Meth lab busts on the rise

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

Lawmakers are set to consider a measure this session that could put a dent in the amount of meth in Kentucky.

The bill if it's filed would include a proposal to make medicine with pseudoephedrine in it a prescription drug.

Laurel County has the distinction of having the second highest number of meth lab busts in the state. Officials there said it is time to wage war on meth.

"By far meth is the worst drug out there," said Dan Smoot, with Operation UNITE.

The numbers will not be finalized until next week, but with almost 100 busts in 2010, Laurel County is on track to have the second highest number of meth lab busts, just a few shy of Wayne County.

"I don't really know if it is more of a problem here in this county as it is other counties. I just know we pursue it so fiercely," said John Root, Laurel County Sheriff.

Statewide the numbers are up too. In 2009, authorities found 741 meth labs in Kentucky. They expect that number to be near 1100 for 2010.

Drug enforcement officials said meth is such a problem because it is relatively easy to get your hands on the ingredients. Folks can buy everything they need to make meth at the store and even cook it in the parking lot.

They hope reductions in the sales of cold medicine will combat the meth problem.

"It's all about drugs of choice, and meth looks to be the drug of choice here in Southern Kentucky," said Smoot.

Officials with Operation UNITE point to statistics from the state of Oregon, which made pseudoephedrine a prescription drug in 2006.

Since that time the number of meth labs in that state has dropped dramatically.

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