The number of meth labs found in Kentucky has reached an all time high.
Kentucky State Police report there were 111 meth labs found during the month of October. That's more than ever before. It brings the yearly total to 919, which breaks another record.
Hazmat crews have had their work cut out for them in 2010. With more than a month left in the year, the number of meth labs discovered in Kentucky has already passed last year's record of 741, and the state is on track to exceed 1000 labs by year's end. "We really think that it's going to take a community approach to this and working with our legislators and developing new techniques and new ways for law enforcement to deal with this particular problem," Kentucky State Police Lt. David Jude said.
One of the problems with meth labs is that it's relatively easy to get the household chemicals needed to make meth, and controls on the key ingredient, pseudoephedrine have not had their desired effect. "One of the things that we proposed in the previous legislative session was to control pseudoephedrine or to make it by prescription, and that's one of the issues that we're going to talk about with the legislators," Jude said.
However, availability of raw material is only part of the problem. Another issue is the simplification of the manufacturing process that no longer requires an entire room for production. So-called, "shake and bake" operations can create meth with chemical reactions contained in something as small as a two-liter bottle. That means meth makers have gone mobile. "These meth labs have become so small and so portable that it presents an even bigger problem for us," Jude said.
That's why police are looking for multiple strategies to stop the rise in meth labs. "Maybe this prescription is not the best thing for us, and maybe it is the best thing for us, and we want to work with the communities and the legislators to say, we have an issue here, and let's come together collectively to figure out what needs to happen," Jude said.
A state legislator has already pre-filed a bill that would require a prescription for pseudoephedrine in Kentucky. A similar bill in the last legislative session failed.