Governor Perry Visits East Texas Store

A visit by the Governor to an East Texas grocery store.

Governor Rick Perry was at Brookshire's in South Tyler to launch a program to fight the growing problem of methamphetamine.

It's called Meth Watch, and the Governor has given 26 East Texas counties a total of $50,000 in grant money to make it happen. Under the program, stores keep track of the purchase of products used to make meth.

"When this community says, we understand we got a problem here, we may not know who you are, but we're going to be watching for you, they're going to go somewhere else," Governor Perry said of people who buy meth ingredients.

The Governor went through Brookshire's and tagged items commonly used in meth production, such as Drano, lithium batteries, and over-the-counter medicines, like Sudafed. However, there's no way to prevent people from buying those ingredients to make meth, according to local law enforcement.

"In my opinion, there's not, unless you make a law -- a state law or a federal law, where it has to be like the spray paint now, where you have to put it behind the counter, and you can only buy a certain amount or be a certain age in order to buy it," Constable Frank Creath, of Precinct 2 in Smith County, said.

Under the Meth Watch program, retailers are trained to identify suspicious customers, who buy large amounts of meth ingredients. Teachers will also be trained in identifying students who have been exposed to toxic chemicals used to make meth.

Of the 700 meth labs seized in Texas last year, the DPS says nearly 100 of them were in East Texas.

Julie Tam, reporting.