Nationwide system cuts down on Oklahoma meth labs

Nationwide system cuts down on Oklahoma meth labs

LAWTON, Okla._Meth has been a drug that has plagued Oklahoma for years, but a survey released Wednesday shows the number of meth labs has dropped by 79 percent since 2012.

Legislators and law enforcement agencies are praising a system called NPLEx, which stops the mass sale in pharmacies of pseudoephedrine, a common meth ingredient. Just this year alone, NPLEx has prevented the sale of nearly 24,000 boxes of Sudafed.

If you want to buy Sudafed, you've probably been asked for your ID. It's not to see how old you are, but to put you into a database that all pharmacies are connected to that will instantly show you've purchased it. It keeps people from not only going down the street to buy it, but also across state lines.

Gary Woodson at Anderson Pharmacy says NPLEx has been a system the pharmacy has used for about eight years.

"I know we don't sell as near as much pseudoephedrine as we used to," Woodson said.

Woodson believes it's just a way they can do their part.

"I feel like since we don't sell as much being made. If we do sell it, we feel confident in what it is used for," Woodson said.

Though NPLEx has reduced the amount of meth labs in Oklahoma, OBN says the usage is still the same. Since manufacturing is down, they are saying they're able to focus on outside sources.

"Unfortunately, meth use is still an epidemic in Oklahoma. When people are not cooking it, a lot of them have switched to buying it from Mexico. Mexican ice," explained Mark Woodward of OBN,

Woodward says in the past, his agents, along with other officers, were glorified trash men cleaning up the waste from left over meth labs. Now, they can clean up the drug cartel.

"Law enforcement resources are now freed up to focus on these organizations that are bringing large quantities of crystal meth in from Mexico," said Woodward.

For Woodson, seeing something he and other pharmacies are doing is making a difference is something he's proud of.

"That's a good thing. As everyone has seen, meth destroys lives. If we can keep it off the street, I think that everyone can benefit from that," said Woodson.

Woodson says not only do they go off of the NPLEx system to restrict the sale of Sudafed, but usually only sell it to those they know are regular customers.