New Meth Recipe Sidesteps State Laws
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
A new method of making methamphetamine — a highly addictive street drug that has caused law enforcement and public health problems from Oregon to Kentucky — is circumventing tough state laws that had been making headway against production of the drug.
The new method uses less of a key ingredient — pseudoephedrine — that states have made much harder to acquire in the hopes of thwarting meth producers, who buy the ingredient in bulk and use it to make meth in a dangerous and toxic chemical process.
Pseudoephedrine is found in many common cold and allergy medicines, so every state in recent years has restricted access to those medicines by requiring that they be sold behind store counters, limiting how much residents can buy in a month or going even further. As Stateline.org reported last month , for example, Oregon and Mississippi now require prescriptions for medicines like Sudafed and Claritin D while at least 10 states have set up or are in the process of setting electronic screening systems that do background checks on those who seek to buy products containing pseudoephedrine.
But as The New York Times reports today (April 15) , meth makers are sidestepping those laws by shifting from a mass-production model of meth — usually done in sprawling home meth labs — to a method that uses less pseudoephedrine and is often done on the move, including in cars, with the toxic remnants of the process strewn along roads and highways. The new method "requires only a few pills, a two-liter bottle and some common household chemicals," The Times reports, noting that the trick has caught on quickly.
"In some states, officials estimate that the majority of meth lab seizures are now transportable ones, and that over the last two years, the mobile process has supplanted the home-based method of high-yield production that came to be one face of the meth scourge last decade," the paper says.
Indeed, in Oklahoma, which became the first state to put pseudoephedrine behind the pharmacy counter and is considered a leader in its anti-meth efforts, the new method of cooking the drug has resulted in a surge of new meth-lab incidents, The Oklahoman newspaper reported earlier this month .