Pubdate: Fri, 26 Dec 2003
Source: Tullahoma News (TN)
Copyright: The Tullahoma News 2003
Author: Wayne Thomas


Following a recent intense statewide conference on the problems dealing 
with methamphetamines, figures show that 25 children in Franklin County 
have been removed their families by law enforcement and the Department of 
Child Services.

According to Cindy Kilpatrick of the Department of Child Services (DCS), 
from January to November of this year, the department has taken custody of 
78 children this year in the county and of that number, 25 were removed 
from homes where meth was being produced.

"There have been some children who were removed but were placed with 
relatives, rather than us taking them," Kilpatrick explained.

She stated that during the same period, DCS received information of 124 
children possibly being in danger from methamphetamine production. "All 
total, we have had 276 cases involving a number of incidents, "

Kilpatrick stated. Kilpatrick presented a program on "Life of meth 
referral" and what constitutes protective services, during the meth 
conference presented in Nashville to the more than 500 attendees, which 
included judges, medical personnel and law enforcement.

Three employees of Southern Tennessee Medical Center, Lynn Myer, Buffy 
Peterson and Faye Jernigan-also attended the conference along with Estill 
Springs Police Chief David Cook, Winchester Public Safety Director Dennis 
Young and Maggie Posey from the Department of Child Services along with 
Robert Baggett and Beth Foster-Smith of the Franklin County Juvenile Court.

Representatives of law enforcement, the hospital and DCS are working on a 
panel formed called Drug Endangered Children (D.E.R.).

According to the U. S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Tennessee is second in the 
nation for the number of meth labs confiscated, with 724 in 2002, 525 in 
the first six months of 2003, and 1,154 labs found in the fiscal year of 
2003 which ended Sept. 1.

According to figures released during the conference, Franklin County is the 
number one producing county for methamphetamines.

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp called the meth problem "the moonshine of our 
generation, but I would say times 100. People lived through the moonshine 
problem. They're not living through the meth problem." Meth has also been 
called "the poor man's cocaine."

Young stated that during the conference, a number of pictures taken at 
various methamphetamines labs around Franklin County were displayed during 
the conference.

"It was kind of embarrassing to be walking around and people would come up 
to you and tell us that we had a real problem with methamphetamines," Young 
said. "But they talked about our Town Meetings."

Young stated that there are plans are being made to hold another Town 
Meeting after the first of year. He said the meeting would focus on the 
effects methamphetamines have on the family and children.

The Public Safety Director noted that when he and Chief Cook, along with 
the DCS workers and representatives of the hospital explained to those who 
asked how they are battling the meth problem here in Franklin County, they 
stated that they are taking a "proactive approach to the problem."

He also explained that law enforcement is working in partnership with DCS.

"We were told that the state DCS does not have enough foster parents to 
handle the children who are removed from homes," the public safety director 

Young explained that while Franklin County has the largest number of meth 
labs, "we probably have the most of certified methamphetamines lab 
technicians for a rural county.

Those who are qualified to handle the removal of components the labs are 
Winchester Police Sgt. Danny Mantooth and Investigator Billy Anderson along 
with Franklin County Sheriff's Investigators Mike Bell, Bruce Elliott and 
George Dyer."

The medical personnel from Southern Tennessee Medical Center reviewed 
standards for disposing of clothing of individuals-especially children-who 
have been in a meth environment.

"When a child is found where a lab is being operated, the child is 
immediately removed and sent to the hospital to checked out for health 
issues," Kilpatrick explained.

The conference was held in response to the rapidly spreading problem in 
Tennessee of the illegal drug methamphetamine.

Panelists included Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents, doctors, 
representatives from the Department of Children's Services, prosecutors, 
local law enforcement officials, judges, victims' rights advocates and 

Speakers touched on topics such as drug-endangered children and HIV risks 
related to meth cases.

The conference raised several important issues including meth 101, 
emergency room response, the increase of foster care due to meth, and 
prosecution strategies. Panelists addressed how to conduct meth 
investigations and medical issues of concern to judges handling the drug cases.
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