Iowa’s Drug Czar is a popular guy since the announcement that Iowa State University researchers have discovered an additive that renders a plentiful farm fertilizer almost useless in making the drug methamphetamine. Marv Van Haaften leads Iowa’s Office of Drug Control Policy, and says he’s had calls from at least a dozen other states asking about the additive that takes anhydrous ammonia out of the meth equation. He says he’d like to reveal the name, but Iowa State University and the D-E-A have asked him not to reveal the name at this time. He says it is a product already in use in horticulture. Van Haaften says it’s basically mixing the two fertilizers together to keep one from being used to make drugs. He says the beauty of it is that it in inhibits the yield of methamphetamine. He says psuedoephederine normally breaks down into 42-percent meth, while with this product, the yield is one percent or less. The easy availability of anhydrous made it tough for law officers to keep it out of the hands of meth makers. Van Haaften says the additive will solve that problem. He says, “we don’t believe any cooker will even attempt to use it, getting that much reduced yield.” Van Haaften says the next step is to implement the use of the additive, but he says they haven’t spent a lot of time on that and he’s not sure how quickly it will happen.He says there are some thoughts it could be done late summer or early fall, but he says he’s not sure. Van Haaften says this won’t shut down the production of meth totally as there are other methods to cook the drug. He says though, those other methods use materials that’re harder to get — such as red phosphorus from matches.He says he believes that the meth makers will draw more attention to themselves if they switch to using the other methods of making meth, and he says law enforcement officers will be able to pick up on that a little quicker. The D-E-A report there were nearly 13-hundred meth lab incidents in Iowa in 2003, the third most labs of any state. The I-S-U research was conducted with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture.
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