Utahns team up to shut down meth labs

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    By RACHEL DAHNEKE

    Nobody likes a tattletale, but the Utah Council for Crime Prevention is asking for them.

    The crime council on kicked off a new anti-meth campaign on Wednesday, March 1, “What’s Cooking in Your Neighborhood,” to encourage Utahns to report methamphetamine labs.

    The campaign will place billboards throughout the Salt Lake Valley, run television ads and support a hot line — (800) 972-2255 — to promote awareness.

    “People being willing to come forth with information is the way we’ll reduce the amount of labs,” said Tibby Milne, executive director of UCCP.

    This campaign started because Utah is No. 1 in meth labs per capita and No. 3 overall in the nation, said B.J. Van Rossendaal, employee of the Division of Substance Abuse for Utah.

    The crime council is not alone in working against Utah’s meth problem. The Utah Division of Substance Abuse, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the Division of Child and Family Services, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, state lawmakers, television stations and Reagan Outdoor advertising have joined together to provide 30 billboards throughout the area.

    Utahns are ready to help. The hotline received 11 calls in the first 12 hours, Milne said.

    Over 90 labs have been shut down the past four months, most of which are in private homes according to a Salt Lake Tribunes report.

    Locally in Orem, a medium to large clandestine meth lab was discovered on Thursday, March 2. The lab was in all stages of meth production and spread through three rooms of a house at 456 N. 680 West.

    There was over $30,000 in finished product from the lab that cost $400 dollars to make, said Lt. Ned Jackson of the Orem police.

    The lab was discovered because of a tip the narcotics division of the Orem police department received.

    Milne hopes more tips like this will be called in to the hotline.

    “The campaign is to promote awareness so if people suspect a lab they’ll call,” she said.

    The labs also pose a threat to the community because the chemicals used to create meth are hazardous, Jackson said. The production includes toxic solutions of ammonia and hydrochloric acid and a byproduct of meth is phosphine gas, which is deadly if inhaled.

    Waste products from cooking meth are buried, flushed down toilets, poured down drains or discarded with the trash.

    “We need to get those labs taken down and removed from our neighborhoods.” Milne said.

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