Indiana and Tennessee Lead Nation in Meth Labs

Saturday, April 12, 2014
Testing for chemicals at a suspected meth lab in Indiana (photo: Indiana State Police)

Indiana and Tennessee lead all states in production of methamphetamine, according to law enforcement seizures of laboratories used to produce the illegal drug.


Figures from the U.S. Department of Justice show Indiana led the nation last year in meth incidents, such as labs, chemicals and paraphernalia and dump sites: 1,797.


Tennessee was second on the list with 1,616 reports, followed by Missouri with 1,496 and Ohio with 1,010. Ohio came in seventh only two years ago, with 709 reports, indicating the Buckeye State has a growing problem with the popular street drug.


Ralph Weisheit, a criminal justice professor at Illinois State University and an expert on meth, told The Plain Dealer that most of Ohio’s labs are “mom and pop” operations.


“The typical meth cooker doesn’t learn from the Internet or from a book. He or she learns from friends, from people. That’s why meth spreads like a disease, it goes from person to person,” he said.


Some states trying to reduce their meth problem have adopted laws requiring the government to publish online the addresses of busted meth labs. The approach is similar to the shaming tactics used against sex offenders whose names appear in online registries.


Idaho, Alaska, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington all list the locations of houses, apartments, motel rooms and even automobiles used to cook meth.


Indiana just passed its version of the law, which is set to go into effect on July 1. The mandate gives property owners six months to get rid of all traces of a lab, or its location goes up on the Internet. A location can’t come off the list until 90 days after it’s cleaned and declared habitable.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Ohio Moving Atop the Nation's List of Seized Meth Labs, Report Says (by John Caniglia, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

States Target Meth Labs with Name-and-Shame Strategy (by Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News)

Nationwide Methamphetamine Incidents Through December 2013 (pdf)

Methamphetamine Lab Incidents, 2004-2012 (Drug Enforcement Administration)

Law Enforcement Clashes with Drug Companies over Regulating Meth Ingredient (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Fighting Meth Labs by Making Advil, Claritin and Sudafed Prescription Only (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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