State sees drop in number of meth lab busts after new legislation

New legislation to help stop the production of meth went into effect this summer.
New legislation to help stop the production of meth went into effect this summer.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) After years of battling meth in the state, Indiana State Police said they’ve seen a 36 percent decline in the number of meth labs statewide.

State Representative Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) is behind the new law making it hard for people to make meth.

“My ultimate goal is to reduce the number of innocent kids that are in toxic meth labs to zero,” Smaltz said.

Under the law, Hoosiers who have a patient relationship with a pharmacy can continue purchasing medicine that contains pseudoephedrine without a prescription. If they do not have a patient relationship, a pharmacist would be able to sell them a tamper resistant medication or a very small amount of medication containing pseudoephedrine. Only an individual who refuses these various options would be required to obtain a prescription.

The law went into effect July 1. Since that time ISP has busted 209 meth labs. During that same time period one year ago they busted 328 labs.

“I think it’s really encouraging,” Smaltz said. “It’s good to see those numbers going down.”

Sgt. Ron Galaviz said even before the legislation the meth suppression unit has seen fewer labs.

“Since the spring of this year, March and April, we’ve actually started to see a decline,” Galaviz said.

Galaviz said in addition to new legislation making it harder to make meth, police have also seen an increase in other drug use like heroin, spice and other imported drugs making it difficult to pin down a cause for the decline.

“We also know that crystal meth is making an appearance again and that is not a local product,” Galaviz said. “That product is coming from beyond our borders, so there’s a handful of potential reasons why we’re seeing a decline in numbers, but we do want to give credit to the legislation.”

Both Galaviz and Smaltz said they only hope the trend continues.

“It will be a period of time now for us to watch and see what happens with what we’ve done and then decide if we need to make additional changes,” Smaltz said.

To contact the State Police meth hotline click here.