By Ron Lee
Meth use is a plague sweeping across our country infecting everyone it comes in contact with. However, the victims of this pestilence aren’t the users alone. They are the children of addicts who often end up as wards of the state, or worse, brain damaged by the chemicals with no hope of a full and meaningful life. They are the loving families meth users leave behind when they finally fry their brains and whittle away to nothingness. They are the property owners who have mistakenly rented their property to an individual who thrashes their home and land in order to cook-up a batch of poison. And, they are the next-door neighbors to these “clandestine” meth labs, who get broken into and then threatened, stolen from and oftentimes in the process, assaulted.
These victims are the ones who live with a stench of cat urine lofting into their windows when their neighbors are cooking. Unfortunately in many cases, neighbors to meth labs stay silent in fear of retaliation. Fear that one day this tweeker next door will do something crazy because he suspects you said something to someone about something. Paranoia. Welcome to the Methborhood.
According to officials, neighbors who suspect a meth lab should report it to authorities, but neighbors have realized that police work takes time to gather enough evidence to raid these establishments. In many cases, too much time, and the nearby residents stay silent to placate the tweekers just so there’ll be some semblance of peace.
There is, however, hope on the horizon. With many states making Pseudoephedrine products prescription only, a key ingredient to meth production, statistics for meth use and amount of labs show a decline. But, then again, maybe people are just keeping quiet.
Meth facts according to the DEA web site:
“Methamphetamine is one of the most widely abused controlled substances in the state and availability is high. In the past, powder methamphetamine was most common; however, seizures show a switch to the more addictive and potent form of meth referred to as ‘ice’ or ‘crystal.’
Oregon legislators enacted a number of laws aimed at directly reducing methamphetamine availability and local production. In July 2006, products containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, precursor chemicals used in methamphetamine manufacturing, became Schedule III controlled substances, available only by prescription. In recent years, legislation restricted sales of pseudoephedrine by limiting sales to licensed pharmacies. In addition, pharmacies are required to maintain a log of purchase transactions and keep products behind a pharmacy counter. Reported clandestine laboratory seizures have been declining, and the local drug market has been increasingly supplied with methamphetamine from other southwestern states and Mexico. Mexican drug trafficking organizations dominate the methamphetamine supply in the Pacific Northwest.”
Iodine, Sulfuric Acid, Red Phosphorous (Road Flares), Battery Acid, Acetone, Anti-Freeze, Ephedrine Tablets, Coleman Fuel, Pseudoephedrine Tablets, Lye, Muriatic Acid, Drain Cleaner, Hydriotic Acid.
Signs of Clandestine Labs
Unusual odors similar to fingernail polish remover or cat urine; Blacked out windows; Lots of traffic-people coming and going at odd hours; Excessive trash-including large amounts of precursors; Unusual amounts of clear glass containers being brought into the home.
What if you suspect a meth lab?
Leave at once; Report it to your local law enforcement agency; Do not open any coolers; Do not touch any items.
A great resource for information can be found at southernoregonmeth.org.