Meth lab busts increasing in Ohio after sharp drop

DAYTON, Ohio - Meth lab busts are increasing in Ohio after declining a few years ago.

One reason is that the addictive substance is now being made in spaces as small as a large soda bottle.

Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation statistics showed just over 600 meth lab busts from October 2011 to October 2012, with 575 since then through May, according to the Dayton Daily News.

Ohio meth lab cases fell sharply from 2005 to 2007, but have been climbing back in the state, similar to national trends.

New federal regulations helped make meth lab use more difficult. But new methods are fueling the resurgence. In one called "shake and bake," ingredients are mixed in a 32-ounce soda bottle.

There's also a "one pot" method, allowing spread of meth-making. In earlier days, meth labs were often in rural areas, because more space was needed and chemical smells could be noticeable.

"They can do this in a small area," Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. "There's a proliferation of them."

He said meth-making is relatively easy to do in a small area now.

John Burke, commander of the Warren County Drug Task Force, said the rebound in meth use along with heroin and cocaine problems is troubling.

"It's still highly flammable and dangerous," Burke said.

Methamphetamine can be made with household goods and chemicals. Pharmacies in Ohio are now using a national database and adding information on sales of products including ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, often used as ingredients.

Urbana, Ohio, police recently found a meth lab that used several pop bottles with meth-making substances in the home's crawl space, and Dayton police recently caught a man doing the "shake and bake" method in his basement, the newspaper reported.

Two weeks ago, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base police closed part of a busy highway near Dayton after they found a meth lab in a trailer being pulled by a pickup truck.

Ohio recently became the 25th state to mandate a national database to track sales of key ingredients.

The database, funded by corporate drug makers, allows pharmacists to enter information that can result in a "do not sell" message, and helps law enforcement investigators to track patterns and monitor organized gang activity.

Officials say only a dozen or so Ohio pharmacies have yet to implement the national database program by a June 1 deadline. Authorities will be checking to see whether they had technical problems or simply stopped selling suspect products.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments