Meth is a toxic, explosive drug that's endangering everyone. It may be glamorized in the television hit series, "Breaking Bad," but authorities say this drug is nothing to joke about. It's actually becoming an epidemic.
This shake and bake one pot method makes manufacturing meth easier than ever. It leads Shreveport-Caddo Narcotics Lt. Carl Townley to believe that here in the ArkLaTex, meth is making a comeback.
“Before, there were gigantic meth labs and it took somebody with knowledge plus they had to steal the chemicals,” said Lt. Townley. Now, I can go to Wal-Mart and buy everything I need to cook meth. We find them in trunk of cars, inside cars, in the wood and we found one abandoned on side of road the other day, in a city park."
The drug has become so main stream it’s now the focal point of the "Breaking Bad" television show. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the show was filmed, people can buy bags of candy designed to look like meth.
Closer to home, former Shreveport mayoral candidate and architect Ward Elmo Bryant was recently arrested for allegedly selling $5,000 worth of meth to an undercover agent.
"Thats a significant amount of ice, 241 grams were actually seized and that’s a cash value of little over $24,000," said Lt. Townley.
Former meth addict “Sarah” said the drug is more popular than ever, especially on college campuses. She said the drug is also used by everybody.
“I have obtained meth from Hispanics, I’ve smoked meth with black people. I don’t think meth discriminates like that. I’ve smoked meth with rich people, I’ve smoked meth with poor people. “
Sarah started using meth while studying at LSU-Shreveport. She said it was a way to keep her weight down, and manage college and work, until it almost killed her.
"I almost did not make it out with my life,” said Sarah. “By the time I was done using drugs, I was having seizures, and I had very poor circulation problems. I had all the makings of an overdose or an all out cardiac event. “
According to local authorities, meth explosions are increasingly common since 30 percent of meth labs are discovered when they catch on fire. They’re telling the public to avoid picking up bottles with residue on the side of the road. Instead, they encourage you to call authorities because they could be a meth lab.
"If they pick it up at the wrong time and it hasn’t completed the reaction, it could blow up or explode. It could cause serious danger burns,” said Dr. Nick Goeders.
Cleaning up meth labs is still expensive. Each time agents locate a lab, it costs about $1,500 of your tax dollars to clean it up; that doesn't include the cost of making the house safe to live in again.
"Meth sticks to everything. So even after they’ve cleaned up after themselves, there's going to be meth in the carpet," said Goeders.
"Just because the lab is gone doesn’t mean the danger is gone. That house has to be gutted inside to make it habitable again,” said Lt. Carl Townley.
Researcher Nick Goeders said the drug causes users to be paranoid, angry, and sometimes psychotic.
"They also hear voices, they’ll say the devil told me to kill my child,” said Goeders. “If a
mother is on a three or four day meth binge, who is taking care of the kids?”
If you’d like to know whether a meth lab has been located in your neighborhood, click here.