In the Southwest in particular, the connection between methamphetamines and looting is becoming increasingly well established. Samir Patel has written an article on the connection for Archaeology magazine, surveying several recent cases and painting a picture of something that goes beyond mere coincidence — an epidemic.
Methamphetamine, like many uppers, creates a compulsion for repetitive, focused behavior. Some addicts have quenched this thirst by hunting for pottery shards and arrowheads. Further, meth addicts need to increase the amount of drugs they are taking as time progresses, so they need to fund their habit, and in a cash kind of way.
“[The looting-meth connection] is not a straw man,” says Garry Cantley, an archaeologist with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. “I’ve seen it.”
Read “Drugs, Guns and Dirt” on Archaeology Magazine online.