Posted: Feb 24, 2011 10:30 PM by Ashley Rodrigue
Updated: Feb 24, 2011 10:30 PM
NAPOLEANVILLE- Federal money to clean up hazardous meth labs has been cut.
The Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, tells News 2, "DEA anticipates that funding for the clean-up of meth labs will be exhausted this week. Decisions about additional funding in the future rests with the United States Congress."
That means local law enforcement is left to fend for themselves.
Because the chemicals used to make the drug are so dangerous, specially-trained people have to do it. The DEA used to foot the minimum $3,000 bill-per-lab with grant money, but without it, no clean-ups can be approved and fewer busts can be carried out.
Assumption Sheriff Mike Waguespack said, "We're cutting our costs and we understand the U.S. budget situation. We understand the focus on cutting costs, and I certainly agree with that, however, this is a necessary cost."
Sheriff's offices across the country are crying out for help, but also warning methamphetamine abusers that this doesn't mean the fight is over.
Maj. Don Linzy with the Sumner County Sheriff's Office in Tennessee said, "We can't walk away from it, so we have no option but to go ahead and clean things up and it's gonna be coming out of taxpayer money."
Waguespack said, "This is something that's gonna fall on the backs of local law enforcement and there are gonna be certain areas, certain rural area, certain poor areas where the epidemic is much greater that law enforcement will not be able to fund it. They will go broke trying to fight it."
Waguespack says he's planning to contact the area's congressional delegation in hopes of getting the money back.
News 2 will have more on how this funding cut affects your budget at home, and a look at the overall meth problem in the Baton Rouge area, in a three-part series, "The Meth Effect," starting Monday on at 10 p.m.