The Associated Press
EUGENE, Ore.- The number of methamphetamine labs found in Oregon dropped by more than half last year, after the state imposed a registry of the over-the-counter cold remedy used to make the illegal drug.
Police busted 447 meth labs in 2004. The total for 2005 fell by 59 percent to 185 labs, said state police Lt. Mike Dingeman, who supervises a drug task force.
"The drop started immediately after that rule went into effect" in April, Dingeman said.
The registry rule requires the state's 800 pharmacies to record the identity of customers purchasing cold medications containing pseudoephedrine, which can be reformulated to produce illegal meth.
In July, Oregon will become the only state to classify pseudoephedrine as a prescription drug, forcing meth cooks to leave the state for the ingredient, Dingeman said.
If they stay out of state, the registry will have accomplished another goal: lowering the Oregon public's cost for cleaning up labs so that those resources can be devoted to enforcement and treatment, said Gary Schnabel, executive director of the Oregon Board of Pharmacy.