TBI: Meth surpasses marijuana as most-submitted drug to crime labs in 2019


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has reported that methamphetamine beat out marijuana in the number of crime lab submissions in 2019.

According to a release from the TBI, their laboratories in Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis received a total of 9,795 submissions of marijuana in 2019.

In 2018, there were 10,652 marijuana submissions to TBI crime labs.

In comparison, there were 12,072 meth submissions in 2019.

TBI noted that just a few years prior in 2015, meth submissions only totaled 3,748.

“Drug addiction continues to be a major issue in Tennessee, and I believe this sharp increase in methamphetamine has a connection to our state’s ongoing opioid epidemic,” said TBI Director David Rausch. “Drug abusers often flow from depressants to stimulants and back again. As more people struggle with opioid addiction many of them will – with time – seek out stimulants like methamphetamine. Unfortunately, those who run drug operations, often based outside the United States, know there’s an increased demand here. Alongside our local, state, and federal partners, we’ll keep doing what we can to dismantle these operations, but we’d also urge anyone struggling with drug problems to get help before addiction costs you your life.”

The release said that the number of submissions has continued to rise, despite the decline in the number of meth labs in the state. The TBI believes this indicates an influx of imported methamphetamine.

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