Children's health in greater danger than meth lab chef

Friday, October 30, 2009

Children living where methamphetamine is cooked face greater health risks than adults who manufacture the illegal drug, according to the highest ranking law enforcement officer here.

"It's because the vapors with the poison are heavier than air so they fall the the floor and the children become more exposed to the byproducts of cooking meth when they play on the floor of their home," District Attorney Chuck Crawford said.

Crawford and District Attorney Mike Bottoms who serves the district west of Marshall County hosted a seminar at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski on Wednesday to develop procedures on what to do with children who've been exposed to the manufacture of illegal drugs and their use.

Employees in law enforcement, education, social services, fire departments, medical and behavioral health clinics, child advocacy centers and other government agencies were invited to the half-day seminar.

Crawford and Bottoms, in cooperation with William Benson, assistant director of the Drug Investigation Division of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation sought to inform officials on the protocol for handling children affected by meth labs since it's deleterious to human health, Crawford said.

Law enforcement agencies in Marshall County were "well-represented" during the seminar in Pulaski, the prosecutor said. "The auditorium has 125 seats." There was standing room only.

"We want to be sure that everyone knows what to do," he said. "The first thing is to get the children to the emergency room.

"The seminar was the first step in an on-going forum to see that the children are protected," Crawford said. "For example, where there's a meth lab and the children have been exposed, the children have to be protected."

Much of what was discussed in the introductory seminar was "re-enforcement of how horrible meth can be," the prosecutor said.

Crawford serves the counties of Marshall, Bedford, Lincoln and Moore. Bottoms serves Maury, Giles, Lawrence and Wayne counties.