Sheriff: Meth problem getting worse in Lexington County

LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - It's easy to make and it's highly explosive. Lexington County Sheriff James Metts says the methamphetamine problem in his county is getting worse.

"Meth has really exploded in the past five to ten years," said Metts.

The numbers prove it. In 2009, Lexington County busted 26 meth labs. In less than two months into 2010, deputies have already busted three.

Metts says meth dealers like Lexington County because they can buy the products in the more urban areas and they have the privacy of making the drugs in rural areas.

Cosette Hardee works with meth addicts at the county's behavior health center, LRADAC.

"Meth is very dangerous," said Hardee. "There is a very high rate of fatalities due to the fact that it is such an intense stimulant."

But it's not only dangerous for users. Sheriff Metts says they sometimes find children in the homes where meth is made.

"Young children who are exposed to these chemicals that often times we can't even be exposed to until we get into the proper gear," said Metts.

It's just another reason Hardee wants to work with deputies to get meth out of homes.

"It's extremely important that Lexington County officials cooperate and help us and assist us with all the training they have to put the pieces together and track this down," said Hardee.

Lexington County is stepping up patrols in their problem areas. Metts says meth is a big problem in the rural areas of the county such as Gaston, Pelion and Gilbert.

But tracking it down can be hard and that's why Lexington County wants your help.

Metts says there are warning signs that a meth dealer lives near you. He says to watch for a lot of cars coming in and out of the house, be aware if there are strong odors coming out of home and often times the dealers will leave items they use to make the drugs outside such as buckets and batteries.

If you think a meth dealer lives near you, call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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