State Police say there were 111 meth labs found in Kentucky in October, bringing the statewide count to 919, which also eclipses the previous yearly total of 741 labs in 2009.
Authorities in Perry County say despite the uptick in meth labs around the state, there doesn’t seem to much of a problem locally just yet.
“Eastern Kentucky, though, especially Perry County, seems to be not immune to it, but we have less than western Kentucky,” noted Deputy Jack Duff.
It was in 2009 that deputies opened the department’s first active meth lab case. Similar cases have been few and far between in Perry County, and Chief Deputy Tony Eversole noted that the sheriff’s office is also not seeing much in the way of tips on meth labs from the public.
“Our problem is the typical prescription (drug) problem,” noted Duff.
For the past several years, law enforcement officials have feared a migration of meth lab activity from the western part of the state to eastern Kentucky. Though counties such as Clay and Laurel report a higher number of cases, those counties just to the east, such as Leslie and Perry, have so far been spared for the most part.
Meth is an extremely addictive drug, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. An odorless powder, it is made from common household ingredients such as sudafederin, lithium batteries, and bleach that government agencies have begun regulating more heavily. Lawmakers recently proposed a regulation that would force purchasers of sudafederin, a nasal decongestant, to purchase the product with a prescription. Large purchases of the substance have been illegal in Kentucky for several years now.
But the methods for making meth are continuing to evolve. The drug can already be made easily in about eight hours, and so-called shake-and-bake labs which utilize single containers to cook the drug are making it easier to conceal its production.
Long-term abuse of meth can result in a variety of health problems, from severe dental problems to extreme weight loss among others.
The byproducts of meth production are toxic, and trained teams are required to dispose of it.
But simply because local law enforcement aren’t seeing an increase in meth lab activity doesn’t mean it isn’t there. With the more remote terrain in eastern Kentucky and the possibility of cooking meth inside of a vehicle, the potential for that increase is certainly there, added Eversole.
Eversole said anyone who suspects that a meth lab is operational should call law enforcement as soon as possible, considering the short cooking time to make the drug.
“If people suspect it, they need to call right then, and not wait until the next day or whatever, because about six hours is a complete cooking period,” he said.
The Kentucky State Police in Perry County can be reached at 606-435-6069 or 1-800 DOPETIP (1-800-367-3847). The Perry County Sheriff’s office can be reached at 439-4523.