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Meth Crimes on the Rise, Despite Pharmacy Tracking Systems

According to a recent report by The Associated Press, meth drug busts were up 34 percent in 2009 in the U.S., the most recent year for which there was a figure. The percentage includes arrests for drug crimes involving meth, seizures of the drug and the discovery of sites that had been used to manufacture meth and abandoned.

The AP reports that there are several reasons why meth drug busts may have increased, including the rise of meth trafficking by Mexican cartels and a new method for making small amounts of the drug. (The "shake and bake" method involves mixing up meth ingredients in a two-liter soda bottle.) The AP also posited that the rise in meth crimes may also be an indirect result of electronic tracking laws that were supposed to do the opposite.

According to the AP, the electronic tracking systems were put in place by pharmacies beginning in 2006 in order to track how many products containing pseudoephedrine a person bought and to limit those purchases. The tracking systems initially led to a drop in meth arrests, but then meth producers re-grouped and began to hire "smurfers" to buy the products for them.

The AP says that people who may not have been involved in meth sales or trafficking otherwise were drawn into the practice because of the high profits for selling cold pills on the black market. The tracking laws, essentially, have created a black market for cold pills where smurfers can sell a pack of Sudafed at a 750-percent mark-up, and they have potentially drawn thousands more people into the meth trade.


AP IMPACT: Meth flourishes despite tracking laws (The Associated Press)

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