Community Holds Forum on Dangers of Meth

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AKRON, Ohio -- It's a growing epidemic, something police say is being used more than heroin and cocaine combined. Wednesday night, experts in Akron educated the public about the dangers of methamphetamine.

Police in Akron have busted more than 125 meth labs so far this year.

Concerned residents attended a seminar to learn more about methamphetamine at a community forum inside the auditorium of the Akron-Summit County Public Library in downtown Akron.

As part of the presentation, Akron police officers demonstrated how a simple backpack could also be the perfect place to hide a modern day meth lab.

"It interested me once I saw that it can be found in a plastic bottle, a Pepsi bottle or any plastic bottle...I have four teenagers in the home and that's a concern to me," said concerned parent Linda Wilkerson.

"Because of the neighborhood I live in, there's a lot of drugs and crime and I'm just interested in the meth thing...about how it's made and if they can give pointers on how I can tell what a meth house would be," said concerned Akron resident Vickie Baker.

Officers explained that meth is made with common household products like cold medicine, batteries, acids and solvents. They say it is now quicker to make, needs fewer chemicals, and meth labs are easier to conceal. They explained how the high can last up to 15 hours and can be 20 times more powerful than cocaine. They also showed how it quickly ravages the body.

"The problem is folks get violent and they do a lot of crazy things. In Utah, earlier this year, a woman under the effects of methamphetamine put her toddlers in the bathtub and shot them," explained Capt. Hylton Baker with the Summit County Sheriff's Office.

Wednesday morning, next door in Portage County, police found 15 and 17-year-old runaway girls in a suspected meth house.

"As a police officer, this is the youngest I've seen, as somebody, you know, using meth at 15 or 17 years old...that is definitely a concern for us," said Sgt. Matt McCarty with Brimfield Township police.

"It's a slow suicide, is what it really amounts to," said John Saros, executive director for Summit County Children Services. He says meth is becoming a growing problem for the agency.

"What it does to the ability of the parents to care for their children, it can result in severe instances of neglect and the parents themselves, their health is certainly in danger and then the health of the child as well," said Saros.

Officials say Akron, by far, leads the state in the number of meth labs taken off the street.