FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 9, 2005) – Firefighters, solid waste coordinators and Department of Community Based Services case workers from Northeastern Kentucky recently attended Kentucky State Police (KSP) classes to raise awareness of the hazards involved in discovering methamphetamine labs. Now, they’ve joined hundreds of others in identical or similar jobs statewide who have received the same training for the last several years.
KSP Detective Jon Marshall, a certified KSP methamphetamine lab responder, told attendees from Rowan, Boyd, Greenup, Carter and Lawrence Counties about the drug’s highly addictive nature and the growing epidemic of its use. He stressed precautions to take to ensure their personal safety, what components and chemicals are used in the labs and who to call if they think they’ve identified a lab.
“By the very nature of their jobs, firefighters, case workers and solid waste coordinators are routinely on other people’s properties, in and out of homes, and they may discover a methamphetamine lab or some of the precursors or chemicals used to make the highly addictive drug,” said Marshall. “Above all, we want them to know how to protect themselves in an environment that may contain highly volatile chemicals.”
KSP Commissioner Mark L. Miller said this type of training has been going on across the state for the past five years. “Ever since the rapid onset of methamphetamine production in the state, we’ve been educating particular groups of people – those whose jobs would lead them into and around homes – all across the state,” said Miller. “This is an ongoing process, and one that is necessary to help ensure these workers’ safety and give them the knowledge to report suspicious activity.”
“We need community involvement to combat the meth problem in Kentucky, so it is fitting that the KSP has trained these firefighters, solid waste coordinators and Department of Community Based Service caseworkers in recognizing meth labs,” said Teresa Barton, executive director of the state’s Office of Drug Control Policy. “This will help them to protect themselves from the explosive labs and to inform authorities of their existence, saving others from danger. We are proud that KSP has taken the initiative to provide these meth classes during the past five years and appreciate those that have participated in the training.”
Statewide, 596 methamphetamine labs were discovered in 2004. Through March 1 of this year, 79 labs have been uncovered.
To anonymously report any type of suspected illegal drug activity, citizens can call the KSP toll-free drug tip hotline, 1-800-DOPETIP. The hotline is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.