Meth-related crimes continue to be a problem in Texas County, authorities say. (File photo)

The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports that methamphetamine laboratory incident seizures totaled 1,960 during 2010 — a 10 percent increase from 2009 and 53 percent increase from 2007.

“Once again, Missouri has the unfortunate distinction of being the leader in meth lab seizures, despite the hard work of the state’s drug task forces and all law enforcement,” said Colonel Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. “Meth is a deadly drug, with dangerous consequences for all Missouri communities, including increasing other criminal activity, and endangering the children who grow up in residences where meth is produced and used.”

After Missouri, the top five states in meth lab incident seizures in 2010 were Tennessee (1,197), Kentucky (1,045), Mississippi (715) and Michigan (672).

Missouri saw a drop in the number of meth lab seizures in 2006, after anti-meth lab legislation was enacted. However, from 2007 to 2010, the number of meth lab incidents in Missouri has steadily increased. This rise can be attributed to meth manufacturers circumventing laws that restrict the legal limit purchase of pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine is the key ingredient used to make meth. It is also the only ingredient that cannot be substituted in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

The patrol said Missouri continues to provide training to certify law enforcement officers to safely respond, investigate, and clean up meth labs. The 40-hour certification course, entitled “Hazardous Waste & Emergency Response for Meth Labs”, is cosponsored by the Patrol and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Since the inception of this training, 21 classes have been sponsored and over 500 officers have been certified.

The number of meth seizures in Missouri the past four years:

2007 – 1,285

2008 – 1,487

2009 – 1,774

2010 – 1,960

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