Methamphetamine manufacture and use is a serious and growing problem in both rural and urban areas of Texas. Also known as meth, crystal meth, speed, chalk, ice, and glass, methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant closely related to amphetamine. The consequences of long-term use can include hallucinations, psychotic behavior, and stroke.
What is Meth Watch?
Meth Watch is a program sponsored by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) and is designed to help curtail the theft and suspicious sales of pseudoephedrine products, as well as other common household products used in the illicit manufacturing of methamphetamine in small, toxic labs. A key goal of this program is to promote cooperation between retailers and law enforcement to prevent the diversion of legitimate products for illegal use.
Meth Watch was started in Kansas as a public-private partnership between the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Kansas Methamphetamine Prevention Project (part of the non-profit statewide drug prevention system), and Kansas retailers. As news spread of its success, several states began to adopt the Kansas model. Many more expressed interest, but were deterred by the lack of resources and know-how.
That's where the national Meth Watch program comes in. Through Meth Watch, which is sponsored by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, retailers and law enforcement will help increase awareness about the diversion of legal products to the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine and will assist local communities in addressing the meth problem.
How Meth Watch Works
Meth Watch is a proven and replicable program that has impacted meth lab seizures, hampered small toxic lab meth production, and decreased pseudoephedrine product losses by retailers. While retail involvement is key, Meth Watch is a voluntary program that involves many people at the community and state level, including law enforcement, state and local public officials, the national guard, community activists, and drug prevention personnel.
Participating retailers place the precursor products where they can be easily monitored, and strategically post Meth Watch signs and tags on their doors and windows, around their cash registers and on the shelves where precursor products are located. They may impose purchase limits to prevent high volume sales. They train their employees to recognize, but not to confront, suspicious customers, and to contact law enforcement with as much identifying information as possible.
What's in it for retailers?
Retailers are a prime target for meth cooks who may steal or buy large quantities of precursor ingredients from their stores. Meth cooks and addicts can be dangerous and no retailer wants to be a potential source for a meth cook looking to manufacture this awful drug.
Retailers participating in the Meth Watch program report safer stores, better customer relations, increased employee awareness, and improved communications with law enforcement. Many stores have experienced a decrease in loss from theft that is directly related to their participation in Meth Watch. Meth Watch partners are helping to unite their communities against drug abuse.