Clandestine methamphetamine laboratory activity in
West Virginia, which has been very high, decreased
because of state and Federal laws regulating the sale
of precursors. Previously, methamphetamine manufac-
ture appeared to be centered in the Panhandle region
of the state, but has expanded to include other areas
of northern West Virginia as well as some clandestine
laboratory sites in the southeastern portion of the state
bordering Kentucky and Virginia. In addition, meth-
amphetamine distributors in West Virginia often share
Mexican sources of supply with distributors in Virginia's
Shenandoah Valley region.
West Virginia has the disadvantage of being close
to many of the East and Middle Atlantic's larger drug
distribution cities such as Detroit, Baltimore, Washington
D.C. and Philadelphia.
The state is not taking a hands-off stance on meth. In recent years the legislature has passed bills that:
- curtail purchase of large amounts of the chemicals necessary to cook meth
- create a meth database of offenders
- put harsher penalties on anyone cooking meth with a child present
- require disclosure of any property that has previously been used as a meth lab
In addition, the state has created a drug court in the state.
"The American criminal justice system is fueled by alcohol and drugs. A June 2003 statewide sampling indicated that more than 41% of West Virginia’s regional jail inmates reported they have abused substances," said Chief Justice Robin Jean Davis. "I’m pleased to announce programs like this that show how the court system is trying to change lives and lower recidivism."
Still, the number of drug busts and meth labs are up in 2010, the Charleston Daily Mail reported. Since the beginning of the year, authorities have uncovered more than 80 clandestine meth labs, according to Lt. Mike Goff, who heads up the State Police's drug lab task force. The majority of those, more than 60, were found in Kanawha County, Goff said told the paper. The rest were in just a few rural pockets of West Virginia, including parts of Clay, Upshur and Lincoln counties, Goff added.