LEXINGTON COUNTY (WACH) -- A decade after meth was introduced in South Carolina, the problem persists with newer more discrete methods of making methamphetamine.
Lexington County Sheriff James Metts calls one method that's been popular since a couple years ago, "shake-and-bake cooking." Meth is manufactured in smaller quantities inside 16 oz. plastic bottles, making it easier to transport and hide.
Metts says his narcotics team shot down about 61 meth labs last year, but with a constantly changing recipe, the number of meth cases continues to go up.
"It's up for a number of reasons," says Metts. "I think, one, the cooking method is changed...to now what's called a shake-and-bake...method which now uses little small plastic bottles and they put the chemicals together using pseudoephedrine."
Because pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient in meth, Metts says he's hoping for legislation that would restrict its sale by requiring those who purchase pseudoephedrine to have a prescription.
"Several states have already taken that action to require it as a prescription, and they've seen the number of meth labs and meth cooks go way down in those states, and I believe it would help us tremendously in South Carolina," says Metts.
Currently in South Carolina, you are required to show a photo ID to buy products containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. An electronic monitoring system then tracks your purchase. That way, law enforcement can keep an eye on how much of the products someone is buying.
Cosette Hardee, director of the detoxification unit at LRADAC, says she doesn't see a new prescription requirement law helping any more than what's already in place.
"If all access to pseudoephedrine was taken away, you'd have a bunch of crystal meth addicts getting online and ordering it from [there]. People do what they have to do to get where they want to be."
The Lexington County Sheriff's Dept. is constantly taking tips from the community about where meth operations occur. Sheriff Metts says you can help tackle the problem by anonymously calling CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.