08/26/04 — Schools get training to spot meth abuse

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Schools get training to spot meth abuse

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 26, 2004 2:02 PM

As the methamphetamine problem grows, Wayne County school officials are being taught how to recognize the signs in children who may have been exposed to the illegal drug.

School social workers and counselors from across the county received training this week from SBI agent Duane Deaver. It is training similar to what law-enforcement officers receive. The training has branched out to the schools because of the number of children being exposed to meth labs.

According to Deaver, in 25 percent of the meth labs that have been raided, children have been found that tested positive for methamphetamines.

Methamphetamine labs also contain dangerous chemicals that are explosive. The labs are treated as contaminated sites.

Because many meth labs are discovered by non law-enforcement personnel, Deaver said, school social workers and counselors must become aware of what drug labs look like. Deaver focused on showing the staff how to recognize labs, which can be located in cars, homes, storage units, boats and even picnic baskets.

Deaver spoke about recognizing the physical signs of meth addiction as well.

"The real sad part of this is people subject their children to deplorable conditions," he said.

Deaver said his agents expect to see 400 methamphetamine labs this year. He said that to date, only one meth lab has been found in Wayne County, but there are likely others. "We see it growing by leaps and bounds in our population," he said.

Deaver advised the school officials of what to do if they discover a lab. He told them to avoid touching anything and to call police.

The problem is not going away, Deaver said, and the best weapon to fight it with is education and awareness.