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Meth — shake and bake style — plain scary

August 24, 2009 - Per Peterson
Rural areas across the country have been fighting the meth problem for years, and now that fight — although we don’t hear as much about it anymore — is getting tougher and might be impossible to win. The Associated Press released a story Monday about how much easier it is to make meth today than a decade or so ago. Apparently, now all you need is a soda bottle, a few handfuls of pills and some noxious chemical. They’re calling it “shake and bake.” Anyone who wants to make meth doesn’t even need a flame anymore — there’s no foul odors, no meth labs, fewer, if any, explosions. Some, the AP reported, have even made meth while driving. Smaller explosions, however, could still occur under this new method of meth making. If the maker, for instance, unscrews the bottle cap too fast, it can result in a substantial blast. Scary stuff. The do-it-yourself method creates just enough meth for a few hits, allowing users to make their own doses instead of buying mass-produced drugs from a dealer. ‘‘It simplified the process so much that everybody’s making their own dope,’’ said Kevin Williams, sheriff of Marion County, Ala., about 80 miles west of Birmingham. ‘‘It can be your next-door neighbor doing it. It can be one of your family members living downstairs in the basement.’’ Numerous meth labs have been busted in rural areas all around, including a number in southwest Minnesota. But local law enforcement and the feds stepped up their pursuit of meth makers years ago in a big effort to get rid of meth houses all over the state and the nation. The federal government and dozens of states adopted restrictions on pseudoephedrine in 2005, and the number of lab busts fell dramatically. The total number of clandestine meth lab incidents reported to the Drug Enforcement Administration fell from almost 17,400 in 2003 to just 7,347 in 2006, the AP said. Now, those efforts will have to be stepped up even more, because as it gets easier to make meth, more people will give it a shot and it will be harder to track down. In fact, the number of meth busts has begun to rise again, and some blame the “shake and bake” method for the spike. The AP said at least 10 states reported increases in meth lab seizures or meth-related arrests from 2007 to 2008. And the Mississippi State Crime Lab participated in 457 meth incidents through May 31, up from 122 for the same period a year ago — a nearly 275 percent increase.


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