Officers fighting TN meth say new laws not working - WSMV Channel 4

Officers fighting TN meth say new laws not working

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DICKSON, TN (WSMV) -

It's a story that raises the question of who to believe. State lawmakers say their new anti-meth law is having a huge impact in Tennessee, but the people who are fighting meth every day say that is just not true.

Det. Michael Pate, with the 23rd Judicial District Drug Task Force, is one of the biggest meth party crashers in the state. Last year, he made 121 meth cases across the 23rd District.

And earlier this week, when lawmakers released a press release saying the battle has shifted, Pate was busting the 200th meth lab in the state for 2012.

When he reads that 4,993 illegal boxes of pseudoephedrine have been blocked this year, Pate thinks of the three boxes all of those people legally bought before they were blocked on their fourth purchase.

"If you stopped 5,000, that means those people have exceeded their purchases, they've hit their limit and can't buy any more. So the real question is where did those three boxes go that we did sell to them," he said.

The state also mentions 13,000 grams of pseudoephedrine were kept off Tennessee streets. Pate says that as much as 340,000 grams have been so far this year.

"That's the story to us. That's our take on it," he said.

The Dickson Police Department, the Dickson County Sheriff's Office and the 23rd Judicial task force will all say that meth is taking up half of their time, and the problem is not getting any better.

The records of just one week of pseudoephedrine purchases at just one drug store in Dickson spans several pages, and it's not even allergy season.

"On each page, I can pick out a name where the person has a prior meth felony, and there's the problem," Pate said.

The lawmen appreciate the lawmakers trying to make their jobs easier, but what really needs to be done is something nobody really wants to talk about. They think pseudoephedrine should be made a prescription drug again.

"I know it's a touchy issue, but when you're just talking percentages, I think it's worth the risk," Pate said.

One state, Oregon, has made pseudoephedrine a prescription drug. And in one year, Oregon went from 2,400 meth labs to 27 meth labs.

Officers say it would be a big step, but that step is not being discussed at the capitol.

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