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From Policy to Practice: State Methamphetamine Precursor Control Policies

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2007
142 pages
This study provides an overview of State laws intended to restrict access to selected precursor chemicals used to produce methamphetamine in small labs.
By October 1, 2005, just over half of the States had adopted and implemented a range of methamphetamine precursor control laws in an attempt to reduce the extent and consequences of domestic production; however, there is significant variation in these laws across geographical regions of the country. Western States have generally developed more extensive precursor laws than eastern States. This a reflection of the trends in domestic methamphetamine production, which have shifted rapidly from west to east. There is also significant variation in State legal approaches for controlling small toxic labs; for example, some States have used controlled substances scheduling laws to restrict access to primary methamphetamine precursors. Other States have enacted separate laws aimed specifically at the retail sale environment of these products and the amount that can be purchased. Other States have taken a deterrence approach by criminalizing the possession of precursors, establishing new penalties for possession, designating State agencies to enforce the laws, and establishing uniform statewide enforcement schemes through pre-emptive provisions. These variations in legislative approaches could have implications for the likelihood of State and regional effectiveness in controlling the domestic manufacture of methamphetamine. This report is a first step in a more comprehensive examination of State methamphetamine precursor policies. The larger study aims to identify, analyze, and report on the restrictiveness and policy types of State methamphetamine precursor chemical laws designed to reduce domestic methamphetamine production; examine the perceived impact of these laws; and analyze the associations between the types and extensiveness of precursor laws and reductions in methamphetamine-related lab and precursor chemical seizures, as well as consequences associated with the presence of these labs in local communities. 6 figures, 4 tables, and 81 references

Date Published: March 1, 2007