Region 8 Meth Summit - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR -- Melissa Simas reports

Region 8 Meth Summit

September 30, 2004 -- Posted 5:00 p.m. CDT

Jonesboro, AR -- Some Region 8 officials are cooking up a plan to get rid of meth in your community .

At the annual Regional Methamphetamine Summit on Tuesday in Jonesboro, law enforcement and elected officials learned more about the serious nature of this drug. Newly released statistics show that in the past year a little over 1200 meth labs were broken up in the state of Arkansas.

"There's no doubt that it is the number one problem that not only law enforcement faces, but that the community faces," said Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce.

Boyce says meth use can also result in bigger problems with the law. He cites Billy Green's conviction in the Elliot family murder case as an example.

"One person's drug problem in this case can wipe out a whole family," said Boyce.

While Boyce may deal with drug users when they're caught, people like Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCann and his men put themselves in harm's way to clean up cooks all the time.

"One of the deputies just opened up a garbage bag just to see what was in it and the fumes hit him in the face and he was off work for 2 days," said McCann. "If you get a lot of it, it can kill you."

When trained officials are called out to clean up a meth lab, they must first contact the Drug Enforcement Administration in Little Rock. They then contract a clean-up crew to dismantle the lab site.

"There's a lot of chemicals, acid bases, and the bottom line is literally they need to get rid of all of that," said D.E.A. special agent Keith Warzecha.

Officials caution that some residue does remain in the meth lab especially if drug users have been cooking for a while. They say it's then up to the property owner to get their facility up to health standards.

"The solids as they actually sink can get into the carpet as well and can easily be picked up by children if they're crawling on the carpet," said Warzecha.

So before you inhale dangerous fumes, or a meth lab explosion like this happens in your backyard, officials say use your senses wisely and contact law enforcement.

"Paranoid behavior, constantly looking out the window, going outside to smoke, hand delivering the garbage to the garbage man, some people say it actually smells like cat urine," said Warzecha.

Just some simple things to look out for when your health is on the line as well.

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