Meth problem in Tennessee is increasing

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.

Meth labs TNIt 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:

Johnson City—423-854-9100

For more information about the meth problem in TN or in your state, please visit the DEA website by clicking the underlined link.


  1. Justin says

    Hi, my name is justin. I am 14 yrs old, and my dad was a meth manufacturer. He did time in prison for it a few yrs back and it nearly broke my heart. I finally got back together with him and now he’s back in jail. It tears us apart so badly! Please if u know any1 who uses or makes methamphetamine please please convince them 2 stop! U just never know what it could do 2 not only them, but u 2, depending on how close u r 2 them.

    • says


      I’m sorry that you have had to suffer the pain of having a parent who has a meth addiction. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you. Hopefully, your father will get the help he needs in prison to quit his addiction to meth, for his sake,for your sake, and for the sake of your entire family. Studies show that quitting meth is very difficult to do, but it is possible, if a person wants to quit and that person gets long-term professional support to help them stay off of the drug.

      Thank you for reminding everyone that meth addiction hurts many people, not just the person who is addicted to it. Hopefully, you have someone that you can talk to, who can help support you, as you go through what has to be extremely difficult and painful for you.

      Justin, what you are going through is an important lesson for everyone to understand about the impact that meth has on the children of those addicted to meth. Keep teaching others, Justin. You never know how many lives you may save. God bless you and keep you strong.

      • Ex-methmonster says

        Justin, hang in there son.I put my son through what you are going through.I have been clean for 3 yrs now,so there is hope for your DAD.
        My advice to you is to focus on school,get a hobby,write and visit your DAD as often as you can,but make your life top priority.If I had it to do all over again I wouldn’t change much because my Son has never been in trouble and never wanted to do drugs because of what he saw it do to me.We are best friends now, & I have 2 beautiful granddaughters,We are all gainfully employed,and life is finally good.
        Good luck to you and your father,hopefully things will get better for you.BTW Thanks for sharing your story like MLH’s said stories like your’s can make a difference. :)

        • Justin says

          Thank you very much for sharing your story with me, and congratulations on being clean for 3 yrs! I hope that my dad does follow the better path this time around. I do try to write him and see him at every little chance I get. Once again, thank you and God Bless!

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