Health
1:31 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana in Top 5 Nationally for Meth Lab Busts

Methamphetamine lab seizures rose nationally again in 2011, further evidence the powerfully addictive and dangerous drug is maintaining a tight grip on the nation's heartland, according to an Associated Press survey of the nation's top meth-producing states.

Missouri regained the top national spot for lab seizures in 2011 with 2,096. The survey found Tennessee was second with 1,687, followed by Indiana with 1,437, Kentucky with 1,188 and Oklahoma with 902.

The total for Missouri lines up with numbers AP obtained this week from the Drug Enforcement Agency whose data appeared to show meth lab seizures remained about even during the past two years. But the totals for each of the other states surveyed by AP are higher than the federal data.

Combined, the numbers indicate nationwide meth lab seizures rose at least 8.3 percent in 2011 compared to 2010.

The AP polled the states after obtaining the DEA breakdown of meth lab seizures by state for 2011 and finding that several had not yet reported full-year data.

Missouri and Kentucky are among a handful of high-meth states that developed their own programs to train local police to better handle meth cleanup and take the hazardous waste to container sites placed around the state.

The programs helped those states continue with busts after millions of dollars in federal funding set aside for cleanup suddenly was cut in February 2011. Many local police agencies in states without their own programs all but stopped seeking out meth labs because the local governments couldn't afford the cleanup cost.

An AP analysis in August found that the number of labs seized had plummeted by at least a third in several key meth-producing states within six months. The federal money then was restored late last year.

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