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Editorial: Online list helps ease methamphetamine fear


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When you buy a house or rent an apartment, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether it was used as a meth lab or that there was a meth lab next door. Now the state is offering some online peace of mind.

A new Indiana State Police database gives Hoosiers information about where clandestine meth labs have been found around the state, including those discovered in Johnson County.

A total of 85 local locations dating back to 2007 are listed on the website, far fewer than most other counties.

 

The website (meth.in.gov) offers important information to potential homebuyers, homeowners, property investors or renters who might not know that the dangerous chemicals once were found on the property in question, ISP Meth Suppression Commander Sgt. Niki Crawford said. It also might apply to those considering buying a used vehicle, as some meth labs have been found in cars.

Long-term exposure to chemicals used in making methamphetamine can lead to cancer, organ damage and numerous other health problems, particularly to children, according to the National Board of Realtors website.

If the chemicals aren’t properly removed by a hazardous materials team, they can permeate nearly every surface of a home or other property, such as a vehicle, and remain long after the meth lab is gone, the board stated.

The link lists properties that previously were identified by law enforcement as the location of a clandestine meth lab.

Users can find the date of seizure, county, street address, type of lab and location of the lab on individual listings. In addition, labs seized in vehicles will have the vehicle identification number listed if the lab was seized after 2012.

The state police decided to make the database public because state police officers have been collecting the data for years for internal purposes and had it readily available, Crawford said.

Former meth lab sites where the property owners have shown proof the house or apartment has been properly decontaminated are not on the online list. Current listings can be removed after the state police receives a Certificate of Illegal Drug Lab Cleanup from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

The listings include only seized meth labs that appear on state police criminal incident reports or reports sent to them by another law enforcement agency, Crawford said.

Specific timelines and listing removal requirements are in House Bill 1141, which was signed into law last month by Gov. Mike Pence.

The law and the database are a good protection for Hoosiers. The information will allow homebuyers and renters to make better decisions about where to relocate to and will give existing residents greater peace of mind.

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