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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
December 12, 2003

Kentucky Designated as the First State for DEA Sponsored Clandestine Lab Site Container Program

LabDEC 12--Louisville, KY- As the methamphetamine problem has progressed throughout the United States, law enforcement has designed various programs to effectively protect communities from the hazards posed by these illegal drug labs. As part of a comprehensive assessment of dealing with the contaminated sites where these drugs are produced, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and our counterparts throughout the United States have developed a program to effectively dispose of the contaminated byproducts of drug laboratory sites.

Under the guidance of the DEA, the state of Kentucky has been designated to become the nations first state for a program being instituted in January 2004 to more efficiently dispose of clandestine drug lab site hazardous waste. Previously, anytime law enforcement encountered an illegal drug lab, hazardous waste disposal protocol dictated that a licensed hazardous waste company had to respond to the scene and dismantle the laboratory after the police agency had documented the site and taken necessary samples for prosecution. Based on the average drug laboratory cleanup cost of $2500-$3000 and the hundreds of seized clandestine laboratory sites located in states such as Kentucky, law enforcement resources were being significantly stressed responding to these sites. Most of these drug lab sites are small unsophisticated operations that have put an enormous financial and manpower burden on federal, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country.

During the last ten years, the DEA has trained thousands of state and local police officers to respond, dismantle and prosecute these illegal drugs. The DEA has also provided safety equipment to these officers because these drug labs pose a significant risk to law enforcement and the environment. The Kentucky State Police (KSP) have always been one of the most dependable and proactive agencies that the DEA has partnered with to fight the methamphetamine problem. To institute this Clandestine Laboratory Waste Container Program, the Kentucky State Police agreed to train numerous members of their department with hazardous waste disposal companies to become certified to transport and temporarily store hazardous waste. When the program with the KSP is fully operational, sixteen secure temporary storage container sites will be located throughout the state. The KSP has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to their citizens in attacking this problem and protecting their residents. This program will continue to maintain the highest levels of safety for both residents and the environment.

Lab

Starting in January, Kentucky State Police personnel will be able to respond to clandestine drug labs, take necessary samples for investigation, separate hazardous chemicals, dismantle the lab and transport it to the temporary container site. Previously, officers had to wait hours for hazardous waste response teams to respond to the location from long distances resulting in significant financial costs. KSP personnel will be able to dismantle drug labs that weigh less than 125 pounds and the designated hazardous waste contractors will pick up the material at least once a week from the container sites. This will significantly free up law enforcement personnel since they won't have to wait on site for hazardous materials teams to arrive.

If this program is successful, it will be implemented in numerous states struggling with the burden of clandestine drug laboratories.

For information on methamphetamine or other DEA programs visit www.dea.gov

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