Two years after the U.S. saw a drastic drop in the seizure of methamphetamine labs, the numbers are inching back up in pockets across the country, reports the Kansas City Star. Authorities say that some meth cooks are finding a way around the laws regulating cold medicine – meth's main ingredient. “They become familiar with techniques, they find out ways to do things differently,” said Det. Howard Shipley of the Reno County (KS) Sheriff's Department. “That's pretty common with the entire drug network. Change is constant.”
Meth cooks are “smurfing” – going from business to business buying all the cold medicine they legally can, hoping authorities don't catch on. Laws in many states limit the amount of pseudoephedrine a person can buy each day or each month. Trouble is, these logs are kept on paper and not electronically. That means it can be tough and time-consuming to track and charge violators. Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt signed a law to create an electronic database that is expected to be up and running next year. Kansas has two pilot projects under way in which dozens of pharmacies have volunteered to test electronic databases, although large chains such as Wal-Mart and Walgreen's have yet to sign on.