Pubdate: Tue, 18 Feb 2003
Source: Belleville News-Democrat (IL)
Copyright: 2003 Belleville News-Democrat
Author: Brian Brueggemann
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Madigan, Haine Say Threat To Kids Is Key

EDWARDSVILLE - Attorney General Lisa Madigan and state Sen. Bill Haine are
proposing legislation that would double the sentencing range for people who
make methamphetamine around children.

At a news conference Monday in Edwardsville, Madigan said children who are
exposed to the chemicals and fumes associated with methamphetamine
production are susceptible to injuries and even death.

"Criminals who cook drugs next to where they cook dinner simply do not care
about the welfare of children," Madigan said. "It's hard for many of us to
imagine a baby or toddler crawling around a room filled with dangerous
chemicals. This legislation sends a strong signal that this criminal conduct
will not be tolerated."

Haine said the sentencing range for producing meth varies, depending on the
amount produced, but the range generally is between six and 40 years in
prison. He said the legislation would double the maximum and minimum prison
terms that are currently on the books in Illinois.

"That's going to be a strong message to the sentencing judge that this
should be treated more harshly because the manufacture occurred around
children," Haine said.

Madigan said her office handled one case in which a 5-year-old's bedroom was
used as a manufacturing site. In one case in Southern Illinois, police found
an 8-year-old vomiting out the window of a car that a meth lab in its trunk.

Madison County Sheriff Robert Hertz, who joined Haine and Madigan at the
news conference, said his deputies increasingly are seeing mobile meth labs,
as well as the theft of products used the make the drug, such as anhydrous

Other ingredients include Freon, lithium metal, pseduephedrine, acetone,
ethyl alcohol and hydriodic acid.

Madigan said children are easily harmed by meth because they crawl and play
on floors, put their hands in their mouths and eyes and play with utensils
used to make the drug.

"Our legislation sends a clear message to meth producers that if you risk
kids' safety, you risk doing double time," Madigan said. "Cooking meth
around children is a recipe for disaster. If adults want to endanger their
lives, that's sad. If they endanger kids, it's unacceptable."

Haine, who served as Madison County state's attorney before his recent
election to the state Senate, said meth labs are prone to exploding.

"It's such a danger to children that the law should treat it as a crime
worthy of great punishment," he said.
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