Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Editorial: Retailers’ program on target against meth

May 30, 2001

According to state officials, law enforcement officers last year raided 702 illegal methamphetamine labs last year in Kansas.

That's a staggering number.

Leavenworth County had its share of those meth operations, according to Major Dave Zoellner of the sheriff's department. A total of 21 meth labs were detected in the county during 2000. So far this year, Zoellner said, officers have seized eight labs.

In fact, one of those labs was operating earlier this year in the city of Tonganoxie. A child was living at the residence, where the lab was cooking this dangerous drug.

Because meth lab producers use common household chemicals and over-the-counter drugs as raw ingredients, methamphetamine can be manufactured almost anywhere. Now, a new cooperative effort is under way in Kansas to help limit access to ingredients commonly used in the production of methamphetamine.

The Kansas Retailer Meth Watch program is designed to limit the availability of products containing the drugs ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are common allergy and cold remedies. Under the program, retailers agree to place "target" drugs in a site where they cannot easily be stolen.

In addition, the retailers agree to report suspicious behavior, such as customers trying to buy bulk quantities of the drugs.

The costs to society attributed to the manufacture of methamphetamine are huge. We all pay a price for law enforcement officers and court officials to handle the case load associated with methamphetamine labs.

In the case of the Tonganoxie meth lab, which occurred at a local motel, the rooms still must be properly cleaned before they can be rented to anyone.

In addition, law enforcement officials say that people who become users of the drug can get a false sense of well-being, can become aggressive, suffer paranoia and other permanent psychological problems. So there are health ramifications for users, as well.

It's encouraging that owners of businesses have agreed to work with law enforcement officials to help curtail the production and, it is hoped, the use of this destructive drug. But more can be done to put a dent in the methamphetamine business.

All citizens in Leavenworth County should take the time to report suspicious activity to the police or sheriff's department. Methamphetamine is an expensive and destructive part of society and its manufacture and use pose dangers to us all.

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