Counties that ban alcohol sales have more meth lab seizures per capita, compared with counties where liquor sales are legal, a new study suggests.
The University of Louisville researchers say local alcohol bans increase the costs of obtaining alcohol.
This reduces the relative price of illicit drugs, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The findings were reported this weekend at the American Economic Association annual meeting.
The researchers analyzed data from 2004 to 2010 in Kentucky, where rules concerning alcohol sales vary by locality, and where meth lab seizures are relatively common.
They found counties that ban alcohol sales have two more lab seizures per 100,000 residents annually, compared with counties that allow alcohol sales. This suggests meth production is more common in areas where alcohol sales are outlawed, they said.
The state could reduce the number of meth lab seizures by 17 to 30 percent per year if all counties allowed alcohol sales, the researchers concluded.