It's been dubbed the Meth Capital of New York. Officials say Chemung County has more meth labs than anywhere else in the state. Authorities have been cracking down on the drug, and Wednesday night they informed the community on what to do should they come across a meth lab. YNN's Crystal Cranmore was at the meeting and has more on the signs neighbors should be looking out for.
CHEMUNG COUNTY, N.Y. -- For residents in Chemung County, it's a site that's becoming more familiar – meth labs.
"We had one in our community recently, a month ago," said Jeff Waters.
Until last year, county officials say on average they would see three to four meth labs a year. But already this year, they've uncovered about eight. Officials say the county has become the meth capital of the state.
“It's pretty surprising to find that we're the first in the state. It’s not something to be proud of,” said Waters.
The growing trend has prompted the sheriff's office along with the Golden Glow Volunteer Fire Company to put on an informational session for neighbors to help them recognize the drug and its dangers. Officials say one factor that could be adding to its popularity is how easy the drug is to make.
“It’s not a traditional lab set up. It could be just a few pots and pans and household chemicals,” said Captain Sean Holley, Chemung County Sheriff's Office.
Meth manufacturers are using a combination of products - some that are found right at home like salt and ephedrine, which is a key ingredient in Sudafed. Officials say the community should be on the lookout for these products, in addition to seeing a large number of cold tablet containers or smelling unusual odors.
These days, meth manufacturers are using what is known as a “one pot method” to cook all the ingredients, making it easy to produce in secret and that much more dangerous.
“It can explode, cause fires, and inhalation exposure can cause a lot of problems that way,” said Holley.
Residents as young as 14 years old sat in on Wednesday's session, and say they found it to be informative.
“I think that since people are aware of these meth labs, people will look for them and say, ‘Oh hey I smell something I shouldn’t be smelling, maybe I should call 911,’” said Jackie Plummer, a resident.
Authorities say since the uptick this year, they've been doing everything in their power to crack down on meth labs and ultimately reverse what's become a frightening trend.