Pubdate: Thu, 19 Aug 2004
Source: Albany Herald, The (GA)
Copyright: 2004 The Albany Herald Publishing Company, Inc.
Author: Dave Williams
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


ATLANTA - Gov. Sonny Perdue's summit on methamphetamine abuse in
Georgia hadn't even ended Wednesday when the governor announced its
first concrete result.

During his speech closing the two-day gathering, Perdue unveiled the
signing of an agreement outlining how the Georgia Bureau of
Investigation and the state Division of Family and Children Services
will work together to help children caught up in busts involving meth

"That's the kind of collaborative spirit we want to encourage," he said.

The summit brought together more than 200 professionals from across
Georgia from fields including criminal justice, substance abuse
prevention and treatment and child welfare. Attendees broke into small
groups to address the statewide problem.

James Copple, a consultant with the National Crime Prevention Council
who facilitated the summit, said the groups came to similar
conclusions about what needs to be done in Georgia.

He said the recommendations common among the attendees included the
need to improve coordination among the state agencies involved in
various aspects of combating methamphetamines and improve
cross-training of those professionals.

At the local level, the groups talked about increasing public
awareness in each community of the extent of the meth problem.

"As I look at some of the solutions, I'm very impressed with where
you're going as a state," Copple, who has served in a similar role at
a dozen other state summits, told the attendees.

While no specific legislative proposals emerged from the Georgia
summit, Perdue suggested that lawmakers take a close look at
Oklahoma's experience with making it harder for would-be meth lab
operators to buy large quantities of the precursor drugs and chemicals
used to make methamphetamines.

Meth seizures in that state dropped dramatically this year after the
legislature there passed a law limiting the amount of certain cold
medicines consumers could buy at one time and requiring buyers to show
identification and sign for those purchases.

Under the agreement between the GBI and DFCS announced by Perdue, the
GBI will notify the child-protection agency when it is about to bust a
meth lab, dress any child in a home containing a lab in protective
clothing and determine whether the child has been exposed to hazardous

It will be a DFCS caseworker's job to make sure the child receives
proper medical care, interview the child and obtain an
emergency-custody order to place the child in foster care.
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