A recent find in a Memphis home is one scenario that is becoming all too common across the country. Police officers found an active meth lab cooking underneath the mattress of a two year-old girl. Investigators said they could smell the chemicals wafting through an open window, while the child was asleep inside.
Because the production of methamphetamine - can be smoked, snorted or injected - is cheap and easy, and the numbers of people who have become addicted have reached almost epidemic proportions. Many of the ingredients used in manufacturing are available at any retail or hardware store. Members of law enforcement say this drug has the ability to impact communities more intensely than other illegal drugs have.
The manufacturing process involves dangerous chemicals and substances like ether, acetone, iodine crystal, sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide, among others. And every pound of meth produced can yield up to 5 pounds in toxic waste, according to DEA estimates.
In 2011, 10,287 meth labs were seized across the country. Children are found in about seventy percent of homes where labs have been seized. Most of these children, if tested, would likely test positive for methamphetamine. The vapors from cooking the chemicals end up everywhere – counter tops, carpets, food, clothes and toys. Children breath the vapors in and ingest them.
Labs are found in rural, urban and suburban areas. They are found in parking lots, in cars, in parks and even in the retail stores where the ingredients were purchased. With more and more meth labs becoming so prevalent, experts recommend everyone recognizing the signs that someone could be producing the drug in their neighborhood. Some of the signs to look for include:
- Unusual and strong odors.
- Large numbers of chemical containers near the property.
- Windows blacked out or covered with blankets, sheets, etc.
- Large number of bottles or containers used for secondary purposes.
- Little or no traffic during the day, but lots of traffic at late hours.
Emergency Film Group’s Response to Illicit Drug Labs DVD is response training for emergency personnel who may encounter a clandestine drug lab during routine calls, or who may be involved in taking down a lab. It’s an ideal resource for law enforcement, hazmat teams, EMS, and other emergency personnel. To learn more, read here. . .