The state’s Drug Czar announced today (Monday) that six years of testing have led to an additive that can render a common fertilizer useless in making methamphetamine. Marvin Van Haaften, the director of the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, says adding calcium nitrate to anhydrous ammonia, makes the anhydrous no longer usable in cooking meth.
Van Haaften says the additive is a “chemical lock” for anhydrous in preventing the manufacture of meth. He says 93-percent of the meth made in the state is made from meth. Van Haaften says the law the law restricting the sale of the popular cold medicine additive pseudoephedrine has to led 90-percent of the meth coming from out of the state.
But, Van Haaften say the anhydrous additive will still have an impact. He says 80-percent of Iowans were worried about a meth lab explosion, about kids inhaling the meth fumes and about the seven pounds of toxic waste left over from meth labs. So, Van Haaften says this addresses the major concern of Iowans.
Dave Coppess is the vice president of the Heartland Co-op, which helped Iowa State University test the additive. He says the testing at Heartland and two other retailers found the product to work “extremely well.” Coppess says they used the additive in anhydrous tanks that were left out for thieves to steal and try to use to make meth.
Coppess says the inhibitor was used at three sites and in each case the “meth addicts” abandoned the treated meth. Coppess says there are 26-thousand portable meth tanks in Iowa. Coppess says they need to move ahead very quickly and inject every tank, including storage units, with the product. Coppess says they will probably have to inject the tanks semi-annually, and will put stickers on the tanks once they put the product inside.
Coppess says they don’t know yet how much it will cost to put the calcium nitrate into anhydrous — but says it won’t be a problem finding the material. Coppess says calcium nitrate is a common product that’s used for industrial purposes, horticultural processes, and a variety of other uses. He says it’s an agricultural product, so it doesn’t hurt the effectiveness of anhydrous. The Iowa Ag Department estimates it will cost 24-dollars per injection of each anhydrous tank.
Coppess says his co-op is moving forward today with injecting the material into their anhydrous tanks, and he says he’s encouraging others to do the same. Drug Czar Van Haaften credited Iowa’s congressional delegation with getting the needed funds to do the research on the meth blocker. Researchers George Kraus and John Verkade at Iowa State University received one-point-two million dollars for research that took six years to identify the product.