Pubdate: Fri, 13 Jul 2001
Source: Journal Gazette (IN)
Copyright: 2001 Journal Gazette
Author: Sylvia A. Smith
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


WASHINGTON - Although most of the methamphetamine sold in the United States 
is produced in large factory-like labs, thousands of mom-and- pop labs all 
over the country can easily make smaller amounts because the ingredients 
are everyday items, sheriffs and drug-enforcement officers told Congress on 

Doug Harp, chief deputy sheriff of Noble County, said 80 percent of the 
drug cases he has investigated in the last six years involved "meth."

Meth is easier to make than cocaine, produces a longer-lasting high than 
crack and is more addictive than heroin, the police officers told a House 
subcommittee chaired by Rep. Mark Souder, R-4th.

Although the chemicals used to make it are easy to come by, they have a 
strong odor, so rural areas are popular places to set up a lab, they said.

"It's often been referred to as the 'poor man's stimulant.' But you can't 
say that anymore. It's available all across the board," said Joseph Keefe, 
chief of operations of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Police in Noble County confiscated $500,000 worth of meth in the last year, 
Sheriff Doug Dukes said.

Souder said it's hard to control the growth of the meth labs because "just 
$2,500 worth of chemicals can make 4 pounds of methamphetamine with a 
street price of $163,000."

"In my lifetime I don't believe that rural America has ever had to deal 
with anything as destructive and costly as meth," Harp said. "It is my 
belief that it has not yet peaked. Usage will continue to grow, and 
availability of the drug will reach epic proportions."

He and other law enforcement officers from around the country said they 
need congressional help. They said they don't want new federal programs; 
they want money to hire more police officers.

Souder said lawmakers must also consider whether to put limits on the 
products used to make meth: Over-the-counter cold medicines, farm 
fertilizers, rock salt, battery acid, red phosphorous road flares, pool 
acid and iodine crystals can be used.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager