A candy store owner in Albuquerque says her "meth candy" is a major hit. The blue-colored rock candy is intended to play off the successful AMC drama "Breaking Bad," which is set in the same New Mexico city.
"I've been at this for 30 years," Debbie Ball said in an interview with Yahoo! News. "It started in 1982 when some holy-roller types protested me for 'sex-themed' candy shaped like people's parts. It's because of controversy like this that I'm still in business."
''We supplied the show when it first started,'' Ball tells the Associated Press. ''It's just rock candy with blue dye and it looks like the real thing.''
Ball sells bags of the sugar rock candy for just $1 each, along with shipping and handling costs for orders made over the phone. "Hopefully this will be good for business and good for the show," she told Yahoo! News.
"Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston appeared on David Letterman's "Late Show" in July and pulled out a bag of the candy. Since then, Ball says she has sold more than 300 bags.
''The response has been great,'' Ball said. ''I think it's starting to go viral. I'm getting calls from all over the world. I have to make 400 bags before tomorrow morning."
Ball dismisses any criticism that she is attempting to glorify illegal drugs. "I had candy cigarettes when I was a kid," she told Yahoo! News. "And I don't smoke cigarettes now. And I've never sold a single bag of meth candy to a child."
Methamphetamine lab incidents have dropped in New Mexico in recent years. In 2001, only 20 of the nation's 12,033 lab incidents took place in the state, according to DEA statistics, a significant drop from 59 similar incidents in 2010. Still, meth remains a major crime issue in the state, with major shipments arriving from Arizona and California. New Mexico's numbers run counter to national trends, where methamphetamine drug seizures have risen in recent years.
Still, Matt Kennicott, a spokesman for the New Mexico Human Service Department, said meth remains a major issue in New Mexico. ''We need to all be aware of the drug epidemic in this state," he said. ''This is a serious problem we are facing.''