Kosciusko County appears to be winning the war on meth, but the battle is far from over.
According to Indiana State Police, Kosciusko County shared a three-way tie for the No. 7 spot for most methamphetamine labs found in the state in 2012. While still a Top 10 standing, it was an improvement over the 2011 rankings which had Kosciusko County in the No. 3 spot.
The tie for No. 7 included Kosciusko, Howard and Noble counties, each with 47 labs discovered last year. Kosciusko led ISP District 24 in the top spot, however, followed closely by Elkhart County which had 46 labs and Marshall County at 42 labs.
According to the Indiana State Police report, a total of 47 meth labs were located in Kosciusko County last year. In 2011, there were 58 meth labs found in the county.
Some of the credit for the decrease in meth labs may be attributed to Indiana’s laws on pseudoephedrine and ephedrine. Purchasing laws changed in July 2011 when lawmakers ruled that no one could buy more than 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine products in one day and no more than 7.2 grams in a 30-day period. On Jan. 1, 2012, even more laws on retailers then went into effect.
Before completing a sale of an over-the-counter product containing pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, retails must electronically submit a host of required information to the National Precursor Log Exchange. That information includes, but is not limited to, the name and address of the purchaser, the type of identification the buyer provides, the specific product purchased (including the number of grams), date and time of the purchase and even the clerk who completed the transaction.
Police continue to check pseudoephedrine logs at retailers and follow up on tips of possible methamphetamine production or use that they receive. Often times meth labs are found as a result of an anonymous tip from a neighbor or friend.
Signs to look for methamphetamine manufacturing are a strong ammonia smell, or solvent smell like an auto body shop. Look for air line type rubber tubing, ether or camp fuel cans, plastic bottles, pseudoephedrine packages, lithium battery casings and propane tanks with a blue or green discoloration around the valve. The chemicals are highly explosive and fumes are toxic to breathe and will damage internal organs.
The Top 10 list of Indiana counties as they relate to meth labs were:
1. Madison County with 96 labs
2. Vanderburgh County 90 labs
3. Delaware County 62 labs
4. Monroe County 60 labs
5. Decatur County 59 labs
6 (tie) Bartholomew County 53 labs
6 (tie) Knox County 53 labs
7 (tie) Howard County 47 labs
7 (tie) Kosciusko County 47 labs
7 (tie) Noble County 47 labs
8. Elkhart County 46 labs
9. Marshall County 42 labs
10. Tippecanoe County 38 labs
Anyone with information about illegal drug use may call the Indiana State Police Drug Tip Line at 1-800-453-4756. Tips can be made and kept anonymous.