4:47pm

Thu September 15, 2011
The Commonwealth

Meth Labs on the Increase

Prosecutors maintain methamphetamine production in Kentucky is up and deserves further legislative attention.   Last year, the legislature refused to enact restrictions on the sale of a prime ingredient. Chris Cohron,  who’s president of the Kentucky Commonwealth’s Attorneys Association, reports  the number of meth labs is up 20 percent this year.  And, the Warren County prosecutor says that figure only reflects four-fifth of Kentucky’s counties.

“One of, if not the largest single cost drivers I see on a daily basis is the use, trafficking, and manufacturing of methamphetamine,” said Cohron.

Jackie Steele, who’s Commonwealth’s Attorney for Knox and Laurel counties, says children contaminated by meth making are showing up in the classroom.

“These aren’t your teenagers that are showing up.  These are your third, fourth, and fifth graders showing up sitting next to my kids and your kids and grand kids that are sharing classrooms and having all these toxic chemicals on them.  There’s an embarrassment factor for those children, being removed from the classroom.  Everyone knows what’s going on.  And unfortunately these kids are out of the classroom for an hour for decontamination,” said Steele.

Public Advocate Ed Monohan says defense lawyers remain divided over such controls on the sale of pseudo-ephedrine.  Instead, Monohan says improved treatment is needed.

“Addiction is a severe problem of the brain.  It’s a medical issue and increasingly we’re understanding that it needs a treatment response if it’s really gonna’ be solved long term,” added Monohan.

The legislation, which died earlier this year in the Kentucky General Assembly, will probably face another debate when lawmakers convene this winter.