The federal government is cutting off funds to help states clean up the mess left behind by methamphetamine labs, raising concerns about the cost local governments will have to shoulder to avert health risks.
In Oklahoma, the state Bureau of Narcotics estimates it will have to shell out between $600,000 and $800,000 this year to pay for chemical disposal after meth labs are broken up, Fox 25 in Oklahoma City reports. The state claims the number of meth labs soared to 818 last year, and bureau spokesman Mark Woodward said about 200,000 properties in Oklahoma are current or former labs.
"People are getting sick in homes right now and they're blaming it on the pollen and mold and other things out in the air, when they don't realize it could be stuff that's in the filters of their air conditioners because of a previous meth lab that was operating in that apartment or motel room," he told Fox 25.
Other states have also raised concerns after the Drug Enforcement Administration informed them the federal funding had dried up.
To curtail the meth problem, some Oklahoma officials are banking on a legislative proposal that would force residents to get a doctor's prescription before buying medicine containing pseudoephedrine, a key chemical in methamphetamine.