The U.S. has achieved major breakthroughs in its battle against methamphetamine production and use with tighter controls on the drug’s essential ingredients, White House drug czar John Walters told The Oregonian. Walters hopes to see the drug grow scarce as tighter restrictions on the trade in ephedrine and pseudoephedrine — the key ingredients in meth — start to take effect here and abroad. Walters took on critics who have accused the administration of a slow response to meth. He touted new domestic and international measures to track meth’s chemical ingredients, which he said are already having a measurable impact on the drug’s production. “I would say we’re winning, but we’re not done,” Walters said. “Nobody’s taking a victory lap.”
Walters described progress in curbing the two sources of meth in the U.S.: small labs operated by users, which account for 20 percent of the supply, and “superlabs” run by Mexican drug cartels, which make 80 percent. Walters said Oregon law enforcement officials are reporting the purity of Mexican meth may be starting to drop. He said it’s too early to say definitively, but purity may be falling since Mexican authorities decided to slash imports on pseudoephedrine from 224 tons in 2004 to 70 tons this year.