Meth in San Diego

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego was known as the meth capital of the world in the 1990s.

It lost that moniker, but is the meth problem getting worse again? 

Sandag released a report this week that showed more and more women are using meth and that one out of every two women in jail tested positive for methamphetamine.

It’s very user friendly. It can be smoked, snorted, shot up, but it leaves destruction in its wake.

Christine Mormino moved from Philadelphia to San Diego in 2002.

"I really quickly ended up strung out on meth and got acquainted with the Oceanside Police Department," she said.

Homeless, awake for days at a time on meth, she was in and out of jail until 2005, when she was physically taken to rehab.

"I got sick of going to jail, got sick of disappointing my family, got sick of hurting my mother and children," Mormino said.

Clean and sober for ten years this December, Mormino is now paying it forward as a certified drug and alcohol counselor for the Alpha Project in North County.

She helps give addicts the confidence and skills to make it without drugs.

San Diego Deputy District Attorney Steve Walter runs the DA’s major narcotics unit.

He goes after the bigger dealers and the meth suppliers.

He said because of regulations in the states, larger quantities of the drug are now coming across the border from Mexico.

But Prop 47 is making the job of the prosecutor more difficult.

The initiative approved by California voters last year, changes low level crimes like drug possession from felonies to misdemeanors. 

"We do our best to see that we are able to attack this problem in order to reduce the ability of users to get it," he said.

Mormino no longer thinks about her next score, but she knows she will live with the consequences of the choices she made while on drugs for the rest of her life.

She was able to see her oldest son graduate from high school and college, but she lost all parental rights to her daughter and youngest son.

This role model said the answer is not to lock users up, it’s to create more long term programs.

Her job as a drug and alcohol counselor is not in jeopardy.

"Unfortunately, I don’t see this issue going away anytime soon," she said.

Mormino offered a possible reason as to why more women may have a harder time getting clean, because they often are the caretakers and worried about who will take care of their children and their homes if they go into rehab. 

She said emotional and physical abuse from partners is also a factor, not an excuse, a factor in remaining in the cycle.

The DA’s office said there is still a war on drugs, but it isn’t reported on as much. 

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