Six counties in western Wisconsin account for nearly half of methamphetamine cases submitted to the state crime laboratory, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. St. Croix County leads all others in meth cases. “It’s a huge problem,” said St. Croix County District Attorney Eric Johnson. “We are getting buried by meth cases, and it’s more than a law enforcement problem.”
St. Croix County’s proximity to the Twin Cities, the easy availability of ingredients – including agricultural supplies – and the large number of rural areas in which to set up manufacturing make the county a hot spot for production of the powerful, highly addictive illegal drug. Meth’s ingredients can include cold medicine, matches, batteries, the farm fertilizer anhydrous ammonia and brake cleaner. After reviewing what other states have done to combat meth, Johnson compiled a plan and is asking state lawmakers to help “so that we can deal with this problem before it becomes an epidemic.” His recommendations focus on restricting access to meth ingredients and on treatment for users. They include regulating the sale of sudafedrine, a key meth ingredient commonly available in drug stores; making possession of large amounts of sudafedrine a felony, and amending the law so that attempted theft, in addition to theft, of anhydrous ammonia and liquid nitrogen is a felony.