Methamphetamine labs joined the list of neighborhood hazards years ago. The labs have been popping up in the garages and basements of houses, in motel rooms, vehicles and anywhere chemicals can be “cooked” out of sight to produce the illegal, highly addictive drug.
The toxic chemical residues seep into the ground, walls, carpets and furnishings, posing serious health problems for years thereafter for occupants. For the most part, local authorities and law enforcement agencies have been on their own, crafting legislation to eliminate the makeshift labs and scrounging for resources to clean up and decontaminate meth sites.
Short on funds and with budgets strained, local authorities cannot fight effectively the growth in meth production and addiction by relying as they do now on uncertain funding streams and regulations that vary from one jurisdiction to another.
Thus, legislation introduced last week by state Sens. Frank LaRose and Bill Beagle offers a good opportunity to start developing a comprehensive response. The bill would hold property owners responsible, as several Summit County municipalities do, for meth cleanup costs that state and local agencies currently absorb. It also would push state officials to standardize rules and procedures for identifying and cleaning up meth-contaminated properties. The bill recognizes a widespread problem, afflicting Ohio cities, suburbs and rural areas.