Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Meth showing a comeback in 2009

Meth showing a comeback in '09


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From the same people who brought words like pseudoephederine and meth-cookin' into the public's vocabulary, comes a new term: smurfing.

"Smurfing" describes the process used by methamphetamine manufacturers as they try and bypass laws that restrict the amount of pseudoephederine products they can purchase at one time.

Pseudoephederine is an ingredient used in the production of methamphetamine.

"Five or six people get together and go from one store to another to another, with each one purchasing the legal limit at each location," said Tom McNamara, Southern Illinois Enforcement Group's special projects coordinator. "They'll cover a large area, as far as 150 miles away."

"Smurfing" was one of the hot topics under discussion at the Southern Illinois Methamphetamine and Other Drugs Conference Tuesday at John. A. Logan College.

Now in its sixth year, the annual conference gathers together those people who deal most intimately with the effects of the drug war - like law enforcement officers, drug treatment specialists, educators, medical professionals, social service workers and child advocates, according to Michelle Hamilton, chairwoman of the Williamson County Coalition Against Methamphetamine Abuse.

When the conference first began, its focus was on the then-explosive growth of methamphetamine use in the region. While new laws helped put the damper on its manufacture for several years, the drug is showing a comeback this year, McNamara said.

"We had our lowest number of labs (seized) in 2008, but we're seeing a resurgence in 2009. We're finding more labs now than at any time last year," he said.

The conference also addresses other illicit substances, Hamilton said, such as prescription drug abuse, which is on the rise in Southern Illinois.

The 500 conference participants also learned about the latest trends, treatments and tactics used in fighting drug abuse during breakout sessions led by experts in the field.

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