Editorial: Meth lab reduction good news, but will it continue?
BY World's Editorials Writers
Friday, December 07, 2012
12/07/12 at 2:54 AM
Tulsa police are on track to recover fewer meth labs in 2012 than last year. That's a promising development in the costly war on the illegal stimulant. But even with a reduction, police still have seized more than 300 meth labs.
"If I'm working 300 meth labs a year, it's still a problem," says Tulsa Police Cpl. Mike Griffin of the Special Investigation Division unit that responds to reported labs.
True enough. Yet, progress is progress. In 2011, police cleaned up 429 toxic labs. This year there are ZIP codes where no labs were recovered. In 2011, every ZIP code had at least one lab reported.
Labs threaten the well-being of innocent residents who might live in an apartment complex that catches fire because of an illegal lab exploding. Meth costs Oklahoma untold dollars for treatment, social services response - because children often are found in homes with labs - as well as cleanup, health-care and incarceration costs. Make no mistake, it's a scourge that is not fading away. The drug is cheap and insanely addictive and has many Oklahomans by the throat.
It's too early to say if a new law, effective last July, is reducing meth production. The law further restricts the amount of pseudoephedrine - used in illegal meth - a customer can buy at one time, in a month and every year. Come January, the Oklahoma meth registry will link up with a 22-state registry to prevent buyers from crossing state lines.
Oklahoma has seen ups and downs in meth production. Nearly 10 years ago, Oklahoma became the first state to restrict the amount of pseudoephedrine that could be purchased and it also required buyers to sign into a log to purchase certain over-the-counter cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine. But the meth makers always are a step ahead, and they went to one-pot labs that required less pseudoephedrine.
The lesson here is that lawmakers and law enforcement can never let their guard down. Illegal meth production is a moving target, requiring unrelenting vigilance to keep up with the lawbreakers.
Original Print Headline: Will it hold?