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Controlling Methamphetamine Precursors: The View from the Trenches

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2007
134 pages
This paper reports on key informants (KIs) from five States and focus group interviews exploring methamphetamine precursor policies related to ephedrine and pseudoephedrine (PSE) and the impact of selected States’ methamphetamine precursor laws.
Consistently, across all States and interview groups, key informants (KIs) agreed that harms from small toxic labs (STLs) had been greatly reduced in their States through a combination of similar, but sometimes differently implemented, precursor laws. Reductions in toxic chemical exposure and cleanup, child seizures at lab sites, and dangerous lab environments were greatly reduced in all States. The magnitude of these reductions appeared to be directly connected to level of access to pseudoephedrine (PSE) products and ability to monitor and track PSE purchases in a real-time, or at least timely, manner. The results of this study provide policymakers and researchers with a complex picture of State and local efforts to control methamphetamine precursors and reagents. The results will be useful to policymakers, law enforcement officials, and pharmacists who are attempting to understand, strengthen, and perhaps replicate effective precursor law provisions in their own States. While official data and anecdotal reports suggest that State policy changes played a key role in the observed decrease in STL methamphetamine production, there has not been a multistate scientific analysis of the elements of States’ enacted legislation or adopted regulations restricting access to methamphetamine precursors that correspond with STL seizure decreases. In order to provide such an analysis, this research project, supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, had three objectives: (1) document State methamphetamine precursor laws/regulations in effect as of October, 2005; (2) examine the perceptions of KIs in five States (Oregon, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, and Indiana) of the impact of precursor policies on STL production of methamphetamine; and (3) examine the relationships between State methamphetamine precursor policies and trends in STL seizures after the implementation of such policies. Appendixes A-C

Date Published: October 1, 2007