FRANKLIN COUNTY, Mo. (KSDK) - The next battle in the fight against meth has reached Missouri.
While meth lab busts are down across the state, narcotics officers in Franklin County say they're seeing more and more meth from Mexico. And it's putting officers in a terribly dangerous position.
"We've spent over a decade fighting meth labs in the state of Missouri. And to fight meth labs you have to have four to five officers on the scene," said Detective Sergeant Jason Grellner, commander of the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit. Grellner says that alone stretches resources pretty thin.
But domestic meth is only one side of the fight.
Over the last year, meth lab busts across the state are down by 25 percent. In 2013, Jefferson County saw 123 fewer busts than in 2012, St. Louis County saw 56 fewer and Franklin County saw 34 fewer.
It's great news, but Grellner says it's opening the door for a new brand of the drug.
"As these declines happen what we're seeing is an influx of Mexican made meth, because we're still dealing with addicts," he said.
Mexican meth is more expensive and takes more work to make than the homemade drug. And its appearance is putting officers in a tight spot.
"We're continuing to respond to the emergencies with our meth labs while trying to balance that against using officers in an undercover capacity to work buys, to work confidential informants in the world of Mexican made meth," Grellner said.
Narcotics officers pushing for more laws to make medicines with pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in meth, available by prescription only. Jefferson, Franklin and St. Charles counties have already adopted those laws. A number of municipalities in St. Louis County have done the same.
Grellner says the numbers prove those laws are directly responsible for the drop in domestic meth.
"When you control pseudoephedrine you control meth labs," he said.
Joy Krieger of the St. Louis office of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation is one of the key opponents to prescription-only pseudoephedrine laws. She's pushing Missouri Senate Bill 625 that would limit the amount of the medicine you can buy over the counter.