Local seminar held on meth epidemic
MASON COUNTY, Dec 22, 2012 (Menafn - Point Pleasant Register - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --The meth epidemic in Mason County has not gone unnoticed.
This week, the Mason County Anti-Drug Coalition and the Mason County Health Department sponsored a seminar on meth labs and the effects on the community. Held at Marshall University's Mid-Ohio Valley Center, the seminar drew a large crowd with around 50 people attending, including law enforcement, mayors, county commissioners, home visitation programs, landlords, emergency personnel, health department and hospital personnel.
Brandon Lewis of the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Program discussed the prevalence of meth labs as well as various components of meth labs and how landlords, neighbors and the general public can be aware of items to notice in the trash, odors to report and the behavior of persons using meth.
Trooper Jason Crane of the West Virginia State Police discussed many of the same items, adding how law enforcement approaches the situation, particularly when children are in the home. This led into a presentation by Greg Haddox of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' Child Protective Services.
Haddox talked about what happens to children who are removed from the situation of a meth lab and placed with other family members, or even foster homes if family members are not appropriate. Haddox stated often times these children have only know a home life of parents using drugs, often thinking this is the normal life of every child. Assistance through the DHHR is available for these children for clothing replacement and other items the children may need.
Catherine Sayre of Prestera Mental Health Center discussed how often times drug and alcohol abuse/addiction is often referred to as the elephant in the living room that families walk around and ignore. She said they often don't want to admit the elephant, being drug addiction, is even present.
Wrapping up the seminar was Rex Troy, safety officer for Pleasant Valley Hospital who presented information about the decontamination unit at PVH which is used for meth lab decontamination as well as other chemical exposure. The unit was dedicated this fall and helps not only decontaminate incoming patients, but protects patients and staff inside the hospital from being exposed to hazardous chemicals, including those used in making meth.
Diana Riddle of the heath department and anti-drug coalition said she felt the audience was very attentive and eager to learn about how to help the community. Riddle said it's hoped that in the next few months a town hall meeting can be held for the general public to hear a presentation on meth labs as well as support groups in the area that are available for alcohol and drug addiction. These plans will be announced by the Mason County Anti-Drug Coalition when finalized.
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