Pubdate: Sat, 15 Apr 2006
Source: Cowichan News Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Cowichan News Leader
Author: Edward Hill
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Concerns about crystal meth have crystallized for local businesses.

About 70 businesses and counting in Chemainus, Crofton and Duncan have
signed on to the Canada-wide Meth Watch program. Most tack up the Meth
Watch sign as a warning to meth users, and are trained to better
understand how to spot a potential meth cook.

Cooking crystal methamphetamine takes a lethal cocktail of household
chemicals, items people buy every day from pharmacies, hardware stores
and auto shops. In a bid to halt meth labs before they start, police
are asking merchants to keep an eye on what people are buying.

Const. Darren Lagan, North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP's community liaison,
admits who or what qualifies as "suspicious" is open to interpretation
and the gut instincts of store employees.

"It's not a case of watching everyone constantly. Employees should
know what agents they are selling and to watch them closely," Lagan
said. "This is a way to assist law enforcement to detect the diversion
of legal products for illegal uses. We aren't asking people to
intervene, just to track."

Unusual purchases of cold medicines with pseudoephedrine or ephedrine,
isopropyl alcohol, acetone, drain cleaner, paint thinner, lye, brake
fluid and propane will be under closer scrutiny, and are all used in
manufacturing meth.

Police in the Cowichan Valley have found a single instance of what was
likely an abandoned meth lab, but have yet to find an active site.
"Meth is still relatively new to the community," Lagan said.

Meth Watch is being rolled out across B.C. and Canada and is modelled
after a program that started in Kansas.

Lagan said community-policing volunteers are actively getting more
stores signed up and employees trained. "Nobody has been
unco-operative. All are voicing interest," he said.
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MAP posted-by: Derek