CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The problems associated with methamphetamine are one of the biggest issues facing law enforcement today. The number of labs in West Virginia is growing and the ability to get rid of them is being swallowed up with a lack of funding and manpower.

“We don’t have the manpower to go out and just search for meth labs,” said State Police First Sergeant Mike Smith on Monday’s MetroNews Talkline. “Most of these labs we’re finding on domestics, child abuse and neglect, those kinds of things.  We’re responding to the labs as they get reported or we stumble across them.”

Smith said the problem is grown faster than law enforcement in West Virginia can keep up and the legislature will have a decision to make either in the coming session or in future years.

“Either they’re going to have to control pseudoephedrine, which is the one ingredient which allows meth to be produced,”  he said. “Or they’re going to have to come up with a funding source so we can equip everyone and go after these labs and possibly more manpower.”

Corporal Jason Crane said he’d visited hundreds of meth lab sites in West Virginia. He said in most cases, officers are ill-equipped to handle the danger they’re walking into.

“We really are hurting on the equipment side,” he said. “We really need to address our current status of our equipment and get our members and other law enforcement agencies throughout the state properly equipped.”

Smith and Crane said meth has become the top drug of choice in West Virginia and it’s fueled by the addiction. The meth addiction is the most gripping of all drug addictions and it’s driving normal people to do crazy things to get the drug.  Labs are found in homes, motels, storage units, even in cars and backpacks.

Smith and Crane are among those calling on lawmakers to make the pseudoephedrine products prescription only. A bill, which would take the step, is due to be introduced in the 2013 session.

“I think everybody’s concern is, ‘Why should they be penalized because somebody else is cooking meth?’” said Smith. “It’s a little bit of a scare tactic because from physicians I’ve spoken with there’s still like 30 over-the-counter medicines it would not affect.”

The two said on MetroNews Talkline the tips for meth labs are becoming more and more common.  People are actually reporting them by coming to the State Police detachment, but are fearful of retaliation. However, they add people are becoming fed up and are starting to help in their war to eradicate the growing problem.

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  • Doug

    Pain pills DO need to be by prescription! My point was some doctors will write prescriptions for profit, making the pain pills a HUGE problem, what's to keep these same doctors from profiting from Sudafed scripts???

  • Bibi

    The pain pill problem would be a LOT worse if those medications weren't prescription only. Accidental overdose is the number one killer of young adults in WV. That being said, I don't know of any doctor who would prescribe Sudafed anyway. There are at least 30 alternatives, two of which contain exactly the same chemicals, but are in a format that can't be extracted for meth production (Nexafed and Zephrex-D). The bill as proposed would exempt any medicine that can't be made into meth. StoptheMethWV check it out on Facebook.

    • The bookman

      Zephrex and Nexafed can be used to produce meth in the one pot method more commonly referred to as shake and bake...they do only produce half the quantity of meth, but that simply requires twice as much. Not going to stop them....those medications do create roblems for the more sophisticated large lab formula, but those chemists will figure it out as they have more resources than the zombie mobile lab types shaking empty soda bottles...suppliers will always find a way to fill the demand. Only when the demand is squashed can you deter the supplier.

    • WhgFeeling

      It's called natural selection!! It is sad but if these young people choose to do the drugs they know the possible side effects. Why subject everyone else in the tiny state because of some meth heads??? Besides the meth heads will travel to neighboring states to get their ingredients. Grandma doesn't have the income to drive two hours out of the way to get some cold relief.

  • Doug

    Making it a prescription will only make it worse, look at the pain pill problem we have in WV....where do those come from? the doctors

  • Maxeer

    Get real...until you lock up these scumbags at hard labor for 10-20 will continue...and DONT give me that crap of rehab..if they go themselves and want it...then HELP..but other than that...its like all things hurting WV..the weasles in charge are the blame ...period

  • JBone

    I get tired of hearing of excuses of needing more funding. Everyone (Including law enforcement) know where the drug dealers are located in every town and city, but amazingly they still continue to operate.

  • Dave, just Dave.

    Just let them meth themselves to death, problem solved.