Manitoba

Program aims to curb meth labs

Winnipeg police have launched a program in an effort to keep sightings of crystal meth labs in the city at their already low levels.

Winnipeg police have launched a program in an effort to keep sightings of crystal meth labs in the city at their already low levels.

The goal of the Meth Watch program is to get retailers to recognize what clandestine meth lab operators purchase — typically large quantities of solvents and cold remedies — in order to manufacture the addictive drug.

"This is a preventative thing we are tying to do and get in partnership with all the different individuals to help us out to recognize the sale of all the products," Sgt. Rod Hourd said Wednesday.

Meth Watch Program objectives:


       
  • Increase awareness by retail employees and management of methamphetamine production and how precursor chemicals are diverted from legal products into illegal manufacture of methamphetamine.
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  •  Promote co-operation and teamwork between retailers and law enforcement professionals.
  •    
  •   Reduce methamphetamine production without disrupting the availability of legal products.

Methamphetamine labs are notoriously volatile environments. The chemical agents employed in them may ignite or explode if mixed or stored improperly.

Other chemicals used in the process pose health risks such as dizziness, nausea, disorientation, lack of coordination, pulmonary edema, serious respiratory problems, severe chemical burns, and damage to internal organs.

Det. Mike MacKinnon says there is a plentiful supply of crystal meth in Winnipeg but most of the drug is imported.

The new program is aimed at keeping the dangerous labs from being set up in the city.

Last October, police dismantled a suspected meth lab on the outskirts of the city's Tuxedo neighbourhood. When officers went into the home, they said five grams of crystal methamphetamine, chemicals, beakers, test tubes and other glassware was found.

Prior to that, the last public reporting of a meth lab seizure was in May 2008. Police raided a third-floor suite at the Madison Memorial Lodge on Evanson Street.   

City retailers who would like to enrol in the Meth Watch program are asked to call 204-986-6322. There is no cost to the retailer or merchant and all associated costs and materials are supplied by the Winnipeg Police Service.

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