A meth epidemic is spreading across Kentucky and Indiana, wrecking thousands of lives and putting the children of addicts at special risk, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports in the first of a three-part series. Since meth abuse began to accelerate here in the late 1990s, meth users have been filling prisons and jails, creating pockets of toxic waste, overwhelming foster homes with relinquished children, and burdening drug-treatment programs.
Despite years of warnings, Kentucky and Indiana were caught largely unprepared when meth began its ruinous sweep through both states. Eleven other states updated laws as early as 2001 to prevent addicts from buying enough cold and allergy medications to make meth by distilling out the chemical pseudoephedrine. Kentucky and Indiana failed to do likewise, allowing the spread of makeshift meth labs in garages, fields, hotel rooms and nearly anywhere. A Courier-Journal analysis of court records shows meth indictments for manufacturing and trafficking the drug grew across Kentucky to 1,854 this fiscal year, from 336 cases in 1998-99, a 452 percent increase. “Not every state has the opportunity to watch other neighbor states go through this, and Kentucky had Missouri,” said Sherry Green of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws. “The trend has been states tend to wait until the problem was considered more of a crisis situation before they could justify putting resources into it.”