SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — A troubling drug trend is hitting Tennessee.
For the first time in a decade the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said its crime lab is testing more methamphetamine samples than marijuana.
The District Attorney’s office said meth is more of a rural problem, but its available everywhere.
And because of its geographical location, interstates and highways make for easy transporting, officials said Shelby County is in a perfect location for illegal drugs to pass through.
In 2010, the statewide crime labs tested more than nine thousand marijuana samples compared to almost two thousand meth submissions
A decade later, those numbers are shifting.
Last year, the TBI tested almost ten thousand marijuana submissions and the number of meth submissions jumped to more than 12 thousand
“I think there are more cases being made, sentences have gotten tougher, the law has gotten tougher to respond to this trafficking and we’re doing everything we can to hold those offenders accountable,” said Amy Weirich, Shelby County District Attorney General
TBI said the number of meth labs have dropped significantly over the last decade too, going from more than 2000 back in 2010 to only 44 last year
Weirich said this represents an increase in meth imported from other counties into the community.
“Part of why Fred Smith put FedEx here because of where we are geographically. That also makes us an area where a lot of illegal drugs come through… they come from the west to the east, they come from the south to the north and they have to come through West Tennessee,” Weirich said.
She said her office and the West Tennessee drug task force are focused on getting drug dealers off the street and getting help for drug addicts.
“For those people who want to traffic, sell and prey upon those who are addicted there’s another way to handle them and what we seek for them is lengthy prison sentences so less victims can fall prey to that addiction,” said Weirich.
TBI’s drug offender registry showed there are 1004 people convicted for meth in Shelby County alone.
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