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ISP Reports Decline In Statewide Meth Lab Seizures During 2016
Updated January 24, 2017 6:50 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(UNDATED) - Indiana State Police statistics indicate a 35 percent decline in statewide methamphetamine lab seizures during 2016.

Indiana State Police reports 943 meth lab busts occurred in Indiana, representing a 35 percent drop from the 1,452 incidents in 2015. In Lawrence County there were 6 ISP clandestine lab incidents - in Monroe County - 35; Daviess County - 16; Orange County - 11; Jackson County - 9; Greene County - 7; Washington County - 7; Martin County - 4; Brown County - 2.

In addition, the number of children removed from meth lab environments went down nearly half from the 291 cases in the same year. Over the past two years, child removals from Indiana meth labs declined more than 57 percent. Meth labs can easily catch fire and leave behind toxic contamination, causing costly injuries to first responders and meth cooks, while endangering innocent children and neighbors.

"While this significant decline in statewide meth lab incidents is encouraging, it is imperative we continue working to reduce the number of all drug-related incidents in Indiana," says State Rep. Bill Friend (R-Macy). "This meth lab epidemic has been affecting our entire state, especially our rural areas, for far too long. Hoosiers, particularly children, deserve neighborhoods that are safe from dangerous meth labs. We must also recognize and thank our local and state police who are working diligently to protect our communities."

Over the past three years, Indiana led the nation in meth lab incidents. During the 2016 session, Friend supported a new law to combat Indiana's growing number of meth labs. Friend said the law makes purchasing large amounts of pseudoephedrine, a common decongestant as well as a key ingredient used to manufacture meth, more difficult for meth cooks to obtain. The law also empowers local pharmacists to ensure law-abiding consumers maintain legitimate access to these cold medications.

"We're still obviously having to address domestic production - because it's still happening, but now we're able to dedicate some resources to investigating the importation of methamphetamine," says Indiana State Police Sgt. Mike Toles, north zone supervisor for the state police.

Toles says, the decrease in labs doesn't mean the problem has lessened.

"I hope people don't forget about methamphetamine," Toles adds. "We have a lot of meth addicts and we have a lot of people that have some serious issues that are self-medicating - whether it be through meth or heroin. That's something we need to get a grasp on here in the Midwest, and get them the help they need before they start self-medicating."

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