Why are Meth Labs Prevalent in the Midwest?

Midwest map

According to Business Insider, meth labs are not as prevalent in big cities as they are in small cities and rural areas; data from the Drug Enforcement Administration show that most of America’s meth labs are in both the Midwest and the South. Missouri had the highest number of meth lab incidents in 2012 with 1,825 total. Tennessee came in second, with 1,585 total incidents. Indiana is high on the list as well, with Indy Star ranking Indiana as the number one location in the United States for meth lab seizures – 1,797 total seizures as of 2014, a report stated.

The Huffington Post stated that meth is becoming easier for people to make – a method called “shake and bake” involves combining pseudoephedrine (found in cold tablets), common household ingredients (ether found in engine fluid, ammonia nitrate found in cold packs, lithium found in lithium batteries, and water), and methamphetamine in a bottle and simply shaking it for 15 minutes to “cook” a batch of meth. With methods becoming easier, people are baking and consuming this addictive drug without the hardships of having to find a location or understanding the chemistry behind it.

The difficulty with cooking meth, however, is that if the bottle explodes, the result could involve severely injured and often uninsured individuals as well as a burning house. According to the RAND Corporation Study, meth use costs the United States approximately $23.4 billion a year, with it costing about $230,000 to treat a meth lab burn victim. Many states are trying to make it more difficult for people to create meth by making a key meth ingredient, pseudoephedrine prescription only. The Council of State Governments notes that Indiana is restricting access to pseudoephedrine by forcing a relationship between patient and pharmacy. However, only Oregon and Mississippi have been successful in plummeting the rate of meth lab use.

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