By Alan Collins
SHELBY COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - The Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force is alarmed at the rise of meth labs in 2010. "In comparison to last year, up until this time we had two. We have eleven this year," Lt. Chris George with the Task Force said.
George says the rise is a strain on the county's resources. "We send in five or six investigators for the safety of everyone involved. You have to have that many just to go knock on the door to say 'what's going on here?'" George said.
In Jefferson County, Chief Deputy Randy Christian says the last year, there was a drop in meth labs but this is changing with the new year. "There is a new method we are starting to see. They call it shake and bake, what the drug dealers call it. Can't make as big as amount as they used to but they can make it quicker," Christian said.
Christian says the biggest problem with the rise in meth production is regardless of how small, it leads to a rise in crime. "We see burglary and thefts go up. It's not uncommon for the people using meth to stay up 72 hours and just go on a crime spree," Christian said.
Law enforcement in Shelby County does not know if it is the economy causing the growing number of meth labs, but to combat it, they know they will depend on the public.
"Odd behavior. Staying up all night. A lot of cars, going in and out of the residence you may not have seen before."George said.
George says Shelby County will launch a new education program aimed at users and the effects of meth on them.