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Meth Lab Injuries on the Rise

Meth Lab Injuries on the Rise

Author: Shernide Delva

According to a new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Meth lab injuries are on the rise.

Unlike drugs that come from plants like Marijuana and Cocaine, Meth is made from other chemicals often in makeshift home laboratories. Fires, explosions, injuries and environmental contamination can occur in these labs putting the public at risk.

Data collected from five states — Louisiana, Oregon, Utah, New York, and Wisconsin have shown that meth related chemical incidents have increased from 2001 to 2004 when the drug reemerged in popularity.

There was a decline from 2005 to 2007 as lawmaker’s limited access to the drugs needed to make meth.  From 2001 to 2012, there were a total of 1325 meth-related chemical incidents. The most common reported injuries were respiratory irritation, burns, eye irritation, and skin irritation.

Recent Meth Lab Injuries:

  • In Eastern Wisconsin, a 35 year old man was treated for burn injuries after investigators say was a meth lab explosion.
  • In Louisiana, a woman was seriously injured in what investigators determined was a “rolling meth lab fire. “
  • In Daytona Beach, Florida, an 8 month old and four adults were injured when a meth lab exploded early this year.
  • Last month, an explosion in Maryland was blamed on a meth lab established in a government building. A federal security officer who was injured was blamed and charged in the case. The officer resigned his position a day after the explosion.

The CDC stated the new method of making meth called the “shake-and-bake” method is the reason for the increasing injuries being reported. The “shake-and-bake” method involved shaking chemicals in a 2-liter plastic bottle. The bottle can frequently burst causing burns and injuries.

Law enforcement officials make up a large percentage of meth-related injuries. Forty-two law enforcement officials were injured in meth lab injuries. The most common injury is respiratory irritation.

To reduce injury, researchers suggest law enforcement officials increase training in order to recognize risk as well as using personal protective equipment. Researchers cautioned that a state-by-state approach to meth production may not be effective.

For example, in 2010, Mississippi introduced “prescription-only” laws for ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. While the law resulted in fewer meth labs seized in Mississippi, meth related incidents increased in neighboring state Louisiana.

Dangers lurk even after the meth lab is closed down because people can still come in contact with the leftover hazardous materials.

“Employees working as cleanup contractors, or in housekeeping, patient intake and other high-risk occupations should be alerted to the dangers,” the study authors said.

The implementing laws limiting access to the meth chemicals tracking people buying the chemicals with electronic monitoring, and maintaining a database of the offenders.

The study concludes by noting that public health is urgently needed to protect those who are most injured in meth incidents children and law enforcement officials.

Meth labs are seriously dangerous to the general public. Because of the increasing popularity of meth use, meth lab injuries are on the rise. The hope is that new policies are implemented that prevent these incidents. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Maine Has More Meth Labs than Ever

Maine has More Meth Labs than Ever

Author: Justin Mckibben

Methamphetamine is one of the most intimidating drugs out there for addicts and non-addicts alike. The photos of meth users are enough to shock anyone even meth users themselves. So is it true that the US has a meth epidemic? That question may not have the most definitive answer, but it is indisputable that meth is extremely addictive, very destructive, and just all around bad for you, and meth labs are on the rise in certain areas.

The Maine Meth Problem

Law enforcement officials in Maine are currently over-exerted in their resources and manpower in a progressive struggle to stop methamphetamine labs in their state, and it seems that this trend of cook-houses doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime too soon. Officials from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (MDEA) reported that they dismantled 28 labs 2014, which is 12 more than in 2013, and more than 6 times as many in 2011!

That rate of increase is pretty radical, and those numbers do not even include the number of “dump sites” where chemicals and other materials used to make meth are disposed of. Even without that estimate it is probably safe to presume that more and more meth is being produced in the area than ever before, and that alone is a dangerous and volatile situation for Maine.

MDEA Resources

So you may be asking why is it a problem if the labs are being torn down? It is a victory each time some drugs are taken on the streets, even a little bit. But MDEA spends more than $10,000 of its budget to dismantle each lab individually, and that figure does not include the expenses incurred by local police and firefighters who are also often called into the scene due to the high incident of fires and explosions caused by chemicals that are associated with clearing out and disposing of meth labs.

However, despite the increased number of lab locations, this may not mean what people assume it means at first glance. MDEA officials believe that the rise in lab numbers actually has nothing to do with being part of expanded trafficking in the state, so it’s not that the real-life Breaking Bad crew came in and started up a new empire or anything like that.

They actually attribute the increase in labs being found to improvement in the training procedures for local law enforcement agencies, causing them to have gotten better at finding such operations. One piece of the puzzle that supports this theory is that the treatment levels for meth addiction in Maine having experienced only slight growth over the last few years, and actually runs below the statistics reported back in 2006, according to the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.

Still, the cost of fighting this branch of the ‘war on drugs’ does exists, and the MDEA hopes that they will be getting some assistance for the coming year ahead. The Maine officials are hoping that a $900,000 federal grant will be approved that could provide greater assistance in their efforts to postpone and possibly subdue the growing meth labs in the area. The grant, which the state announced in October 2014, will allow the state to hire 4 new drug agents and buy specialized equipment for first responders to lab sites, making the entire team more efficient in facing the rising meth issue head on.

