Pubdate: Thu, 25 Aug 2005
Source: Packet & Times (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005, Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Teviah Moro
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Training Laboratory No Solution To Growing Drug Problem, Says MPP

The Ontario government is making a "token gesture" to slow the spread of 
crystal methamphetamine by spending $230,000 on a mock laboratory for 
police training, says Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop.

"Why would they go spend $230,000 on a lab? These are cops that need real 

The province stated Monday the mock crystal-meth lab will help train new 

The lab, which will be built at the Ontario Police College in Aylmer, near 
London, will also include a mock marijuana grow-op.

Crystal meth is a highly addictive drug deeply rooted in Western Canada -- 
but with a growing influence in Ontario.

Det. Supt. Frank Ebbers of the OPP's drug enforcement section called the 
training lab a good step.

Right now, the only place police across Canada can receive such hands-on 
training is at the Canadian Police College in Ottawa.

"You'd be lucky to get a seat," said Ebbers, noting more officers will now 
be able to receive training.

Dunlop, Progressive Conservative critic for community safety and 
correctional services, said allocating more funds to the OPP's drug 
enforcement unit would better curtail crystal meth's spread.

Ebbers said the section's efforts to stamp out marijuana grow-ops in 
Ontario is now exacerbated by a fledgling meth scene.

"What we're seeing are mostly small concentrated labs that are just 
producing enough to put amounts out onto the street," he said.

Rural southwestern Ontario is ideal for the labs because there is easy 
access to farm fertilizer that contains anhydrous ammonia, a key ingredient 
for meth production, Ebbers said.

Simcoe County is only starting to see trace amounts of meth, he said, but 
the drug is slowly making its way east from southwestern Ontario.

Ebbers worries the meth problem will only become worse, swamping officers 
already busy dealing with well-heeled marijuana grow-ops.

In the past three years, the drug enforcement unit has executed search 
warrants at 1,822 marijuana grow-ops, he said.

"Now, we're coupling that with meth-lab issues. It's draining our resources."

* With files from The Canadian Press
- ---
MAP posted-by: Elizabeth Wehrman