With AMC’s Better Call Saul wrapping up the Breaking Bad trilogy, The significance of methamphetamine distribution in Southwest America and Mexico is proven. Although this importance is exagerated in the fictional form of characters such as Walter White and Gustavo Fring, They expose many truths to viewers, expressing the dangers, group-affiliated relations, violence, money, and criminality that comes with operating or being included in a drug empire.
The Cartel, an organized crime syndicate notorious for smuggling various drugs and laundering large quantities of money, plays a major role in all portions of the Breaking Bad. Mexico is one of the Cartel’s most resided countries in Latin America, sharing a border with the United States. The U.S. consumes more illegal substances from these criminal groupd than any other country, making it much easier to distribute by land, across the Mexico-United States border. One of the states lining the border just Northeast of Mexico is New Mexico; more specifically, the largest city in the state, Albuquerque: the setting for a majority of Breaking Bad‘s story.
Methamphetamine in the United States is regulated under Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act. It is approved for pharmacological use in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and treatment-resistant obesity, but it is primarily used as a recreational drug. Although the Cartel specializes in the production and distrabution of substances such as cocaine and marijuana, Breaking Bad primarily focuses on the movement of meth. Smaller cases of production that typically get caught much easier include people cooking meth in their own houses, whether it’s in their own kitchen, or a labratory set up somewhere on the property. Walter White was the genius cook behind the Breaking Bad’s famed blue meth. White and former weed dealer Jesse Pinkman started their methamphetamine production in a beat up 80’s RV. Large criminal groups, however, have a wide-scale, complete system of production, setting up labs in various abandonded locations. Another option is included in the storyline, as White and Jesse’s meth gained popularity, they teamed up with a large-scale distributor, and upgraded from a busted RV to a full scale labratory under a seemingly innocent laundromat. Although White and Pinkman had entered a dangerous game, filling their lives with danger and secrecy, they could sell their meth in bulk to massive importers, as opposed to selling small doses on the streets for a quick buck.
Although distributors and cooks, such as Gustavo Fring, better known as Gus, and White, usually live up to the common distribution phrase, “Never get high off of your own supply”, certain characters, usually seemingly distraught and uncollected, such as Pinkman (early 20’s), consumed the baby blue meth on a multitude of occasions. Throughout the series, apart from his star role in El Camino, Jesse was in and out of rehab, traumatized by the life he was living, deciding time and time again to take the crystal to cope. U.S. overdose deaths involving psychostimulants other than cocaine, largely methamphetamine, increased 180% among adults under age 65 between 2015 and 2019, to 15,489, according to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Despite the lack of meth overdoses in the trilogy, (the only significant overdose being Jesse’s girlfriend, Jane Margolis, after she died due to choking in her sleep from a heroin overdose), deaths caused by methamphetamine, to this day, are rising rapidly in rural America. The crystal substance is addicting due to the euphoric feeling, talkative behavior, and energetic state.
The wide world of criminal involvement in the methamphetamine business is a serious problem, best portrayed by Vince Gilligan, multiple Emmy Award recipiant as well as the famed director and producer of the trilogy that has swayed America. The characters he has created, the plot he describes perfectly, and the illustration of a major issue in the United States, should be appreciated as more than a thrilling drama, but as an eye opening fiction depicting the dangers of methamphetamine, through characters who’s lives were destroyed as well as their friends and families.