Meth manufacturers, also known as meth cooks, as well as methamphetamine users have a lack of respect for life. Meth cooks have one focus – to make as much of the drug as possible, no matter who is at risk. Meth users also have one focus – to obtain and use as much of the drug as possible, with no-never-mind as to who is at risk. The broader community needs to have a clear understanding of how harmful both meth labs and meth users are to others. By understanding these risks, the community as a whole is in a better position to protect against the dangers associated with this hazardous drug.
Close Look at the Real Hazards of a Meth Lab to the Community
Meth labs continue to pose a threat to innocent people living in communities across the United States. Indeed, an argument can be made that the general public is more at risk from meth labs today than was the case in the past.
Historically, meth labs operated in some rural area became something of a cliché. Because these labs tended to be in rural areas away from population centers, the risks of meth lab operations to the general public was kept at something of a minimum.
In this day and age, meth labs oftentimes have moved from distant rural areas into the hearts of urban communities. Meth labs in today’s world now placed in urban areas present far more direct threats on the health and wellbeing of the community at large. Examples of more commonplace locations of meth labs at this juncture of the 21st century include:
- Vacant residential rental properties
- Vacant commercial rental properties
- Vacant bank-owned properties
- Abandoned buildings
- Trailers in mobile home courts
Meth Users, Crime, and the Community
As a drug addiction progresses, including (if not particularly) an addiction to meth, a person in such a position faces financial problems. In a considerable number of cases, when an individual addicted to meth ends up with profound financial issues that person turns to crime in order to fund his or her addiction. Examples of the types of crimes that meth addicts turn to with a considerable degree of regularity include:
- Strong-arm theft
- Home invasion
- Drug dealing
- Sexual assault
Meth addicts are known to steal from their own families. A fair statement can be made that there is very little, if nothing, that a meth addict will stop at when it comes to obtaining money needed to pay for an addiction. In addition, by the very nature of the drug, a meth addict that is high on the drug or in need of the drug (a state oftentimes called tweaking), will have no constraint on his or her conduct.
In the overall scheme of things, crimes committed by meth addicts – beyond abusing the illicit drug itself – have a significant impact on the community. The stark reality is that a majority of crimes are somehow connected to illicit drugs. A considerable percentage of those crimes are committed by people laboring under a meth addiction.
Homeless Encampments, Meth Use, and Neighboring Residents
In the past few years, there has been a sharp increase in the number of homeless encampments in California and in other states across the country. Los Angeles County provides a prime example of what is happening in regard to homeless encampments in recent times. These encampments are not only growing in size and number, but the locations of these camps have grown from the city center to suburban enclaves, including high-end neighborhoods.
Meth is an issue in many homeless encampments. Drug use is an issue among a notable percentage of people who lack permanent housing. Some of these people ended up homeless because of an addiction to meth. Others developed an addiction after becoming homeless for some other reason.
Homeless encampments present threats not only to the people that live in these camps but to the community at large. Crime and health issues can arise from homeless encampments, particularly as the result of some members of these makeshift communities being addicted to meth.
In regard to meth addicts in homeless encampments, some of these individuals engage in criminal activities to support their addiction. This criminal conduct tends to occur in the neighborhoods surrounding these encampments.
In addition, meth addicts ensconced in homeless encampments also present health hazards connected directly to their addiction to this addictive drug. For example, many meth addicts inject the drug. As a consequence, homeless encampments and the areas surrounding these camps become littered with used and contaminated needles. A dangerous percentage of these needles are contaminated with pathogens that can include HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, MRSA, and other biohazards.
Protecting the Community: Keep Clear of a Suspected Meth Lab
If a person ever suspects that a particular location has been the site of a meth lab, the first crucial step that must be taken is to get away from the premises immediately. In addition, every effort needs to be made to cordon off the contaminated premises so that no one else has access to the property until comprehensive meth decontamination can occur.
Protecting the Community: Call the Police
As part of protecting the community when a meth lab is suspected, law enforcement must be called immediately. Law enforcement is needed, in part, to make an initial assessment of the scene. The thrust of that initial assessment is to ascertain whether a HAZMAT team needs to be called in to remove equipment and other materials that might have been left behind and that presents an extreme health hazard.
Meth Decontamination: Don’t Do It Yourself
You might be like many individuals and think that you’re capable of undertaking meth decontamination on your own. The reality is that no matter how adept and intelligent you are, you lack the skills, equipment, decontamination agents, and other resources to effectively undertake meth decontamination.