Illinois State Police announce formation of Six Dedicated Methamphetamine Response Teams
Respond to Governor's call for a proactive approach in the battle against methamphetamine.
MT. VERNON, IL - Continuing with the Blagojevich Administration's commitment to combat the proliferation of methamphetamine throughout Illinois, the Illinois State Police (ISP) today announced the formation of six Dedicated Methamphetamine Response Teams responsible for investigating, seizing, and dismantling clandestine drug laboratories. ISP will exclusively dedicate these teams to fighting the increasing production of methamphetamine in Illinois.
"These officers will be on the front line in our fight to more effectively and efficiently address the escalating methamphetamine problem in all areas of Illinois," Governor Blagojevich said about the ISP announcement, "Meth is like no drug Illinois has ever seen, and we must be vigilant in reducing its usage and shutting down dangerous production labs."
The utilization of these six Dedicated Methamphetamine Response Teams will provide more efficient training, equipment deployment, and medical monitoring costs, as well as increase response coverage throughout the state, increase the number of methamphetamine laboratories seized, and most importantly, reduce the high cost of methamphetamine lab waste removal. The new teams will also allow the ISP to:
- Free up Metropolitan Enforcement Group (MEG) and drug task force operations to investigate other drugs which commonly pose a threat to their communities.
- Eliminate the number of clandestine laboratory certification classes to allow for existing training resources to be redirected within the lab response teams, thereby increasing expertise and effectiveness.
- Reduce the need for the overall number of annual OSHA medical exams from more than 150 to 56, resulting in an annual savings of $38,000.
- Eliminate the need to have a hazardous waste contractor respond to each meth lab site, thereby resulting in a savings in overtime costs and investigative and/or patrol man-hours lost to site security while awaiting the contractor.
- Adopt a regional container program for the acceptance of methamphetamine lab waste. By having a hazardous waste contractor perform scheduled servicing of secured waste collection stations instead of responding to each and every meth lab seized, the cost for the removal of hazardous meth lab waste will be reduced by 75%.
- Most importantly, increase the number of arrests of methamphetamine producers and place them where they belong, behind bars, thereby removing the dangers and burden they place on our communities.
"Our goal is to provide a safe environment for the citizens of this state," said ISP Director Larry G. Trent, "I believe today's announcement serves as evidence of our commitment and dedication to our communities. The skyrocketing production and use of meth must be effectively addressed, and the ISP will exhaust every resource to ensure this deadly drug never becomes commonplace in our society."
Methamphetamine is highly addictive and the fastest growing drug problem in the United States. In 2000, the ISP dismantled 403 meth labs, in 2004, 959; an overall increase of 125 percent. Prior to recent regulations, the ingredients needed to manufacture meth were easily obtained. As a countermeasure, the Methamphetamine Manufacturing Chemical Retail Sale Control Act, which went into effect January 1, 2005, regulates the display of cold tablets and requires retailers to place some of the products most popular with methamphetamine ingredients - adult-strength cold tablets with ephedrine or pseudoephedrine as their sole active ingredient - behind store counters or in locked cases, limiting the quantity of a single purchase.
Other legislation signed by Governor Blagojevich to address the manufacture of methamphetamine includes HB3882, which creates penalties for individuals whose efforts to manufacture an illegal drug results in a fire or explosion that damages someone else's property. The chemicals used in the production of meth are highly volatile and endanger anyone in close proximity to its production. This danger encompasses not only the children living with these manufacturers, but the surrounding communities as well as the law enforcement officials attempting to combat this epidemic.
In addition, ISP collaborates with the Illinois Department of Human Services, which operates a number of substance abuse treatment programs in targeted counties for at-risk populations.