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Meth makers find new methods

Lawton_Police say meth cooks and addicts have found loopholes in an Oklahoma law that was created to cut down on the drug's production. In 2004, Oklahoma was the first state to ban over-the-counter sales of everyday cold and allergy medications -- often used to make the drug. Since then, meth lab seizures have fallen 90% but are still a big problem. Police say meth cookers will stay in business as long as there is a demand for the deadly drug.

  In 2008, Lawton police seized 29 meth labs, 2 of them just last week. Police recovered things like batteries, starter fluid, and cough syrup. "These narcotic offenders, these methamphetamine offenders they are always a step ahead of us," said LPD Detective Scott Warren.

   Warren says meth cooks are desperate, especially after an Oklahoma law went into effect in 2004 that limited the sale of cold and allergy medications. Warren says now meth cooks are getting creative in order to get their ingredients.

"Either going down across the border into to Texas or what we call smurfing -- where they all get their allotted amount, which is nine grams a month, and they pool it together."

   Recently police are seeing something else. "We find out we have products on the shelf that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine that they can obtain that product." This is a process police call ‘shake-n-bake'. Meth cooks shake these products with other chemicals for nearly an hour to extract the pseudoephedrine. It's a process that police say is like shaking a bomb, but meth cookers or addicts don't care about the danger. "It's the addiction that has caused their frame of mind to not care or not to understand the consequences or the danger of someone being subjected to the drug or the manufacturing part of it," said Warren.

  Warren says meth manufacturers are subjecting themselves to danger all for very little. "Most of the offenders that we see aren't doing it for profit they're doing it for a personal quantity." In addition to subjecting themselves to a potential bomb, Warren says if that doesn't kill them, meth will. "It eats you up alive, it eats you up inside you can actually see in the offenders that we deal with they go from looking normal to they lose weight, they lose their teeth and hair."  Police also say there is no profile for a meth addict -- they can very in age and background.

  If you would like to learn more about meth addiction or how to overcome it, be sure to tune in to the half-hour documentary "Crystal Darkness" airing January 13, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. on your 7NEWS station.

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