It is not enough to educate the public about the ills of methamphetamine, said Capt. Adam Brewer of the Lawrence County (Tenn.) Sheriff’s Office. Education also is needed about the trash left from meth cooks.
“It’s awful, these cooks are being disposed of on the sides of roads everywhere,” Brewer said. “The problem is anyone can come up on these items and pick them up to dispose of them, not knowing they were used in a meth cook.
“And most of the spent cooks still have residue of meth or the fumes still inside, which can be harmful.”
Brewer said people should be educated about spent cooks so they will know not to pick up suspicious items.
“The items are usually something pretty simple, like plastic soft drink containers,” said Tim Glover, director of the Lauderdale County Drug Task Force.
Curtis Burns, director of the Colbert County Drug Task Force, said two agents driving recently on Osborn Hill Road in Littleville found 15 used one-pot meth bottles.
“Some of them were spewing chemicals,” Burns said. “They were just thrown off (on) the side of the road, all within a mile of each other.”
Burns said batteries, lye containers and other items used in the manufacturing process were found in the used cooks.
“Anyone, an adult or a child, could have walked up and picked these up and been exposed to them,” he said.
Hackleburg Police Chief Kenny Hallmark, a former member of the Marion County Drug Task Force, said he has seen police officers become sick because of the strong odors from meth cooks. He said the cooks are volatile and can explode.
Brewer said the problem is no longer a rural problem.
“It used to be the only place you saw the dumps were on rural isolated roads. That’s not the case any more,” he said. “By using these one-pot cooks, they can be thrown out anywhere, and they are.”
He said recently a man walking through a subdivision collecting aluminum cans came up on a dump site.
Glover said he is seeing the same problem in Lauderdale County.
“In two days, we had 20 of these used labs found on two county roads,” he said.
Glover said used syringes have been found with some of these dump sites.
“That is becoming a very dangerous issue,” Glover said. “The last thing we want is someone reaching down to pick up what they believe is trash and finding a used meth lab and syringes.
“You can go on any county road between Central and Waterloo and Lexington and Anderson and see these (yellow) plastic bags lying on the side of the road, and you can bet they have a used meth cook and needles inside.”
Burns said drug agents are urging people to be careful.
“If you find something you are not sure about, call a local law enforcement agent and let them dispose of it,” Burns said.