Methamphetamine has exacted a costly and deadly toll on Minnesota over the past decade, but a new report shows a 93 percent reduction in reported meth labs, says the St. Paul Pioneer Press. State health officials credited a 2005 law restricting the sale of the cold medicine pseudoephedrine – a key ingredient in meth production – for the drop in meth labs, which peaked at 497 in 2003 but dropped to 35 last year.
The numbers of meth-related arrests and meth addicts in prison have declined in the past three years as well. Officials say those are signs of progress rather than a softening of law enforcement activity. The state Department of Public Safety estimated meth created a $120 million economic burden for the state in 2004. The Hazelden Foundation is seeing fewer addicts who use meth as their primary “drug of choice,” but its treatment centers continue to admit numerous meth addicts. Addicts may have replaced meth with marijuana or alcohol, which have been the most commonly abused drugs.