Crackdown on Meth Problem

As stores move to reduce access to Sudafed on the shelves, others are trying to prevent theft in the country.

"This is the time of year the anhydrous tanks start going out in the field," says Scott Marquardt of the Iowa-Grant County Drug Task Force, "The more tanks we have out there that have product in them, the more likely the thieves are going to be interested in trying to get their hands on it."

Anhydrous ammonia is a soil fertilizer used by some farmers. But it is also a key ingredient in the making of methamphetamine.

"We've had cases where the entire tank has been stolen off the farm but there have been cases where all they've had is the anhydrous stolen out of the tanks right on site," says Marquardt.

"It is an epidemic that is spreading," says state Senator Robert Jauch.

Senators are also trying to curb the meth problem, with a proposal to ban the sale of pseudoephedrine, unless it's behind the counter.

"We've all recognized that the smartest thing to do is prevent the crime in the first place. Let us keep our eye on the ball with this bill," says Jauch.

That's because it's cheap, easy to make, and very dangerous.

State Senator Sheila Harsdorf says, "This is a drug that is unlike any drug we've seen before, it's unique in the sense of you can become addicted by using it a single time."

While the problem is worse in neighboring states, officials say it's already crossed our borders.

"We're dealing with the spill over from Dubuque as well as our own residents that are starting to get into manufacturing the drug themselves," says Marquardt.

If you're a farmer and us anhydrous, officials say to prevent theft, keep the tanks in well lit areas and lock them up, even if it's just a tie-off strap around the valve.

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