Meth activity on the rise

February 1, 2011

Despite the electronic-tracking systems for pseudoephedrine that have been implemented in several states, methamphetamine-related activity is on the rise.

Despite the electronic-tracking systems for pseudoephedrine that have been implemented in several states, methamphetamine-related activity is on the rise.

The most recent figures released by the Drug Enforcement Administration show that meth-related activity - including arrests, seizures, and the discovery of abandoned meth labs - increased 34% in 2009.

Critics of e-tracking laws for pseudoephedrine - which are in place in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Oklahoma - say the increase has come about in part because of the tracking laws. With e-tracking systems, the names of pseudoephedrine buyers are entered into a statewide database. Upon checking the database and discovering that pharmacy customers have already purchased their monthly limit of pseudoephedrine, the pharmacist will refuse to sell them more. In some states, police are notified when the limit is surpassed.

To get around the e-tracking system, meth dealers recruit friends, relatives  - including their children - and others to buy small quantities of the products. This practice is known as “smurfing.”

In 2009, meth-related incidents increased 164% in Oklahoma, while activity rose 65% in Kentucky and 34% in Arkansas.

However, the primary reason for the increase in meth activity is the increase in smuggling of Mexican meth to the United States, according to DEA spokesman Rusty Payne. “The Mexicans have superlabs all over the country, which can produce 10 pounds of meth in a 24- to 48-hour cycle,” Payne said.

The majority of meth-producing labs in the United States are small operations that are not designed for distribution, Payne added.