First responders learn meth lab dangers - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

First responders learn meth lab dangers

June 20, 2006

Albany -- Drug agents say Atlanta is now the hub of drug trafficking in the Eastern United States. This week First responders and other city workers from Albany and Dougherty County are learning about the dangers drug traffickers and methamphetamine labs pose to them.

D.E.A. Agent Harry Thornton warns first responders that Georgia roads are favorites for drug traffickers. Thornton said "Atlanta is now hub for the distribution of narcotics and dangerous drugs not only for Georgia, but across the country."

These are some of the ingredients that will be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Thornton is teaching these Albany first responders and other city workers how to recognize warning signs, not only of traffickers but of meth labs. D.E.A. Agent said "Police, Fire, Social Service workers. They need to be keenly aware that you can be hurt now or in the future because of all the bad stuff left behind when people cook methamphetamine."

D.E.A. figures say meth lab seizures are on the decline, and that 80 percent of the meth now is made in super labs in Mexico, but Thornton warns that meth makers are still here, but have become better at hiding their labs. said "you can cook meth 24-7, and never be detected unless you blow up something, or start a fire."

 And meth labs do cause explosions and fires. Thornton teaches firefighters, housing authority workers, and Police the danger signs, before they are harmed by the chemicals used in the drug making.

D.E.A. officials say the number of meth users is dropping, but it is still a huge problem first responders must be aware of. Thornton said "We may have as many as eleven odd million people doing meth, and a significant number of those people are just not seeking treatment for it , so we don't have a real accurate number."

But Thornton says they are sure meth users pose a threat, one that first responders must to recognize the danger signs for.

Harry Thornton said most meth labs just dump their by products in yards or in woods, posing a significant danger to anyone who innocently tries to clean up what they think is ordinary trash.

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