ABC's 'Nightline' shadows three meth busts

NEW YORK — ABC's "Nightline: Late Evening News" on Wednesday aired an exposé on Kentucky's methamphetamine problem, shadowing law enforcement as they made three arrests in a state that employs an electronic tracking system for the over-the-counter ingredient pseudoephedrine. The officers investigated sales made at Walgreens, CVS and Walmart.

However, deputy director Dan Smoot — who leads a task force in London, Ky., called Operation UNITE — advocated legislation that would make PSE a controlled substance in an effort to reduce the number of meth lab busts. According to Smoot, 70% of PSE products sold through retail pharmacy are converted to meth.

The news program noted that meth lab busts are down significantly in the two states where PSE is prescription-only — Oregon and Mississippi. However, those states do not employ an electronic tracking tool to assist law enforcement in identifying potential meth labs.

According to the National Precursor Log Exchange, an interstate electronic tracking system of PSE sales, 52 million grams in PSE sales have been tracked to date, and 1.6 million grams in PSE sales have been blocked, suggesting a much lower diversion rate for PSE.

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