Topeka — Authorities said Wednesday that the number of methamphetamine labs in Kansas has fallen drastically, but that has led to a hefty increase in imported meth.
"Unfortunately, when we have success in reducing the manufacturing of methamphetamine in our state, the demand is filled by importation, particularly from Mexico," said U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Hays.
Moran and officials from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation held a news conference to announce a proposal before Congress that would provide $150,000 to stop imported meth, and $75,000 to purchase new bullet-proof vests for KBI agents. The funding has been approved by the House and will be considered by the Senate.
A total of 46 meth labs have been shut down this year in Kansas, authorities said, which is much lower than previous years. In 2001, 847 labs were seized.
Last year - for the first time in at least five years - Douglas County authorities reported no meth-lab busts.
Homegrown manufacturing has been reduced because of a 2005 law that placed restrictions on cold and allergy medicines that are key ingredients in meth.
But Kyle Smith, deputy director for the KBI, said just as much meth remains on the streets, with imported meth filling the demand.
"We now need to attack the importation," he said.
The interdiction funding would go toward local authorities to pay for equipment and overtime.
"The meth problem is far from being solved," Moran said. "Methamphetamine is a fact of life in Kansas that often destroys communities, including many rural communities that I represent."
In addition to extra law enforcement, Moran said education programs about the danger of methamphetamine and treatment for addicts are key to stemming the problem.