As 2013 comes to a close, state officials say Tennessee has retained its ranking as the second highest state for meth lab seizures in the country, though data indicate the problem could be improving.
The director of the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force, Tommy Farmer, says it started off as a busy year for busts, but numbers have slowed statewide, leaving him hopeful the state will fall short of original projections.
Tennessee law enforcement have responded to 1,504 meth labs to date in 2013. While that's more than this time last year, it's low enough that Farmer doubts we will reach the 2,000 lab busts originally projected.
Those numbers put Tennessee in second place; 11 lab busts behind Indiana and 401 in front of Missouri.
Farmer says the 18 Tennessee cities that have passed laws requiring prescriptions to purchase pseudoephedrine are impacting the number of labs found. Data shows those towns have seen meth-lab declines ranging from 40 to 71 percent.
Farmer says Missouri's numbers are more evidence that making pseudoephedrine controlled substance helps. Missouri has risen to number one several times in recent years but now sits at number three. Farmer says Missouri has 71 cities that have passed laws regulating the sale of that drug-- and on average meth lab busts have dropped by 70 percent.