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2005 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 10, No. 2
April 2005

North Carolina's Response to Meth

Our state has responded to the spread of methamphetamine by taking a number of steps, including the following.

Obtaining Federal Funds. North Carolina received a grant through the federal Drug Endangered Child program; Watauga, Johnston, Ashe, and Harnett counties received a total of $312,000 to fund meth-response efforts.

Meth Summit. Attorney General Roy Cooper convened a group of experts in October 2003 to develop a comprehensive strategy to fight meth. The summit’s final report is available at <>.

New Laws and Funding. Several new laws to fight meth were proposed and passed in 2004 (Eisley, 2004):

  • Penalties for making meth increased greatly, from likely probation to a mandatory five to 17 years behind bars
  • Additional penalties for making meth in the presence of children, or if someone is injured while seizing the lab
  • If someone consumes meth you made and dies of overdose, you can now be charged with murder
  • Possessing ingredients in quantities sufficient to make meth can be punished with up to five years in prison, if prosecutors can prove intent to manufacture meth
  • Funding for additional SBI mobile clandestine lab response units
  • Funding for CPS policy development and training. The new policy is online at <>. Meth training will be offered 20 times in spring 2005.

Limiting Precursors. California, which has a long history fighting meth, found that legally restricting the sale of chemical precursors needed to manufacture meth is one of the most effective ways of combating the drug’s spread. After that state enacted laws restricting the sale of key ingredients such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, lab busts were cut in half, from 2,090 in 1999 to 1,130 in 2002 (Gregory & Lacour, 2004). In North Carolina, Attorney General Cooper hopes we can achieve the same results by asking retailers to apply restrictions voluntarily. Currently many retail chains voluntarily restrict sales of products containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine (Gregory & Lacour, 2004).

Cooper told the Charlotte Observer in 2004 that we will know soon enough whether this voluntary approach works. If it doesn’t, the state could seek a legislative solution (Gregory & Lacour, 2004).

One example of a community effort to get retailers to limit the sales of precursors is happening in Rowan County, where they have formed the “Rowan County Meth Watch.” Visit the group’s website at <>.

References for this and other articles in this issue