Illegal Meth Labs Scarcer, Government Cleanups Cheaper


Illegal meth labs have become scarcer and their federally funded cleanups cheaper, says a Justice Department inspector general’s report quoted by McClatchy Newspapers. Since 2006, when Congress passed an anti-methamphetamine measure, the number of meth lab cleanups nationwide “has decreased significantly,” auditors found. Investigators attribute the decline to the law that made it harder to buy key chemicals used in illicit drug production.

The report didn’t indicate whether meth use has declined in the U.S. In recent years, says the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, meth production “was displaced over the border to Mexico.” The amount of methamphetamine seized near the U.S.-Mexico border nearly doubled from 2007 to 2009, the annual U.N. drug report said. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration funded the cleanup of a record 11,790 methamphetamine labs in fiscal 2005. By fiscal 2008, the most recent year for which figures are available, the DEA funded the cleanup of 3,866 labs. Contract improvements and other revisions cut the average cost per lab cleanup from $3,600 in fiscal 2007 to $2,200 in fiscal 2009.

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