Georgia Meth Labs, Smaller, More Numerous

March 22nd, 2011

In 2008 and 2009, Georgia maintained a fairly steady Meth lab bust rate, with busts at 152 and 165 respectively.  Then 2010 rolled around the corner and a new type of meth lab was formed.

Meth labs traditionally take up lots of space and require a large amount of materials for production, particularly pseudoephedrine, a legal drug used as a decongestant.  But now the trend has changed, with large scale operations falling away, and smaller labs made for personal use are on the rise.

“What we’ve started to see is more of these one-pot cooks,” says Lt. Ken Harmon who, in February uncovered one such cook along with the Commerce Police Department. “You don’t need as much of the raw material, so it’s easier for them to gather up the materials.”

While the large scale operations seem to be tapering off, these one-pot cooks are steadily on the rise, bringing the total amount of busts from 165 in 2009 to 289 in 2010, nearly double.

“We’re probably more successful dealing with the Mexican drug cartels than we are dealing with the individual who is riding around in his car with a two-liter Coke bottle cooking his own meth,” Ayers said.  “That has become a real serious problem for us.”

The problem is, pseudoephedrine is only lightly regulated in Georgia, and when a bill was proposed for further regulation, it was voted down by a public worried about the increased difficulty of purchase and the raise in price which would result.

Ayers response, “People might worry that it’s cumbersome, and that it might be more expensive for people,” Ayers said.  “It will be, but pseudoephedrine allows for the manufacture of methamphetamine.  If we don’t change, then we’re going to allow an epidemic to take hold.”

S. Cody Barrus, Managing Editor

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