Law enforcement officers reported no methamphetamine lab busts in 2006 in Douglas County - the first time in at least the past five years.
The decline is part of a statewide trend.
Kansas Bureau of Investigation statistics released this week show that seizures of methamphetamine labs, supplies and equipment were down across the board in 2006.
The decline came even after a new state law requiring counties to report meth lab seizures took effect last year.
"I think we're actually getting better at reporting than we were before," said Kyle Smith, KBI deputy director.
KBI Director Larry Welch credited the decline to a state law, passed in 2005 and named for Matt Samuels, a Greenwood County sheriff killed in a raid on a meth lab. The law places restrictions on the sale of over-the-counter cold and allergy remedies that can be used to make meth.
According to KBI statistics, there were 168 meth-related seizures statewide in 2006, down from 390 the year before. The highest amount was in 2001, with 860 seizures.
"We're not turning somersaults over the fact that there were 168 meth labs in Kansas," Welch said. "That's still too many. But it's a heck of a lot better than it was."
Last year's figure represented 48 operational labs, 76 dump sites and 44 seizures of meth-making chemicals and equipment.
The total in Douglas County peaked in 2002, records show, when law enforcement agencies reported 13 equipment, dump site and lab busts. Last year, only one such seizure was reported in the county.
There were 634 meth-related seizures in 2004, the last year before the passage of the Sheriff Matt Samuels Chemical Control Act. Samuels was shot to death Jan. 19, 2005, while serving a warrant on a rural Greenwood County home that, unbeknownst to the sheriff, contained a meth lab.
The law bearing his name restricts the sale of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, placing medications containing them behind pharmacy counters rather than on store shelves. Buyers also must register and provide identification and may not buy large quantities of the nonprescription medications.
Lt. Kari Wempe, a Douglas County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, said it hurt to see another Kansas sheriff get killed in a meth lab raid, but at least the law that bears his name has had a positive effect.
"It looks like the legislation has helped," Wempe said.
Now, Smith said law enforcement agencies have shifted their focus to more traditional drug investigation tactics, including questioning street-level suppliers and trying to trace drugs to their source.
But even with meth production apparently down, Smith said the street price of meth hasn't declined, in part because of an influx of "Mexican Meth," a yellow, potent variety of the drug.
- The Associated Press contributed to this story.