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Meth lab 101

Ryan Graff

Amid rising methamphetamine rates in western Colorado, the Garfield County sheriff’s office announced a series of community methamphetamine lab awareness classes last week. The number of methamphetamine cases the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team handled in Garfield county rose from five in 2001 to 50 in 2003. During the same time period, the number of cocaine cases the organization handled grew from 21 in 2001 to 51 in 2003, according to TRIDENT numbers. TRIDENT’s numbers for 2004 are incomplete because of a five-month break for reorganization, but the number of methamphetamine cases surpassed the number of cocaine cases last year for the first time, with 12 methamphetamine cases and four cocaine cases. “We are seeing more of it,” Vallario said. The Colorado Regional Community Policing Institute will teach the classes next week from Parachute to Carbondale. “People need to be aware of (methamphetamine),” Vallario said.The seminars will focus on teaching citizens what methamphetamine is, the effect it has on communities, and what to do if they find it, said Vallario. Vallario took the course his office is now sponsoring. “When I saw it, I was overwhelmed by a lot of it,” he said. “The effects on the kids is really what motivated me (to bring the classes to Garfield County).”Vallario said that kids born on methamphetamine tend to have lasting medical problems. He also said that kids are often exposed to toxins in homes where methamphetamine is being produced, or “cooked.”Vallario recalled one story from the seminar he attended about child mistaking Coleman fuel, which is sometimes used to cook methamphetamine, for Gatorade because it was in a Gatorade container in the refrigerator. The child drank the fuel and died three days later, Vallario said. “This is nasty stuff,” he said. “Everybody needs to get together and get it out of our community.”


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