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W.Va. meth lab busts drop by 40 percent

Charleston Gazette graph by Tye Ward
Charleston Gazette graph by Tye Ward

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Methamphetamine lab busts in West Virginia have dropped 40 percent this year, according to the latest count released Tuesday by State Police.

West Virginia law enforcement officers seized 290 of the clandestine labs through the end of November, down from 500 labs found by this time last year.

The meth lab decrease is greater than previous estimates, and mirrors a significant drop in sales of cold medications containing pseudoephedrine, a key meth-making ingredient sold under brand names such as Sudafed and Claritin-D.

“It’s got to be helping every neighborhood and every small town in West Virginia,” said U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia.

Earlier this year, Manchin persuaded CVS, Walgreens and Kmart to tighten restrictions on pseudoephedrine sales, after state lawmakers rejected a bill that aimed to curb illegal meth production by requiring people to get a prescription for the cold and allergy medicine. Rite Aid and Fruth Pharmacy also took steps to restrict sales in 2013…

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