Bath salts and synthetic marijuana aren’t the only drugs plaguing our state and nation. Police want to remind the public that methamphetamine is still a very serious problem. Law enforcement officials in Clinton County are encouraging people to help put a stop to this issue. Cara Thomas reports.
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -- Methamphetamine isn’t a new drug. In fact, it’s been around since the late 1800s. It's made using everyday items, like cold medicine and lithium from batteries and can be made at home. But it's far from safe and can lead to chemical fires or explosions.
James Burns from the DEA said, "The manufacture of methamphetamine in and of itself is very dangerous. It can put the general public and innocent individuals at risk."
Police agencies across the state are now working to put an end to this issue. Since January, 89 labs have been seized or reported in New York, eight in the Plattsburgh area alone. These seizures are very dangerous for police and firefighters as they don't know what they're getting into. And the people they find are usually suffering from many physical side effects or have died from an overdose.
Lieutenant Brent Davison from the New York State Police said, "And as meth becomes more prevalent in our area, I think you'll start to see that drug start to show up in the toxicology results of some of these accidental overdoses."
Not only are these meth labs a health and safety concern, but they're expensive. Police say the money used for clean up and medical bills comes from the tax payers.
Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said, "They go into a jail environment and we end up having to pay for their health care. A higher level of health care than they've ever received before."
"We're talking between $5,000 and $10,000 and that's just for the cleanup. That doesn't count the overtime or the salary of the personnel involved," said Burns.
Police say new computer software is one way they're hoping to decrease the amount of methamphetamine production. Through this nationwide program the purchase of specific precursors for meth are regulated. And police can see when someone is trying to buy large quantities of those products.
Officials say they are also working to increase sentencing for those producing and selling meth, to hopefully deter people from making those kinds of choices.
Law enforcement agencies say in order to put an end to this issue they need the public's help. They ask that anyone who sees or hears anything suspicious in their community to contact state or local police. Police say tip calls will remain anonymous.