O what I wouldn’t give to be down in the middle of this state ranking, like we tend to be on the ones that rank the states by some sort of positive metric. But no such luck this time artound, not where meth lab seizures is concerned. In that regard, we’re not just number one this year, we’re repeat winners of that dubious honor. In fact, we’re practically uncontested champs, having held the title for a decade, with one minor asterisk. In 2010, upstart Tennessee made a run at it for a minute, but that didn’t last long.
In 2010, the year we briefly gave up the cup, we “only” had 1960 labs busted by law enforcement and carted away in poison pieces, but in 2011 we rallied and brought our a game and reclaimed our rightful title once more, with 2096 seizures.
Tim Hull, a spokesman for the Missouri Highway Patrol says there are three reasons the numbers are going up instead of down, even as roughly two thousand producers are shut down every year. The first is a stepping up of the aggressive footing law enforcement has taken in investigating the renegade labs and making arrests and seizures.
A second factor, and one that is frequently overlooked, is that Missouri got something right a few years ago, when the state lege created the Hazardous Waste Fund to deal with the toxic after-effects of meth lab seizures. Other states rely on federal funding that may or may not be there to clean up meth labs, depending on the whim of the Congress, but we don’t (states rights I can believe in!). That clean-up fund means that even though we are a cash-strapped state and at the mercy of an insanely-right-wing, ignorant-and-proud-of-it legislature, the funding is there to clean up the toxic, poisonous mess that making the stuff in makeshift labs leaves behind. This means that local law enforcement can move on all labs that they become aware of and not have to prioritize based on available funds to clean up afterward.
The final factor is the cooks themselves. There’s a profit motive and that means that no matter what sorts of measures are taken to stop the flow of pseudoephedrine, there will always be people who will get around them. That’s just the nature of contraband.