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Emergency personnel receive protective training about meth labs

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Fire Protection Specialist Victor Graves.

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Fire Protection Specialist Victor Graves. Photo by Katherine Clark.

— The drugs are extremely harmful for users but the illegal manufacturing also creates a dangerous situation for outsiders unknowingly walking into that situation.

Graves said fire departments, emergency medical services and law enforcement are frequently first on the scene at a clan drug lab.

Meth High

Graves said the meth excites its user and delivers a big burst of energy. It is extremely dangerous to the health of users. The drug is extremely addictive and Graves said rehabilitation generally doesn’t help users.

“The drug tricks the brain into releasing a high amount of dopamine, three times more than cocaine, and the high lasts up to 12 hours and damages the brain forever,” said Graves.

Meth users become very dangerous as they are easily excited, paranoid and loose touch with reality, putting emergency personnel at risk.

The labs can pop up anywhere. People use their cars, hotel rooms, storage units, secluded and rural areas, homes and abandoned properties. Graves said some ways to identify a lab at an abandoned structure is if fresh garbage seems to be out by the building or in the yard.

“For every pound of meth there are at least 6 or 7 pounds of dangerous waste,” said Graves.

The improper disposal of these products can be hazardous to the health of anyone exposed.

“When police find a meth lab it is up to the homeowners to clean up the home,” Graves said. “It contaminates everything - clothing, walls, carpets - and clean up is very costly, some slumlords might not clean up the house before they re-rent a property.”

The products for meth are basic products found in most homes including Drano, hot and cold packs, matches, table and rock salts, and alkaline batteries.

“The stuff these people are putting into their bodies is unbelievable, things you can’t even imagine inhaling or ingesting,” said Graves.

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