Meth lab incidents double in Oneida County

By WKTV News

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - So far this year, State Police have responded to twice the number of meth labs or incidents as they did last year.

In 2011, that number, statewide, was 45; in 2012, 127.

Locally, in State Police Troop D, which includes Oneida County, the number in 2011 was 23; so far in 2012, 57.

State Police attribute the sharp increase in part to the easy one-pot, "shake & bake" method of meth production. As always, it involves mixing and cooking household ingredients including certain cold and flu medicine, salt and other commonly-used chemicals. But it's quicker and more efficient. It's also highly volative and dangerous. State Police say meth labs are often uncovered because of fires in a home.

An innocent child paid the price in Oneida County recently.

"The one in Rome resulted in second and third degree burns to an infant and his mother. With that said we cannot stress the importance of getting this information out and the dangers involved with these chemicals," said State Police Troop D Major Rodney Campbell.

After lawmakers put restrictions on the amount of certain medicines an individual can buy, and started tracking buyers, the meth lab operators dispatch friends and family members to buy the over the counter medicines, in a practice police call, 'smurfing'.

Red flags include the presence of all the ingredients (salt, ice melt, suphedrine, cold packs, drain cleaner, acetone) in a home, as well as a strong, chemical smell on a person's body or clothing and hair.

In 2011, state police responded to 45 meth labs or incidents statewide; that number so far this year is 127; locally, in Troop D, the number in 2011 was 23; it is 57 so far this year.

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