America is losing the war on meth thanks to government cutbacks. Lab seizures have dropped by a third or more in the nation's top meth-producing states, according to an AP analysis.
Community Oriented Policing Services, or the COPS program, offered $19.2 million in 2010 aiding states with the $2,500 to $5,000 needed to clean-up toxic wastes left behind even in small "bake-and-shake" meth labs. Since February it has provided no money.
A Tennessee sheriff describes the 'sickening' retreat:
In Warren County, Tenn., about 70 miles southeast of Nashville, deputies had "always been very aggressive on meth," Sheriff Jackie Matheny said. By midsummer a year ago, they had busted some 70 meth labs. This year, that number tumbled to 24.
"When you have to kind of kick it into neutral, it makes you sick to your stomach because we know it's out there," Matheny said.
"We didn't have an opportunity to prepare," Matheny said. "We just got a phone call saying, 'You're not going to have funds anymore.' It just absolutely crippled us.'"
After several years in decline, meth proves to be staging a comeback with first-time users increasing to 154,000 in 2009 from 95,000 the previous year, according to a survey by the Department of Health and Human Services.