The Cost of Meth - The War on Meth Part 6

By: Elizabeth Prann Email
By: Elizabeth Prann Email

When it comes to the war on meth many people may say, 'out of sight out of mind,' but that's a thought that worries many local authorities.

Capt. Faith Bell of the Bay County Sheriff's office has been cleaning up meth labs since the 1980's and she's watched the epidemic grow.

"I've heard people say: 'what do I care about meth, it doesn't affect me.' Well it does affect you and if it hasn't, it will," Capt. Bell said.

Assistant State Attorney Greg Wilson agrees, "just because you can say, somebody in my family isn't addicted to it or I'm not aware of any of my neighbors being addicted to it. Does it affect everybody? It certainly does. You may not know about it but it does."

Between January and August of this year the Bay County Sheriff's office busted, cleaned up and documented 43 meth labs and more since August. That's more than four times the busts made in Miami.

And when one lab is busted - a community pays for it.

"The cost of manpower alone, we incur a lot of overtime cleaning up these labs. And the cleanup, it's paid for strictly by taxpayer dollars" Capt. Bell said.

Bay Medical Pharmacist Laura Gould knows the cost first hand. She's been carrying a family member through rehab for some time and says it's a long difficult process. "Financially, you have to pay for an attorney. You have to go visit that person if they've become incarcerated which takes time away from your personal life. Costs if there is a child involved. The costs of that younger person, you may have to care for them," Gould said.

The destruction costs almost seem ironic, considering the substance is increasingly accessible and cheap but as local authorities and health officials will say, what was once ignored is now in the spot light and the solution will need a community taking a multi-faceted approach, one that addresses the root of the problem.

"The underlying problem is the drug habit. The drug is what's making them do all the things they're doing. They've got to be rehabilitated," Suzy Thompson said.

Suzy lost her son to the addiction in 2002.

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