Pubdate: Thu, 17 Nov 2005
Source: Winston-Salem Journal (NC)
Copyright: 2005 Piedmont Publishing Co. Inc.
Author: Associated Press
Note: Letters from newspaper's circulation area receive publishing priority
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Rutherford County To Focus On Interdiction

Methamphetamine continues to ravage communities even though the number
of labs discovered in North Carolina has stabilized, said experts who
gathered yesterday to examine the state's struggle with the drug,
which is highly addictive.

Tougher laws, restrictions on the household products used as
ingredients for the drug and a growing number of law officers
dedicated to fighting the drug have combined to stunt the growth of
labs. Meth continues to enter the state from Mexico and other
channels, experts said.

"When you've got a community of addicts, they're going to get the drug
somehow," Chief Deputy Phil Byers of Rutherford County told about 600
people who attended a forum at Western Carolina University.

Rutherford County will use a $250,000 grant next year to start an
interdiction program to combat the shipment of meth into the region,
Byers said. A federal, state, and local law-enforcement task force is
forming to further crack down on shipments into the state, Roy Cooper,
the attorney general, said.

Nine meth labs were found in North Carolina in 1999. The number
increased to 322 last year, and authorities say they expect the number
to hold steady this year.

But more children are being found in homes where meth is used or made
in highly toxic labs, exposing them to dangerous and poorly stored
chemicals that social workers and medical professionals say can cause
emotional and neurological disabilities. Children have been present at
about one-fourth of all lab busts, Cooper said.

"We have to destroy their clothes or their toys," he

The counties also have to take in the children, experts said. Some
mountain counties report that a quarter to a third of their foster
children come from homes influenced by methamphetamine, and social
workers say that more needs to be done to get them out of those homes

They also want more treatment options for meth addicts, including
those who are incarcerated.

"I don't think we've done enough in that area," Cooper said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin