Iowa’s year-old anti-meth law has helped dramatically reduce the number of meth labs found in the state.
A state law that took effect last May placed new restrictions on over-the-counter medications that contain pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient for meth. Those medications were put behind pharmacy counters and there are restrictions on the amount you may buy.
Marvin Van Haaften, director of the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, helped push legislators to make the change. “People want to be safe in their homes,” Van Haaften says. “It’s hard to feel safe in your homes when someone a floor down may be cooking meth and burn your apartment down.”
So far this year, authorities have found 130 meth labs in Iowa. Just two years ago, Iowa cops were finding just about that many each month. Iowa City police sergeant Doug Hart says cops can tell the number of meth labs in Iowa has decreased. “It’s still a significant problem but the seizures and the arrests aren’t what they used to be,” Hart says.
Van Haaften cautions, though, that while the number of meth lab busts in Iowa is down, meth is still flowing into the state — most of it comes from Mexico. Van Haaften cautions against over-confidence because meth use isn’t declining. “I think Iowans are safer in their homes, but the drug addiction is still there,” Van Haaften says.
Van Haaften says the best way to keep kids from taking up the drug habit is to talk about it. He says studies show when parents talk to their kids, the kids are half as likely to experiment with drugs.