Is Missouri still the nation's 'meth capital'?
Thu, 03 Mar 2011 19:52:19 GMT —
Missouri is no longer the 'meth capital' of the U.S.; we TMre now just a close second.Data from state officials shows Tennessee has knocked Missouri out of the lead for meth lab busts and seizures for the first time since 2003 with 122 more incidents.Even though the Show Me State isn TMt king of the meth hill anymore, methamphetamine continues to plague the state, with a rise in meth lab busts and seizures last year.Just this year, Maries County raided one of the largest meth labs in the county's history, and in Miller County a month-long investigation led to a meth lab bust.The Missouri State Highway Patrol says the state had 1,960 meth lab incidents in 2010. That's a 10% increase over the previous year.But Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force director Tom Farmer told the Associated Press this week that his state had 2,082 incidents, up 41 percent from a year ago.Meth lab incidents also jumped by nearly 300 in Indiana, to 1,395 in 2010.A federal Drug Enforcement Agency spokeswoman says national meth lab incident numbers won't be released until July.Mid-Missouri Sheriff TMs departments tell KRCG that meth cooks are getting smarter and harder to track in the rural areas.One new technique that meth producers are using is a cooking method called " shake-and-bake ". The "one-pot" or shake-and-bake approach allows meth cooks to make their drug faster, easier, and cheaper using an empty soda bottle.The cooks usually toss the bottle out of a car window when they're done, which makes tracking "shake and bake" meth production nearly impossible for police.Police say this type of meth production also puts the public at risk because someone picking up trash on the side of the highway could come across the discarded 2 liter bottles used to make meth.If someone picks up the bottle, the agitation could activate the chemical process again which could cause an explosion, according to Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman.Shake and Bake Meth has also turned up in Jefferson City, police discovered bottles behind the Super D Discount Drug store in December.The question of how to battle the meth problem has lawmakers and law enforcement agencies looking for new tactics.The St. Louis County town of Wildwood may become the latest to fight methamphetamine by requiring a prescription to buy cold and sinus pills containing a key ingredient.Wildwood officials held a public hearing this week on the possible ordinance. A first reading on the bill is March 14.The measure would require a prescription to buy pills containing the decongestant pseudoephedrine. About 30 Missouri towns have adopted similar ordinances.In November, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced a legislative proposal along with Attorney General Chris Koster to make Missouri the third state to require prescriptions for cold medicines that can be used to make methamphetamine.The prescription mandate would apply to medications containing pseudoephedrine -- a key ingredient in the illegal and highly addictive drug methamphetamine. Oregon and Mississippi already require prescriptions for pseudoephedrine.Missouri already limits how many pseudoephedrine pills people can buy.In September 2010, it launched an electronic database for pharmacies intended to prevent people from buying more than the legal limit. But Nixon and Koster said more safeguards are needed.The Missouri Pharmacy Association has opposed a prescription requirement for the medication, citing the inconvenience to patients.We want to hear from you. Have you been affected by meth? What do you think would help stop the meth problem in Missouri? Leave a comment with your ideas below.(The Associated Press contributed to this story)