The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
By: Shirley Linder, Quill Editor
Henderson County residents listened to some cold, hard facts about meth on September 27th, at a program sponsored by the United Methodist Churches of the area, hosted by Pastor Carol Stufflebeam.
Sheriff Mark Lumbeck, who began the program, stated "until 5 years ago we didn't know Henderson County had a meth problem." According to Lumbeck there have been 35 meth labs closed and 119 meth arrests made in Henderson County.
He said his department was in the drug task force until finances be came prohibitive, at which time the county board approved dropping out of the task force and using the Illinois State Police Response Team.
Statistics from the Illinois State Police website on meth labs seized: 1997-1999-0; 2000-4; 2001-10; 2002-6; 2003-4; 2004-15 and 2005-4.
Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Brad Lacey, Pat Fraiser, and Trooper Seth Knox, members of the ISP Zone 4 Quincy Meth Response Team presented the program.
A meth lab may be stationary, such as those found in homes, or they may be mobile. Certain methods of meth production permit the „cookš to produce methamphetamine in their vehicle while traveling down the highway.
Meth can be used by drinking, eating, inhaling the smoke or injecting.
There is very little Meth shipped in, most is cooked in mom and pop operations, according to state troopers. The chemicals used in making Meth are highly explosive and flammable.
If you should find a lab, you are advised to exit the area at once and call law enforcement. Do not touch or handle any suspected apparatus, ingredients, or waste. If indoors, do not turn on/off any light switches or any electrical appliances or items.
The troopers advised if you see a cooler or any container along the roadside or in the woods, you should not pick it up as it might contain Meth equipment.
Short term effects of meth users include: paranoia; intense high; hallucinations; increased heart rate; convulsions; violent behavior; insomnia; dry, itchy skin; loss of appetite, weight loss; acne, sores and loss of teeth.
Effects on the mind include: panic, anxiousness, nervousness, moodiness and irritability, false sense of confidence and power and severe depression.
Long term effects include: liver, kidney and lung disorders; brain damage; hallucinations; permanent psychological problems; malnutrition; poor coping abilities; lowered resistance to illnesses and heart attack/stroke.
Following the power point presentation Dave Cavander, 36, of Burlington, IA was introduced by Master Sargeant Lacey.
Cavander is a recovering meth addict that once lived in Oquawka and was arrested on meth charges in Henderson County. He began using drugs at the age of 11 and used meth for the first time in 1992. On October 4, 2004, he will have been clean for 2 years.
Cavander said, "It messes with your mind and you are paranoid, everyone is out to get you." He said it not only affects the user but family and friends as well. He recalled when his mother was allowed to visit after his arrest; her words to him were "Now I know you are safe."
Cavander advised never approach a meth user because they are dangerous. He said while he was using he carried two guns and was not afraid to use them. He said meth users become violent and there is a lot of fighting and abuse. He remembers awaking one time and his girl friend was on top of him ready to stab him with a pair of scissors.
Meth consumed his entire life, he was miserable and often thought of suicide. He wished many times he would just die.
Cavander says the key to stopping meth is prevention. Lock up those anhydrous ammonia tanks and don‚t leave them setting in the fields.
"Meth is a major problem in Henderson County and users are from all walks of life", said Cavander.