Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Meth lab count way down, but that's not whole story

Methamphetamine labs, once the scourge of many rural areas, "have become scarcer and their federally funded cleanups cheaper," thanks to federal and state laws that have made it more difficult to buy meth ingredients, Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers writes, about a Department of Justice inspector general's report on the agency's Drug Enforcement Administration.

"The report, however, doesn't indicate whether meth use has declined in the U.S.," Doyle notes. "In recent years, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime noted late last month, meth production "was displaced over the border to Mexico." The amount of methamphetamine seized near the U.S.-Mexico border nearly doubled from 2007 to 2009, the annual U.N. drug report stated."

Also, it should be noted that meth is now commonly made by the "shake and bake" method, in 2-liter bottles that are much easier to discard. This report from the Casey County News in Kentucky suggests that's what was going on in the cab of a truck there when an explosion occured.
The inspector general's report said DEA funded the cleanup of 3,866 meth labs in fiscal 2008, a 67 percent decrease from the record 11,790 cleanups it funded in 2005. "Contract improvements and other revisions also cut the average cost per lab cleanup from $3,600 in fiscal 2007 to $2,200 in fiscal 2009," Doyle notes. His story has year-by-year and state-by-state lists.

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