Meth lab seizures down, but authorities have new concerns - KMOV.com

Meth lab seizures down, but authorities have new concerns

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ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The war against drugs in Missouri is shifting when it comes to meth.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, meth lab seizures are significantly down.

But those numbers alone don't tell the full story. Fewer labs does not necessarily mean fewer users. In fact, this trend is raising other concerns for law enforcement.

In-home meth labs peaked in the mid 2000's. Since then, they've sharply fallen. According to MHP, there were more than 1,000 meth lab seizures in 2014, a number that dropped by half last year.

Through September of 2016, there were only 172 meth lab seizures, which on the surface would seem like a good thing. But MHP officials have three major concerns looking at those figures.

First, users are just getting the drug elsewhere. The drug supply coming from Mexico has changed the focus from meth producers to meth distributors.

The second concern is addicts are switching drugs. Officials say they are seeing a rise in heroin and synthetic drugs like K-2.

Finally, one extremely dangerous alternative to these full-blown meth labs is to use the so-called "one pot" method.

Using this style of cooking, a producer makes meth in a small, sealed container- anything from a milk jug to a soda bottle- usually by flipping it over to cause the chemical reaction needed to produce the drug. Those concentrated bottles are not only very flammable and more explosive, but also more mobile, making it harder for officers to track.

This isn't a new problem. Earlier this year, Illinois law enforcement announced the state is fighting a similar battle. ISP said they also saw a drop in meth labs but a rise in crystal meth on the streets.

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