Methamphetamine lab busts in Missouri increased 7 percent in 2011 but declined in areas where decongestants containing the key ingredient are available only by prescription, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Missouri finished 2011 with 2,096 lab seizures. Illinois, with twice Missouri’s population, raided 584 meth labs. St. Louis saw one of the biggest jumps, a sixfold increase to 24 labs from four. City police already have seized eight meth labs so far this year, said Lt. Adrienne Bergh. “It’s because a lot of the outlying areas are requiring prescriptions for pseudoephedrine products and it’s still not a requirement in the city to have a prescription,” she said.
A database financed by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which represents the pharmaceutical industry, began tracking purchases of pseudoephedrine on Jan. 1, 2011. The system blocked 49,000 consumers from topping monthly or annual sales limits. The association’s Elizabeth Funderburk said the database may account for the increase in raids. “In terms of labs being on the increase, law enforcement has an effective tool to find methamphetamine labs and it stands to reason that when you have a good tool, you will find more labs — just like if you have a radar gun, you will catch more speeders,” she said.