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Relationship between State Methamphetamine Precursor Laws and Trends in Small Toxic Lab (STL) Seizures

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2008
66 pages
This analysis examines the differences within States pre- and post-methamphetamine precursor law implementation in terms of trends in small toxic lab (STL) seizures related to specific State policies and examines the differences between States in terms of trends in STL seizures related to State policy variance regarding the precursor restrictions.
The analyses presented suggest that both the States and Federal Government took a measured and complex approach to reducing small toxic lab (STL) methamphetamine production. Models suggest that defining the violation of methamphetamine precursor purchase laws as a crime may not be the most significant element of a policy approach. Purchase quantity controls combined with clerk intervention and having a regulatory agency consistently related to reductions in STL lab seizures in both within- and between-State analyses. These data suggest that there is not a simple approach to addressing an issue such as the domestic production of methamphetamine in STLs. However, a combination of policies appears to have related to significant reductions in the domestic STL production of methamphetamine. It remains to be seen if this reduction is related to a reduction of the use of methamphetamine. The data suggest that comprehensive Federal and State approaches that include designated regulatory agencies that can enforce precursor laws focusing on quantity controls and clerk intervention are crucial policy elements in efforts to reduce the harms associated with STL manufacturing of methamphetamine. 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. To provide such an analysis, this research project was conducted with three objectives: (1) document State methamphetamine precursor laws regulations in effect as of October 2005; (2) examine the perceptions of key informants in five States of the impact of precursor laws 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. References, tables, and figures

Date Published: May 1, 2008