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W.Va. meth lab seizures down significantly

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Methamphetamine lab seizures are falling fast in West Virginia.

Law enforcement has reported 123 meth lab busts so far this year, down 20 percent compared to the first six months of last year — and a 66 percent drop since 2013.

The meth lab decrease seems to mirror a sharp decline in sales of cold and allergy medications containing pseudoephedrine, a key meth-making ingredient sold under brand names such as Sudafed and Claritin-D.

West Virginia authorities are on pace this year to seize the fewest number of meth labs since 2012.

“The continued decline of meth lab seizures in West Virginia shows that we can make a difference and stem the tide of meth abuse and production,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who last year persuaded CVS, Walgreens and Kmart to tighten restrictions on pseudoephedrine sales.

Meth lab busts peaked at 531 in 2013, before dropping to 313 labs last year, according to the West Virginia State Police.

Over the past two years, most retail pharmacies in West Virginia have stopped selling popular medications such as Sudafed 24 Hour, which have pseudoephedrine as their only active ingredient. Rite Aid and Fruth Pharmacy were the first retailers to restrict sales…

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