Brian Kelly (@brpkelly)

UNION, Mo. (KMOX) – After spending years atop the national methamphetamine lab rankings, Missouri is about to fall out of the top 10. But, according to the president of the Missouri Narcotics Officers’ Association, it’s not all good news.

Jason Grellner says one big reason for the decline is the growing number of communities that are making it more difficult to get the drug’s main ingredient.

“Nearly 80 cities and counties around the state of Missouri now require a prescription for pseudoephedrine. That caused a major drop in labs, and you continue to see those drops.”

However, another reason fewer people are making meth is because they’re buying it on the streets.

“There’s an influx in Mexican-made methamphetamine coming into the Kansas City, Kansas/Kansas City, Missouri area that then is flooding across the state,” he says. “It is an extremely pure form of methamphetamine, like we used to make. It’s extremely cheap at the current time, I’m afraid.”

Grellner says other would-be meth users are turning to opioids – which he says have seen a 600 percent increase in use nationwide – or marijuana that’s coming from states where the drug has been legalized in some form.

“What we’re seeing is not the marijuana of even 10 or 15 years ago,” he says. “We’re seeing marijuana with THC content anywhere from 30 to 90 percent.”

The numbers bear out the shift. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, meth labs peaked in the state in 2011 with 2,114 incidents. Through July of this year, there have been 145. In 2012, Jefferson County led the state with 346 incidents. This year, so far, it leads the state with 29.

Grellner says most of the meth labs they are still busting are the “one-pot” variety. “Very small quantities being made,” he says. “Usually less than 10 grams are being made in these bottles. Then again, these are still very explosive, extremely flammable labs.”

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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