Methamphetamine in Missouri is 'Breaking' VERY 'Bad'
Southern state leads the United States in meth-related incidents
The TV series "Breaking Bad" depicts the most unwholesome world of methamphetamine abuse. With its homemade laboratories and under-the-sink ingredients, methamphetamine, or "meth" or "crank" is decidedly not the Breakfast of Champions. Even worse is the shame felt by the southern state of Missouri, which has led the nation in numbers of meth-related incidents consistently, with the exception of 2003.
While "Breaking Bad" is fascinating to watch, the reality is something else entirely fro the residents of Missouri.
Firefighters battling a blaze from a shake-and-bake meth lab explosion Jan. 29, 2010, at a house in Union, Mo.
In spite of this, a number of U.S. states continue to make up the core for reported methamphetamine-related incidents. Missouri leads the pack. In the fiscal year 2012, Missouri's drug task forces made 9,000 arrests in 21,000 cases related to methamphetamine.
This undated photo released by the Merced County District Attorney in Merced, Calif., shows methamphetamine seized, which is estimated to be worth more than $9 million.
There are even larger issues at stake. With federal funding for Missouri's regional drug task force hitting an all-time low this year, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon set aside $3 million in next year's budget. There remains traces of uncertainty about how much funding will be available to help the state after 2014.
Missouri's meth problem has continued to roil. The influx of meth into the state started to gain traction in the mid-90s, with more meth product coming from the West Coast. The issue since that time has stayed in rural parts of Missouri that are close enough to metropolitan areas such as St. Louis and Kansas City. The rise in meth-related crimes has also bled over to neighboring states like Kentucky and Tennessee.
Bags filled with crystal meth that were seized at a clandestine methamphetamine, or crystal meth drug laboratory in July 2009.
"We've been at the forefront of the battle against meth since that time," Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Tim Hull said. "Some people feel Missouri might have a very bad meth problem, but we look at it as us being very aggressive in looking for and seizing these labs."
While "Breaking Bad" rinds to a conclusion, it's vital to understand how far the U.S. has come in cutting down meth-related cases . and how far some states need to go.
A Jefferson County Sheriff deputy is at a police scene in Desoto, Mo., in Jefferson County in September 2012.
"It continues to be an ongoing problem that we deal with in Missouri on a daily and yearly basis," Hull says, "and it's something we'll continue to do as long as it's out there."
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