The Meth Lab Capital Of America Is Missouri
The DEA has found 3,108 clandestine drug labs in Missouri since 2003. Oklahoma, Tennessee and Arkansas also have a lot of them
Missouri ranks 18th in the U.S. in population—but first in clandestine drug labs.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has compiled a state-by-state database that keeps track of the addresses of every suspected drug lab discovered in the United States since 2003. With 3,108, Missouri tops the list. These labs are used to produce several different drugs, but the most common—particularly in Missouri—is methamphetamine. People also use the labs to make crack, fetanyl and other synthetic drugs.
Not only does Missouri lead the nation in the number of drug labs, it’s also led the nation in the number of drug-lab mishaps—like explosions and fires—almost every year since 2003, according to DEA data.
Meth use in the U.S. has been increased gradually since 2010, with the most significant jump occurring between 2012 and 2013, according to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In the NIDA’s 2013 survey, 595,000 people admitted to using meth in the previous 30 days–up from 440,000 in the same period in 2012.
Other states topping the drug-lab list include Oklahoma with 2,401, Tennessee with 1,827, Arkansas with 1,369 and Kentucky with 1,168.
Of the 3,108 labs in Missouri, 475 of them were discovered in Jefferson County, population 221,000, where there were 346 meth-lab-related incidents in 2012 alone. Two other Missouri counties, Jasper and St. Charles, account for another combined 550 suspected labs.