US

Meth lab seizures decline in US as users increasingly turn to cheaper Mexican-made drug

  • FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2010 file photo, Franklin County Detective Jason Grellner, center, sorts through evidence with Detective Darryl Balleydier, left, and reserve Officer Mark Holguin during a raid of a suspected meth house in Gerald, Mo. The nation's Heartland is ridding itself of the scourge of homemade methamphetamine, with lab seizures down by nearly half in many high-meth states. Any celebration is muted: Meth use remains high, but people are increasingly turning to cheaper, imported Mexican meth rather than making their own. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2010 file photo, Franklin County Detective Jason Grellner, center, sorts through evidence with Detective Darryl Balleydier, left, and reserve Officer Mark Holguin during a raid of a suspected meth house in Gerald, Mo. The nation's Heartland is ridding itself of the scourge of homemade methamphetamine, with lab seizures down by nearly half in many high-meth states. Any celebration is muted: Meth use remains high, but people are increasingly turning to cheaper, imported Mexican meth rather than making their own. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 23, 2010 file photo, St. Louis County police Officer Clayton Fair, left, arrests a man during a crackdown on illegal purchases of over-the-counter cold medications in Fenton, Mo. The nation's Heartland is ridding itself of the scourge of homemade methamphetamine, with lab seizures down by nearly half in many high-meth states. Any celebration is muted: Meth use remains high, but people are increasingly turning to cheaper, imported Mexican meth rather than making their own. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 23, 2010 file photo, St. Louis County police Officer Clayton Fair, left, arrests a man during a crackdown on illegal purchases of over-the-counter cold medications in Fenton, Mo. The nation's Heartland is ridding itself of the scourge of homemade methamphetamine, with lab seizures down by nearly half in many high-meth states. Any celebration is muted: Meth use remains high, but people are increasingly turning to cheaper, imported Mexican meth rather than making their own. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2010 file photo a Franklin County police officer counts pills containing pseudoephedrine during a raid of a suspected meth house in Gerald, Mo. The nation's Heartland is ridding itself of the scourge of homemade methamphetamine, with lab seizures down by nearly half in many high-meth states. Any celebration is muted: Meth use remains high, but people are increasingly turning to cheaper, imported Mexican meth rather than making their own.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2010 file photo a Franklin County police officer counts pills containing pseudoephedrine during a raid of a suspected meth house in Gerald, Mo. The nation's Heartland is ridding itself of the scourge of homemade methamphetamine, with lab seizures down by nearly half in many high-meth states. Any celebration is muted: Meth use remains high, but people are increasingly turning to cheaper, imported Mexican meth rather than making their own.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)  (The Associated Press)

Seizures of homemade methamphetamine labs are down by nearly half in many high-use meth states.

But use of the drug remains high, because of imported Mexican meth.

Data compiled by The Associated Press shows that meth lab busts are down 40 percent this year in Tennessee, 34 percent in Missouri and nearly 50 percent in Oklahoma.

Enforcement actions and tougher laws are partly responsible, but experts say meth made by Mexican cartels has become so cheap and pure that it is finally supplanting meth made in home labs or inside cars.

The cartel's reach has even expanded to in small towns and rural areas.