Madigan: Small Scale Meth Production in Illinois needs solution

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Attorney General Lisa Madigan met today with downstate law enforcement authorities and local and state officials to discuss new ways to combat an emerging trend in the production of methamphetamine in downstate Illinois.

The Attorney General called today’s meeting to address an increasing number of small-scale meth labs being discovered by authorities. Madigan said despite great successes in combating major meth producers in Illinois, meth cooks have turned to so-called “shake ‘n bake” methods to produce smaller amounts of the drug. They use a one- or two-liter empty, plastic bottle to mix legal amounts of pseudoephedrine and the drug’s other ingredients to make a small batch of methamphetamine.

“Meth cooks are increasingly turning to the ‘one-pot’ method,” Attorney General Madigan said. “This small-scale drug production allows users to side-step laws we previously put in place to regulate the sale of pseudoephedrine, a key meth ingredient. Today, I met with downstate authorities and officials to crackdown on this new and dangerous form of meth production in Illinois.”

Madigan convened today’s meeting at John A. Logan College in Carterville with state Reps. John Bradley and Brandon Phelps, sheriffs from Franklin, Hamilton, Jackson, Johnson, Pope, Saline, Union and Williamson counties, and officials from the Illinois Sheriff’s Association, the Illinois State Police, the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

Attorney General Madigan said one-pot meth production in downstate Illinois has grown since the implementation of the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act, which Madigan worked to enact in 2006. The law restricts consumers from buying more than two packages of products containing pseudoephedrine in a single transaction or products containing more than 7,500 milligrams of pseudophedrine in a 30-day period, and requires customers to provide photo identification and sign a purchasing log maintained by pharmacies. Those restrictions led to a 52 percent drop in the number of meth labs reported, from 761 in 2006 to 362 in 2007.

However, the Attorney General said, drug users have adapted and turned to small-scale meth production, using lawful amounts of pseudoephedrine to make between three to seven grams of the drug. Madigan said one-pot meth making poses particular dangers for law enforcement authorities because the production is easily concealed and often is mobile. Reports show users make the drug in the backs of cars or beds of pick-up trucks.

“One-pot meth production is just as toxic and dangerous as traditional meth labs,” Madigan said. “Throughout my tenure as Attorney General, I have made it my mission to combat meth abuse and production. I will continue to work with authorities and lawmakers to identify and discuss new ways to continue our shared commitment to eradicate meth use.”

Since taking office in 2003, Attorney General Madigan has been recognized as a leader in the fight against meth use and production. Madigan worked with the General Assembly to enact the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act and other laws that created meth-specific offenses for law enforcement agencies to use to arrest and prosecute offenders.

The Attorney General’s latest effort to crackdown on meth was signed into law just this week. Madigan crafted House Bill 1908 together with Rep. John Bradley and Sen. Bill Haine to help prevent individuals convicted of meth-related offenses from continuing to use and cook meth.

The new law requires a person who has been convicted of a meth-related offense to have a prescription to purchase or possess any product containing pseudoephedrine while on parole and probation. Offenders are also prohibited from purchasing or possessing any product containing ammonium nitrate, another key meth ingredient. The law mandates the Illinois Department of Corrections to issue a parole violation if an offender is again charged with a violation of the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act or the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act, and require IDOC to notify the Illinois State Police, local state’s attorneys and sheriffs of the pending release or discharge of any person convicted on meth charges.