(12/04/2014)
Meth lab busts in West Virginia have dropped 40 percent this year, according to WV State Police.

West Virginia law enforcement seized 290 of the clandestine labs through the end of November, down from 500 labs found by this time last year.

The drop mirrors a significant drop in sales of cold medications containing pseudoephedrine, a key meth-making ingredient sold under brand names such as Sudafed and Claritin-D.

Meth addicts have switched to cheap heroin, with crack cocaine resurfacing, and the long-standing abuse of prescription drugs.

Earlier this year, CVS, Walgreens and Kmart tightened restrictions on pseudoephedrine sales, after state lawmakers rejected a bill that aimed to curb illegal meth production by requiring people to get a prescription for the cold and allergy medicine. Rite Aid and Fruth Pharmacy also took steps to restrict sales in 2013.

In 2013, West Virginia authorities found 530 meth labs, a record number. This year, officers are on pace with 315 labs.

Mike Goff, a state Board of Pharmacy administrator, said West Virginia’s sharp decline in meth lab seizures doesn’t mean the problem is going away.

Goff said officers are apparently spending less time looking for the clandestine labs, while devoting more time battling the state’s problem with heroin and prescription drugs.

Addicts have switched to cheap heroin, with crack cocaine resurfacing, and the long-standing abuse of prescription drugs.


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