Meth continues to be a problem in TN, according to a recent DEA report, despite the enactment of the Meth-Free Tennessee Act of 2005. The Meth-Free Act requires that any products containing pseudoephrine be kept behind the pharmacy counter, where pharmacy technicians record who is buying it and how much. In 2006, the year following the enactment of the Act, the number of meth labs in TN and elsewhere fell by nearly 60% to 401 labs statewide. In 2005, the number of meth labs in TN was listed as 861. But, by 2007, the number of meth labs in the state began to show that meth labs are on the rise again. In fact, according to DEA stats, the number of meth labs in the state rose by nearly 25% to 539 in 2007. I doubt that the numbers come as any surprise to law enforcement agencies.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the saying “where there’s a will, there’s a way” is true; especially when you’re talking about someone who has an addiction problem. Putting pseudoephrine behind pharmacy counters is not going to stop anyone who’s in the business of making and selling meth. It is a business, like any other. When your supplier stops supplying, what do you do? You find another supplier, which is what meth cooks are doing. The question is, who is supplying them with the pseudoephrine?
Mexico is said to be the largest supplier of meth in the U.S. right now.
Excerpt of DEA reports about the meth problem in TN:
- Much of the methamphetamine consumed in the state is transported from Mexico and the Southwest Border states. Clandestine methamphetamine labs can be found everywhere in Tennessee, but are predominantly located in the Appalachian areas in Eastern Tennessee.
- Southeast Tennessee has seen a significant increase in the activities of structured Mexican methamphetamine trafficking groups. These groups control much of the methamphetamine distribution in the Chattanooga area, but command and control for these Mexican organizations are frequently found in Dalton, Georgia.
- An increase in methamphetamine use and abuse is anticipated in Tennessee as the drug gains popularity over crack cocaine use.
- The labs that are discovered in Tennessee are generally characterized as small and unsophisticated. These clandestine methamphetamine labs continue to pose a significant threat because lab operators are frequently armed and substantially involved in the drug’s distribution and therefore tend to place booby traps around the sites.
- Geographically, Tennessee is unique because it is bordered by eight other states. The interstate and state highway systems crisscross Tennessee’s four major cities and traverse each of its borders. These highways carry a very large volume of traffic and are a primary means of moving drugs to and through Tennessee. As a result, the drug situations in the neighboring states have an impact on the drug trafficking, availability, and abuse in Tennessee. Tennessee is predominantly a “user” and transshipment state, not a major source area for any drug except domestically grown marijuana.
- DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams: This cooperative program with state and local law enforcement counterparts was conceived in 1995 in response to the overwhelming problem of drug-related violent crime in towns and cities across the nation. Since the inception of the MET Program, 473 deployments have been completed nationwide, resulting in 19,643 arrests. There have been two MET deployments in the State of Tennessee since the inception of the program, in Chattanooga and Clarksville.
DEA phone numbers in TN:
For more information about the meth problem in TN or in your state, please visit the DEA website by clicking the underlined link.