Meth use climbs in South Georgia - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Meth use climbs in South Georgia

December 12, 2005

Valdosta - The Doctors Laboratory processes thousands of drug tests each week. "Pre-employment, post accident, and random drug testing," said Richard Struempler, Toxicology Director.

For years, tests have come back positive for marijuana and cocaine, but now a new drug is emerging. "We've seen, probably in the last year, about a 20 percent increase in the number of methamphetamine positive specimens," said Struempler.

Lab technicians go through about 500 tests a night, and on average, about 50 of those show meth use. The results don't surprise Struempler. "Because of how easy it is to manufacture and the fact that the return on the investment for people who are cooking meth is fairly high," said Struempler.

You can find most of the ingredients in your household cabinets or at a pharmacy.  "You can make a meth lab in a shoe box," said Captain J.D. Yeager.

And even though a lot of the ingredients are no longer sold over the counter, investigators say the manufacturing of meth hasn't slowed down one bit. "You can still go in there and buy it just like underage can buy alcohol," said Yeager.

Doctors Lab processes the state ordered drug tests for DFACS, and even though these are usually scheduled in advance, Struempler says some people are so addicted to meth, they refuse to stop using. "They're making the decision that they would rather continue using crystal meth than keep their children," said Struempler.

A devastating effect of a deadly drug that's on its way to becoming the most popular one in South Georgia.

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