Currently, the most effective meth addiction treatment is a combination of behavioral therapies such as cognitive behavioral and contingency management interventions. A comprehensive behavioral treatment approach includes behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, drug testing for accountability, and encouragement for clean and sober activities combined with an active aftercare program.

There doesn’t have to be a high concentration of meth labs, or even meth addicts in your area for you to be an addict, and it may seem impossible, but people do it every day and there are those that want to help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-3561

History of Drug Abuse: The 90’s

History of Drug Abuse: The 90's

A decade of “mom and pop” meth labs, being heroin chic, up all night at the rave and totally stoned.

Federal funding for the war on drugs reached $17.1 billion dollars. At this period of time, 34% of Americans admitted to having tried marijuana.

In the 1990s there was decline in most drug abuse but not all. In the 1990s there was a rise in pot smoking, the rise of the rave culture, and also “mom and pop” labs of methamphetamine. Heroin use in the 1990s also increased, as well as the number of overdoses. In fact, you can see see the residual effects of the drug trends in the fashion industry.

Here is a fun fact, heroin became so popular that the reason most models look the way they do today is because of it. The 1990s came up with the trend “heroin chic”. Heroin chic was a look popularized in mid-1990s fashion and was characterized by pale skin, dark circles underneath the eyes and angular bone structure. The look gave way to emaciated models such as Kate Moss. A 1996 article in the Los Angeles Times stated that the fashion industry had “a nihilistic vision of beauty” that was reflective of drug addiction and U.S. News and World Report called the movement a “cynical trend”.

The 1990s saw an increase in pot use, ecstasy use, and crystal meth. “Ecstasy and crystal meth are popular in California, meth is big in the Midwest, and the New Jersey Turnpike is just ‘the Heroin Highway’,” -Unknown

Marijuana use in the 1990s: Marijuana use among American youths and young adults increased substantially during the 1990s. Much of the increase in marijuana use could have been attributable to the growing popularity of blunts. If you ever wonder if there really was an increase in marijuana use just listen to the music. Much of the music and culture of the 90s was surrounded by the idea of getting “stoned”. Think, Cypress Hill.

Heroin use in the 1990s: During what seemed like an epidemic of urban heroin use in the 1970’s, the images of the typical addict — strung out, nodding off on street corners, track marks along every vein — were so strong that they turned off an entire generation of potential users. Those images did not resonate so strongly in places where addicts were seen only on television. So when heroin became purer and cheaper as well as able to be smoked or snorted, in the 1990’s, it took root in predominantly white, working- and middle-class communities. Heroin in the 1990s was one of the most deadly of the illegal drugs leading to overdoses of many famous people such as Sublime’s front man Bradley Nowell who died in 1996 and The Smashing Pumpkins band mate Jonathan Melvoin also in 1996. Heroin was glamorized within the music industry as well as the fashion industry.

Meth use in the 1990s: PDFA studies found that use by high school students more than doubled between 1990 and 1996. New ways to cook methamphetamine appeared in 1990s. Some new versions were four to six times stronger and more addictive. Greatest use was seen in the Southwest and West. Methamphetamine use began and grew in the rural Midwest. Rural locations became ideal for cooking of methamphetamine because of geographic isolation, available supply of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and anhydrous ammonia. In 1996, congress passed the Comprehensive Methamphetamine Control Act, which regulated mail order and chemical companies selling chemicals. For example, people who bought large quantities of red phosphorous, iodine and hydrochloric gas would have to show they would use them for legitimate purposes. Law enforcement agents became allowed to track large mail order purchases of pseudoephedrine, another precursor chemical. Chemical supply companies would now be punished if they sold chemicals to people who make methamphetamine.

Ecstasy use in the 1990s: MDMA use rose sharply among college students and young adults during the 1990s, according to the 1995 Monitoring the Future study.  Beginning in 1987 on the Spanish island of Ibiza, British vacationers had all-night parties with loud, beat-driven dance music in crowded conditions. Raves spread first to the United Kingdom and then to the United States. By the mid-1990s they were all over the place, especially in big cities. The use of “club drugs” to enhance the enjoyment of the party experience was already established in America, where certain “discos” had already been catering to cocaine and amphetamine users. Ecstasy fit into the rave scene better than cocaine, however. High on ecstasy, shy or cautious people became wild dancers, open and friendly to strangers, and they were able to stay awake all night. By the time raves became established in the United States, ecstasy had already been added to the Schedule I list of controlled substances by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Emergency room visits sparked by bad reactions to ecstasy spiked from 253 in 1994 to 5,542 in 2001, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report.

These were a few of the biggest drug abuse trends of the 90s. Did you experience any of this? How old were you in the 1990s? Did you fall into any of these trends? Can you point out any other things about the 1990s that really led to the increase in drug abuse?

If you or someone you love is in need of alcohol or drug addiction treatment, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.



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