City will host meth I.D. workshop

BUCKHANNON – What signs and symptoms do methamphetamine users display? What types of health hazards can result from exposure to an area in which methamphetamine is being cooked? What steps must be taken to clean a property once methamphetamine has been manufactured on its premises?

Those questions and more will be answered Monday at a special methamphetamine identification and contamination abatement workshop sponsored by the city of Buckhannon, city officials announced recently.

The workshop will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in the gymnasium of the Stockert Youth Center, located on Main Street in Buckhannon.

Buckhannon Police Chief Matt Gregory will emcee the event, which will begin with a presentation by Patrolman First Class Nick Caynor of the Buckhannon Police Department, who became a certified meth lab technician through the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 2013. Caynor will lead a variety of discussions and exercises aimed at aiding residents – including landlords – in identifying telltale signs of meth manufacture and usage.

Although the workshop will especially benefit landlords, the general public is invited and encouraged to attend, Gregory said.

“It’s not just for landlords – it’s for anyone who has an interest in learning more about methamphetamine,” Gregory said Tuesday. “Meth use affects the entire community, so it’s been designed as a community education workshop to highlight the issues we as a community face as a result of the meth problem.”

Following Caynor’s presentation, Brandon Lewis – a chemist with the state’s Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Program Division of the Department of Health and Human Resources – will discuss the hazards associated with meth residue and how to properly decontaminate areas in which meth was used or manufactured.

Lewis has more than 15 years of experience in meth identification and contamination abatement, according to a memo City Attorney Dave McCauley recently sent to city personnel announcing the workshop.

In early January, Lewis contacted McCauley about partnering with the city to put on a methamphetamine identification and abatement workshop. The idea came after reading about Buckhannon’s efforts to pass an ordinance that would have adopted the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 guidelines for cleaning up methamphetamine laboratories in residences where the drug was believed to have been made or used.

At its Jan. 16 meeting, City Council ultimately voted to table the ordinance after learning from Lewis that the state Legislature is considering a similar piece of legislation with substantially stiffer penalties.

“Mr. Lewis is well-versed with the federal, EPA March 2013 meth contamination abatement guidelines, as he served on the federal advisory panel,” McCauley noted in the memo. “He also has been instrumental in the development of the state of West Virginia’s rules and regulations.

“I believe attendees will find this workshop to be very hands-on, and informative as our community continues to wage its own war on drugs,” McCauley added. “Everyone is urged to attend.”

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