By Tony Parra
New Mexico State Police officials will be presenting a drug awarness seminar 6 p.m. Thursday at the Portales High School Auditorium to discuss the health and law problems that come with methamphetamine labs.
Officials are hoping to have Roosevelt County students as well as their parents attend the seminar to help in the attempt to stop meth labs and the distribution of methamphetamines into the community. Lt. Jesse Orozco of the New Mexico State Police said the goal is to make community members aware of the problem and how to handle situations which arise from the drugs.
Preston Wilkerson of the Roosevelt County Task Force said the most common drug arrests in the county stem from marijuana, followed by meth arrests.
“There are so many open areas that can be used to cook chemicals,” Wilkerson said about the rural community. “They can use chemicals from dairies. People can use items from home to make it and they can get on the Internet to look for recipes.”
Wilkerson said what most people don’t understand is the effect it can have on their bodies. An overdose of meth can result in heart failure and use can cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain, according to the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Web site.
Wilkerson said the popularity of the methamphetamines grew in the late 90s. He said much of the popularity is because the drug can be made with household items and the high lasts for hours.
“It’s a state-wide problem,” Orozco said. “The drug is so addictive. We want to inform residents of how to look for the signs that their neighbor may be operating a meth lab.”
Orozco said signs are iodine tincture containers, chemicals laying around the yard and strong odors coming from a residence. He said the production of methamphetamines is leading to another problem in Roosvelt County — the theft of dairy equipment.
According to Orozco, iodine tincture is used in the sanitation of dairies and anhydrous ammonia is used in fertilizer. Both items are precessors in the development of methamphetamines. He said Actifed and Sudafed are also used as ingredients in the process.
Wilkerson said once Portales police officials find a meth lab, they must call New Mexico State Police representatives. Orozco said a certified team is deployed to the site to break down the meth lab and properly dispose of the chemicals. Orozco said the cost to properly dismantle a lab and dispose of the chemicals can cost between $2,000 to $25,000.
Orozco said there will be a drug awarness seminar at 6 p.m. on Feb. 3 in Clovis and at 6 p.m. in Tucumcari on Feb. 10. He said no event location has been specified for either city.