U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Drug Control: State Approaches Taken to Control Access to Key Methamphetamine Ingredient Show Varied Impact on Domestic Drug Labs

NCJ Number
241357
Date Published
January 2013
Length
70 pages
Annotation
This report to Congressional Requesters examines the impact that State approaches for controlling access to a key methamphetamine ingredient have had on domestic drug labs.
Abstract
This report examined the impact that efforts to restrict the access of pseudoephedrine (PSE), a key ingredient in methamphetamine (meth), have had on domestic drug labs. This report found that the number of seizures of labs, dumpsites, chemicals, and glassware declined after implementation of State and Federal sales restrictions on PSE in 2004, and that this decline continued on through 2007. In 2007, however, meth lab incidents began to increase due to changes in the production methods for meth and changes in ways of acquiring PSE. One approach for limiting the sales of PSE is the use of electronic tracking systems. The report found that this approach has not reduced meth lab incidents and it has had little effect on smurfing, a new technique used to obtain large quantities of PSE in which groups of individuals are recruited to purchase the legally allowable amount of PSE products at multiple stores that are then aggregated for meth production. The use of electronic tracking systems has been beneficial to law enforcement allowing them to investigate and find meth labs. Another approach used by States requires a prescription for the purchase of PSE. This approach has led to declines in meth lab incidents, but its effect on the welfare of consumers is not fully known due to the lack of data from healthcare providers. The findings in this report were based on analysis of data from several sources: law enforcement reports on meth lab incidents, reports on PSE product sales and prescriptions, and studies and drug threat assessments conducted by other researchers. Local and State officials from six States that implemented these approaches were also interviewed for this report. Appendixes, tables, and figures