Today's Question: How do we combat meth use when it’s now so much easier to make?

Thursday, August 27, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

The new “shake-and-bake” has nothing to do with chicken and breadcrumbs.

Recently an easier method has emerged to make methamphetamine. The technique requires only a two-liter soda bottle, some cold tablets and the appropriate chemicals. Add a little wrist action, and the result is one of the most addictive drugs made the “shake-and-bake” way.

“Shake-and-bake” creates smaller batches of meth. However, it is quicker, simpler and doesn’t require an elaborate set-up over a kitchen stove or in a bathtub. And it enables users to make meth themselves, rather than buying from a dealer.

Although flames are not used to “shake-and-bake,” if bottles contain any oxygen they could turn into balls of fire.

The new formula is resulting in an increase in meth arrests across the middle of the country. The number had previously been declining, according to a study conducted and reported by the Associated Press.

Because the recipe calls for smaller amounts of the decongestant pseudoephedrine, it circumvents the nation’s various “anti-meth” laws. The federal law that took effect in 2005 limits the amount of cold medicine that can be purchased to nine grams, or about 300 tablets. Laws have been effective in lowering the number of labs found, according to the Associated Press.

In 2006, Oregon became the only state to make it illegal to hold pseudoephedrine without a prescription. In July, Washington, Mo., became the first local government to require those purchasing pseudoephedrine to have a prescription, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Even before the new method, some law enforcement members were hampered from cracking down on pseudoephedrine purchase violations. Some areas lack technology to track meth manufacturers who worked around the laws by buying pseudoephedrine in multiple locations.

Some states are reacting to "shake-and-bake" by tightening the wording of laws, requiring stores to record pseudoephedrine sales and requiring those who purchase cold medicine to show identification.

Missouri’s State Highway Patrol is asking residents to help with the meth battle by watching for and reporting suspicious behavior.

How do we combat meth use when it’s now so much easier to make?

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