possible. For more on where to find help, the New Jersey Department of Human Services runs a website listing a number of resources for those in need.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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