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Utah Meth Lab Busts Down But Health Department Angst Up

Utah Department of Health
Methamphetamine Lab incidents 2004 to 2014

Methamphetamine lab busts are on the decline in Utah down from 107 in 2004 to 1 in 2014.  But concerns at the Utah Department of Health are rising.

Sam LeFevre is the manager of the epidemiology program at the department. He says more super labs in Mexico and Central America are cooking meth and getting it into the U.S.

“The other factor is that the manufacturing of meth has moved from kitchen and kitchenette style laboratories,” says LeFevre, “to the 'shake and bake' style where the whole thing is done in a 2-liter pop bottle.”

LeFevre says there’s also competition among drug users with synthetic opioid drug called fentanyl, which can be up to 100 times more powerful than meth. He says that drug is also being manufactured in Utah homes causing environmental hazards just like meth.

“It’s going to be both organic compounds and then caustic compounds so we’ll see those kinds of contaminants in homes.”

LeFevre says health experts are still assessing the kinds of compounds that may contaminate homes. He says the health department is working with the Utah Poison Control Center to guide health care providers who may get patients with question about low-level environmental exposure to meth. 

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