The drug methamphetamine has been popping up all over the place lately, with four meth labs found in the county so far since only the beginning of the year.
Most recently, Lebanon police meth technician Chris Luna said two meth labs were found last week; one at Timberline Campground on Murfreesboro Road in Lebanon and the other in a backpack in an abandoned vehicle.
Additionally, meth labs have become more common in area motels and hotels, as Luna said they located one at Knight’s Inn in Lebanon and another in a small motel behind the former Ellie Mae’s Bar at 941 Carthage Highway within the past two weeks.
Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan said the influx of meth labs, not only in Lebanon but also in the entire county, was a concern.
He said meth labs could affect everyone from those people who have to respond to the scenes where they’re located to children ingesting and being around the harsh chemicals.
“What bothers me is seeing all the dangers it causes, for the responding officers and the people staying in the motels that we’re finding them at. It’s dangerous,” Bryan said. “The numbers are increasing so much something needs to be addressed, probably at a state level.”
Bryan said numerous pieces of legislation concentrating on meth, and materials used to make it, would be seen in Nashville in the form of House and Senate bills to attempt to alleviate the meth problems in the state.
According to Bryan, the Sheriff’s Association is involved in trying to get a bill passed to require a prescription to purchase pseudoephedrine, an ingredient used in meth and also a common over-the-counter decongestant.
Other pieces of legislation offer the option to put a restriction on the amount that can be bought.
Overall, Bryan said he believed the legislation was good and something that needed to be considered to end the meth influx.
“It’s bad stuff, and too many people are going to get hurt,” Bryan said. “It affects too many people.”
Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen agreed and said meth manufacturing has definitely picked up in the last two to three years.
Bowen said the dangers of the drug and the manufacturing process were obviously the biggest concern, but the department also has to spend thousands of dollars in order to properly equip and train themselves to be prepared.
“It costs us significant money in preparation, but with the dangers and hazards there’s no way around it,” Bowen said.
Bowen also said he didn’t see the meth boom slowing down.
“The system we have in place is not working, something definitely needs to be looked at,” Bowen said.
With legislation proposed for pseudoephedrine to be available by prescription only, Bowen said he thought that might have to be an option lawmakers go to.
“Right now the legitimate use versus the criminal use, I think way more people are buying pseudoephedrine for the criminal use, and it needs to be balanced,” Bowen said. “The bottom line is that we’ve got to do something, you can tell by what’s going on that what’s in place now isn’t working.”