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Okla. meth deaths on rise even after strict drug legislation

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The number of deaths related to meth in our state is on the rise.

Back in 2008, the number was 27.

In the years since it has gone up, with the most recent record being 100 deaths in 2011.

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics officials said it's not just the number of deaths but the overall number of labs is on the rise despite state efforts to decrease the use of the drug.

Beth Gentry, a former meth addict, said, "Meth totally wipes you out of who you are."

Beth spent five years addicted to meth before finding true recovery.

"I've got 1,549 days today and every day I wake up and I write that down," she said. "I'm thankful for those days."

Though clean now, she's not surprised that so many others are finding themselves addicted despite laws in our state meant to limit the purchase of medications used to make meth.

Beth said, "Addicts are going to find a way."

OBN's Mark Woodward said, "When we put pseudoephed in the pharmacies in 2004 not only did meth labs drop by well over 95-percent, we saw a drop in deaths, a drop in fires."

Woodward said in recent years the number of working meth labs and deaths has once again started to climb, with a small decrease in 2012.

He said, "In 2008, we started to see this old recipe called the 'one-pot shake-and-bake' make its way to Oklahoma."

The number of deaths is on the rise, a number Beth could have easily been a part of.

"I begged to die and God kept me alive," she said. "Why? So, I could help people."

For Beth, those years are not something she's proud of; it's a time she missed out on precious memories with her children.

She now chooses to use her experience and her recovery to show others there is life after meth.

Beth said, "The high I have on life is much better than the hell I was in through addiction."

OBN officials said they, along with state legislators, have been working to make it harder for meth cooks to get access to the medications used to make meth.

They have tied our state's tracking system with other states to help keep track on the limits.

They have also lowered the limits on the amount we are allowed to purchase.