While prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in the state, a do-it-yourself drug is seeing a resurgence according to the latest report from the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy. O.D.C.P. spokesman, Dale Woolery, says methamphetamine was never wiped out — but there was progress.
He says the state saw a significant dip in meth use, meth manufacturing, and other issues related to meth for several years starting in 2005. But Woolery says in the last two or three years, there’s been an uptick in meth related issues. Woolery says it wasn’t a case of the meth-fighting effort failing.
Woolery says the meth problem could be even worse if it weren’t for some of the things put into place like the pseudoephedrine tracking system, which they think has had an impact on meth labs. “Having said that, we still are seeing an increase in meth labs — though they are smaller and producing less meth — they are still there and people addicted to meth are still there,” Woolery says.
Beginning in 2004, state law changed so cold medications containing the key meth ingredient pseudoephedrine required a signature to be purchased, and stores are now linked electronically to track their purchases. O.D.C.P. figures show over 21,000 blocked attempts to buy such medications since the system was implemented.
Woolery says meth makers have adjusted their methods for getting pseudoephedrine and making the addictive drug. Woolery says they travel to other states to get the pseudoephedrine, or they find ways to buy smaller amounts of the ingredient here in Iowa. And he says many have switched to a new production method called a “one pot” or “shake and bake lab.”
Woolery says the new baking method requires less of the key ingredients, but may require more work. He says the labs are smaller and make smaller batches, so the meth makers may have to fire them up more often.
Woolery says they do believe there are still fewer meth makers out there overall, but there is still “a significant number” and the labs are still dangerous. Woolery says they expect to see 343 meth labs in 2011, or nearly twice the recent annual low of 178 in 2007, but still almost 80% below the 1,500 recorded in 2004 before the law moving drugs containing pseudoephedrine behind pharmacy counters.
The stats show the number of Iowans entering treatment primarily for meth use increased for the third straight year in 2011, coinciding with similar rebounds in reports of meth labs and meth-related prison admissions.
Read a Radio Iowa story about the ODCP’s annual report here: wp.me/p16gWZ-ldo