HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html No Drop Overall In Meth Use
Pubdate: Fri, 29 Jul 2005
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2005 The Dallas Morning News
Author: Associated Press
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Law Leads To Drop In Labs; Mexican-Made Version More Prevalent

TULSA, Okla. - A widely copied Oklahoma law that has led to a dramatic drop 
in small-time methamphetamine labs has done little to curtail meth abuse 
overall. Users are turning to Mexican-made versions of the highly addictive 
drug, according to drug agents and others dealing with the problem.

Mexican drug cartels that have traditionally focused on trafficking 
cocaine, heroin and marijuana are now adding methamphetamine to their 
supply, said Lonnie Wright, director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics 
and Dangerous Drugs.

Mr. Wright told members of the Oklahoma Sentencing Commission on Thursday 
that law enforcement is shifting its focus to these Mexican drug smugglers 
who are dealing in a smokeable meth known as "crystal ice" to fill a void 
left with the disappearance of Oklahoma meth labs.

"We're regrouping, and we're kind of at a crossroads," Mr. Wright said. "I 
think we're through with meth labs, at least for now."

Seizures of "crystal ice" have risen nearly fivefold since a state law 
began putting local meth makers out of business.

Oklahoma was the first of more than a dozen states to limit 
over-the-counter sales of cold medicine containing a key ingredient used to 
make meth.

"Our problem hasn't gone away," said Oklahoma City Police Lt. Tom Terhune, 
who investigates drug cases. "The problem that's gone away is the meth labs."

Oklahoma has seen a 90 percent drop in lab seizures since it put medicines 
containing pseudoephedrine behind pharmacy counters in April 2004. Congress 
is now considering similar legislation.

In the same 15 months, however, ice seizures rose to 1,875, compared with 
384 seizures in the previous 15 months, Oklahoma State Bureau of 
Investigation statistics show.

"The violence with the drug is still there," Lt. Terhune said. "But the 
house next door isn't going to blow up because they're selling ice out of it."
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