Battling a Drug Epidemic

Drug officials in Georgia are hoping to battle an epidemic of meth use and production statewide. They are meeting in Atlanta starting Tuesday to brainstorm ways to help stop the problem.

The Narcotics and Vice Division confiscated products from a woman's home Monday after a bust of an attempted meth production lab in Thomas County.

Guy Winklemann with the Narcotics and Vice Division says, "In the last month we've had at least four meth manufacturing cases."

Officials say 90 percent of meth ingredients like acetone and paint thinners are found at hardware and drug stores, which has made it much easier to make.

About 200 drug enforcement groups will meet in Atlanta this week to come up with ways to curb meth use in the state. Local drug officials say there have been laws in the past to help ease the meth epidemic.

Guy Winklemann adds, "Psuedohedrine, you can only buy and have a certain amount, now a lot of our local stores have helped by not selling an over abundance of it, which is the main ingredient."

Pharmacists at Thomas Drug Store are doing their part.

Jennifer Smith, a pharmacist at Thomas Drug Store says, "We have had to pull all the products containing ephedrine off our shelves and so we are no longer able to sell those products."

Winkleman says drug units have a handle on the problem locally.

"About three years ago we done about 50 labs in the first year that we realized it came [from]."

With state and local officials joining forces, hopefully it will help diminish the problem statewide.

Local drug officials say meth manufacturing is worse in rural areas because of less law enforcement and there are more open areas to manufacture the drug without the toxic fumes being noticed as easily.