As Home Meth Labs Dwindle, Crystal Meth Invades States


Seizures of home methamphetamine lab In Iowa have dropped to just 20 a month from 120, but the state is worried about a new flood of crystal methamphetamine coming largely from Mexico, the New York Times reports. Crystal meth is far purer, and even more highly addictive, than powdered home-cooked meth, which leads to greater risk of overdose. Crystal meth costs more, so thefts are increasing, as people who once cooked at home must buy it. “It’s killing us, this Mexican ice,” said state drug policy chief Marvin Van Haaften, a former sheriff. “I’m not sure we can control it as well as we can the meth labs in your community.”

As Congress prepares to curb sales of pseudoephedrine, the cold medicine ingredient used to make methamphetamine, state officials caution that such restrictions fall far short of a solution. “The Mexican drug cartels were right there to feed that demand,” said Tom Cunningham, the drug task force coordinator for Oklahoma prosecutors. More than 30 states have restricted pseudoephedrine in some way. Nine have put it behind pharmacy counters, and Oregon equires a prescription to obtain it. Addicts and cookers have proved to be skilled at getting around the restrictions; as one state imposes a law, bordering states see an increase in laboratories. Oklahoma linked its pharmacies by a computer database to track sales after finding that cooks were going county-to-county buying from several pharmacies a day.


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