As of the latest information Missouri is leading the nation in methamphetamine related incidents this year.

This graphic show the state-by-state breakdown of meth incidents between January 1 and July 21, 2012. (Courtesy, Missouri Highway Patrol.)

From January 1 through July 31, law enforcement in the state had reported 1,250 such incidents to the federal government out of over 7,200 in the nation, or just over 17 percent. That includes meth labs, the seizure of chemicals, equipment or glassware used for production, or sites where chemicals or equipment have been dumped.

Lieutenant John Hotz with the Highway Patrol says that is down from 1,280 for the same period last year. He says the data show Missouri is doing a better job than other states of fighting production.

“We definitely never want to be number one but that does show you that our efforts in working with local cities, counties, as well as federal agencies, as well as all the drug task forces around the state … we are being successful in finding these labs and shutting them down, and then of course subsequently getting them cleaned up so not only do we not have the effects from the meth lab itself but we don’t have the effects of the dangerous chemicals afterwards.”

This graphic shows the county-by-county breakdown of meth-related incidents in the state between 01-01 and 07-31-2012. (Courtesy, Missouri Highway Patrol)

Some local governments have passed laws requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine products, a key methamphetamine ingredient. Hotz says the numbers seem to show the number of incidents in those areas starting to decline. Other law enforcement officers and agencies have pushed state lawmakers to enact such a requirement statewide.

Hotz says these numbers don’t mean that Missouri is leading the nation in methamphetamine production. “You don’t really see the huge labs making huge quantities of meth here. You see the much smaller labs. The one pot, or shake-and-bake method which is basically producing a much smaller amount of meth.”

Hotz encourages Missourians to report any suspected meth production operations using the Patrol’s toll-free hotline, (888) 823-6384. “Let us check it out. We don’t recommend that people try to go into the area themselves because of the danger of the volatile chemicals that might be in there.”