Officials Say Meth Labs Declining In Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics said the amount of major meth labs in the state is dropping year to year, but that doesn't mean they are not working to crack down harder.
"We certainly know that with the seizures down that meth labs are down," said Mark Woodward, spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.
More than a decade ago, meth labs were nearly up to 1,300 a year.
"It was just day after day, and police officers became trash collectors," Woodward said.
Collecting drugs on busts like one in Lindsay, Okla. last year, where 12 people were arrested, is a trend that the OBN said has been going down.
In 2011, there were about 930 meth labs seized. In 2012, 830; in 2013, 422 and so far in 2014, 177.
"Yes meth labs are down in Oklahoma, but meth use, meth addiction has never been higher and it continues to escalate because we have the Mexican cartels filling the vacuum, and they're pouring ice into Oklahoma at rates that we've never seen before," Woodward said.
The "ice” or Mexican-sourced crystal meth is just one reason why meth labs are down. The other reason for the decline has been because of the strict limits placed on pseudoephedrine purchases, where suspects take tablets like Sudafed and convert them into meth.
"Several thousand a month as people attempted to buy pseudoephedrine, but were getting blocked because they had hit their 60 gram threshold, so that made a big difference."
The decrease frees up officers to do other work as the crack down on drugs continues.
"We got fewer fires, fewer contaminated properties, fewer kids living in these deplorable conditions of a meth lab, but we do not want the public to think that the meth problem is slowly being solved in Oklahoma," Woodward said.
OBN said one focus will be on the rural areas that are being flooded with pounds of crystal meth on a weekly basis.