The Midwest may be known for itâ€™s home-spun values and farming communities, but it also has a new distinction that doesnâ€™t quite mesh with those values – itâ€™s where the most methamphetamine incidents happen, according to a graphic and article posted on Huffington Press. As of January 2013, Missouri takes the number one spot with 1,825 instances. Tennessee is next with 1,585 and Indiana follows right behind with 1,429. These incidents include labs and dumpsites for glass, chemicals and equipment.
Whether those figures indicate there are more users in these states, or that drug enforcement has grown more effective at busting those who make and partake, is unclear. But what is clear is that it is a continuing problem that isnâ€™t going away any time soon. Many think the higher rates reflect the increase that came when an easier, â€œshake-and-bakeâ€ method of concocting the drug became popular. This quick process involves mostly common household chemicals that are combined and cooked in a soda bottle. Making meth this way takes the chemist out of the picture and puts the addicts, themselves, into the manufacturing end of business. The process doesnâ€™t come without risk, however. Volatile chemicals sometimes explode in the plastic bottle, badly burning the cook, the residence or others, including children, who happen to be nearby. And this method, which shaves the batch making time to 15 minutes or so, has becomes increasingly popular as those in legislation and the DEA continue efforts to make one of the key ingredients, pseudoephedrine, harder to obtain. Some estimate that most of the meth now available is made this easier way, and it tends to be stronger than then the stuff made the old way in labs.
Pseudoephedrine, a key meth ingredient common in cold medicine, is currently still available over the counter in some states, while others, like Oregon and Mississippi, have tried to address the problem by making the drug only available by prescription. In other states, the cold medicines that contain it are kept behind the pharmacistâ€™s counter. Then thereâ€™s states like Missouri, who are tackling itâ€™s infamous meth reputation by using specially trained cops to deal with meth makers and the aftermath that comes with itâ€™sâ€™ use and manufacture, according to a story on KSHB last year.
â€œIs Missouri that much worse or does Missouri just take a more â€œaggressive approach?â€ said Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Tim Hull to the source. â€œI think Missouri law enforcement just aggressively deals with the issue.â€
Both Missouri and Kentucky, states with high meth problems, use their own programs to train officers specifically to deal with issues like cleaning up meth sites and getting toxic chemicals to special container sites around the state. They also watch for those who may be â€œpill shoppingâ€ by going from store to store to find enough pseudoephedrine. Still, until more states draft new prescription legislation like Oregon and Mississippi, making the ingredients difficult to obtain, the problem may continue to rise.
â€œWhen theyâ€™re manufacturing it locally, theyâ€™re making the purest form and the strongest form they can make,â€ said Sgt. Niki Crawford of the Indiana State Police Meth Suppression team to KSHB. The experts agree that as long as the shake-and-bake makers continue to operate their mini-labs and easily find the ingredients, the problem will continue to challenge those Midwestern Values.
And who would challenge the idea of regulating pseudoephedrine by making it available only by prescription nationwide? According to Mother Jones, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) never made any headway introducing that bill in Congress in 2010, due to â€œheavy industry spending.â€
Written By: Betty Lenz