COLUMBIA, Mo. - Meth use is on the rise in Missouri, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. However, state officials said the use of meth labs are down. According to Highway Patrol data, meth labs have dropped by nearly 97 percent in more than a decade, but meth arrests are still up.
Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism said in rural Missouri, meth is their most used drug.
"Just this year, we are on pace to make 83 percent more arrests than we did last year," Chism said.
However, the increase in number might not just be due to use. Chism said his office has increased patrol.
Boone County Sheriff's Detective Tom O'Sullivan said meth is his office's number one problem too and that Mexican drug cartels are to blame.
"These Mexican drug cartels are saturating, not only Missouri, but throughout the United States with Methamphetamine," O'Sullivan said.
Chism said there are more restrictions on purchasing meth ingredients.
"The state legislation has been attentive to law enforcement and subsequently has passed some pseudoephedrine laws," Chism said.
Which he said makes it even harder to make the drug.
"When a meth user figures out they can buy a bag of dope for $20 instead of spending $40 making it, they are going to buy it," Chism said.
Chism also said oftentimes these arrests are made on the roads after suspicious activity or a traffic violation, leading deputies to search and find methamphetamine.
"We're going to keep making these meth arrests out in the county," Chism said. "We're not going to stop anytime soon, we're just going to charge harder."