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Controlling Methamphetamine Precursors: The View from the Trenches (Executive Summary)

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2007
12 pages
This summary reports on key informant (KI) and focus group interviews exploring the relationships between methamphetamine small toxic lab (STL) seizures and related activity, and methamphetamine precursor laws.
Despite project limitations, a strong group of States, counties, and key informants (KIs) were selected to explore the impact of those States’ methamphetamine precursor laws. Consistently, across all States and interview groups, KIs agreed that harms from meth-related small toxic labs (STLs) had been greatly reduced in their States through a combination of similar, but sometimes differently implemented, precursor laws. Reductions in toxic chemical exposure and cleanup, child seizures at lab sites, and dangerous lab environments were greatly reduced in all States. The magnitude of these reductions appeared to be directly connected to level of access to pseudoephedrine (PSE) products and ability to monitor and track PSE purchases in a real-time, or at least timely, manner. Lessons learned and recommendations common to most or all States include: (1) recognize the progress made in reducing harms associated with STLs and continue to work toward the elimination of all labs; (2) develop an electronic, real-time, State-based reporting system; (3) strengthen communication between law enforcement and pharmacies; (4) work with neighboring States to adopt tighter restrictions on PSE products to eliminate smurfing; (5) develop more treatment options to help addicts overcome addiction; (6) develop and/or continue collaborative relationships with all major stakeholders; and (7) work with Federal Government officials to reduce importation of crystal methamphetamine. Utilizing five selected States (Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Oregon), this project, supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice conducted KI and focus group interviews to examine KIs’ perceptions of the impact of their State’s methamphetamine precursor laws; (2) explore KIs’ perceptions of the organizational and procedural facilitators and barriers to successful implementation of the law(s); and (3) evaluate KIs’ perceptions of the relative importance of various precursor law provisions.

Date Published: October 1, 2007