Sunday, Dec 8, 2013
Meth Labs on the Decline in Southern Illinois
UNION CO. -- Despite an increase in meth labs being reported in the state, authorities in southern Illinois say they're seeing less of the drug.
According to the numbers from Drug Enforcement Administration, Illinois had more than 150 additional busts in 2012 compared to 2011.
But according to local law enforcement, the meth problem seems to be shrinking in some parts of southern Illinois.
Drug officials describe methamphetamine as the number one drug problem in rural America. "It's a very dangerous drug," said Union County Sheriff David Livesay.
According to a snapshot of numbers by the DEA, meth lab seizures and arrests declined nationwide in 2012, but the numbers continued to grow throughout the heartland.
"The Midwest seems to be, I guess we'd call it the hub of where the methamphetamine labs are being seized," said Livesay.
Illinois has ranked fifth in the country for the last two years, trailing behind the number one spot, Missouri, by more than 1,000.
"When we first noticed meth to be a major problem it was mostly coming out of the Missouri area," said the sheriff.
Livesay explains how when Missouri passed a law in 2010 requiring prescriptions for the drug's main ingredient, psuedoephedrine, meth-makers began targeting southern Illinois pharmacies.
"We had them coming in droves over. Our jail population went up tremendously," he said.
In 2011, Livesay decided to meet with local pharmacies like WalMart to convince them to change their policies. "They require an ID and in some cases a prescription," he said.
Since then, Livesay believes meth has declined in his county. He's not alone. Other law enforcement agencies that News 3 spoke with also report seeing less meth.
But Livesay insists, drug users will simply look elsewhere to get their fix.
"People addicted to methamphetamine are going to find other ways to produce it if they can, and in law enforcement, unfortunately we just wait for the next shoe to fall on what the next drug is out there."
Since authorities began focusing on meth, Sheriff Livesay says they've seen a resurgence in heroin and prescription pills.
Officials at the Anna WalMart voluntarily decided to require prescriptions for psuedoephedrine and say they have noticed a decline in out-of-state purchases.
Wednesday, WalMart corporate officials released the following statement:
"We always want to provide our customers with access to the products they want and need. We also want to be a strong partner with local law enforcement and the community. We listened to their concerns and evaluated the situation to determine how we could continue to serve our customers with a legitimate need for the allergy and cold medicine. In an effort to find that balance, we voluntarily made the decision to only allow pseudoephedrine sales for out-of-state customers who have had a prescription previously filled at our pharmacy."
2012 DEA LAB SEIZURE STATISTICS BY STATE
1. MO 1,960
2. TN 1,701
3. IN 1,697
4. KY 1,000
5. IL 799
2011 DEA LAB SEIZURE STATISTICS BY STATE
1. TN 2,315
2. MO 2,075
3. KY 1,748
4. IN 1,437
5. IL 633
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