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Vanderburgh County Meth Lab Program. Dwayne Caldwell, REHS. Scope of this Presentation. History Building our program Why our program works Future needs. Program History. Vanderburgh County Meth Lab Program. Meth production has been a problem in our area Rural area – places to hide

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Presentation Transcript
scope of this presentation
Scope of this Presentation
  • History
  • Building our program
  • Why our program works
  • Future needs
vanderburgh county meth lab program4
Vanderburgh County Meth Lab Program
  • Meth production has been a problem in our area
    • Rural area – places to hide
    • Rural area – anhydrous available
    • Demographics – working class whites
    • Demographics – tight knit community
    • Economics – job loss
    • Transportation - highways N-S-E-W
  • First began to hear about meth in the early 1990’s
  • Majority of instances were trafficking
    • Mostly Mexican meth
    • Associated with motorcycle clubs
  • 1998 Three labs found in the county
    • At this point most information and training was for LEO and fire service
    • Not much thought was given to environmental health consequences
  • Early 2000’s began to see presentations on production at IEHA meetings
    • Still no thought of clean up
    • 2002 county had 111 labs
  • 2003 IEHA sent a letter to ISDH requesting a meeting
    • Needed to address long term issues
  • 2005: IC 5-2-15Labs to be reported to Local Health Departments
    • Some LEA did not know about reporting
    • Some LEA did not see the need
      • Points out need for education
  • 2005 IEHA Produces the “After the Bust” guidelines
    • These guidelines given to property owner
  • 2005 sat on DCS committee for Drug Endangered Children Response Protocol
    • Focused on medical needs not EH issues
  • 2005 State Health Commissioner sent letter to LHD & Hospitals
    • Focuses on medical needs of children in meth houses & DEC protocols
    • Still no thought to Environmental Health issues
  • 2007 Title 318 comes
    • Decontamination now required
    • Created “Qualified Inspectors”
  • LHD varied widely (and still do) in their approach to the new rule
  • VCHD choose to pursue aggressively
    • The hazard represented by the labs
    • Skilled in dealing environmental investigation
    • No one else stepped forward
    • Opportunity for interagency work
    • Raise the LHD’s community profile
    • Adapt or die
building our program11
Building Our Program
  • Education
    • Others
    • Ourselves
  • Defining the process
    • Doing what needs done
  • Becoming a player
    • Earning our bona fides
education others
Education - Others
  • August 2007 – Held a information/ discussion meeting
  • Invited every stakeholder
  • Steve Mojonnier graciously came
    • Presented information on 318
    • Allowed discussion on everyone’s role
    • Solicited information on
      • How to achieve our goals
      • Assistance others could give

Meth Equals Death

Meth Lab Clean Up Requirement Training

IDEM Rule 318 IAC 1 regulates the clean up of properties contaminated

by the operation of

clandestine meth labs. Examples of the rule requirements include;

certification of workers, property inspections,

decontamination requirements,

transferring property ownership,

demolition of property and reporting requirements

Join us for a discussion on how 318 IAC -1 affects

>Govt. Agencies >Health Departments

>Law Enforcement >Fire Service

>Environmental Companies >Property Owners

>Hotel Operators >Others

Date: August 9, 2007, 10:00-12:00 Local

Location: Vanderburgh Co. Health Dept, Second Floor Class Room

420 Mulberry, Evansville, IN

Speaker: Steve Mojonnier from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management

Please RSVP to Dwayne Caldwell, REHS, PEM at; or (812) 435-5620

education others14
Education - Others

Agencies will develop a operational rhythm and tunnel vision

This is what we do

This is who we do it with

We had to insert ourselves into the process

Without being rude

Without the assistance of others we couldn’t accomplish our mission

meeting outcome
Meeting Outcome
  • Concerns raised
    • Law enforcement – affecting investigations
    • Fire service – abandoned dwellings presenting arson targets
    • Property owners – costs
    • Public health – Should we be involved? Is this really a public health issue?
meeting outcome16
Meeting Outcome
  • Positive Outcomes
    • Others now knew we were a player
    • We had a chance to learn what we did not know
    • We had a chance to teach what we did know
    • Some agencies at the meeting had never met on this issue
    • Created a team mentality
education ourselves
Education - Ourselves
  • Not much written at the time on clandestine drug labs EH issues
  • Had to call Steve often
  • Advice from other agencies
  • Attending trainings meant for other agencies
    • IDEM
    • EPD
    • ISP
    • EFD
education ourselves18
Education - Ourselves
  • Web Research
    • LHD responses varied greatly
    • Which agency dealt with labs varied greatly as well
    • Looked for best practices
  • On the job training
    • Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the possible
    • We kept what worked and tossed what didn’t
the health department s role
The Health Department’s Role
  • Receive and Archive Occurrence Reports
  • Notify Property Owner and Issue Order for Decontamination
  • Information Sharing/Education
    • Address Property Owner Concerns
    • Assist Qualified Inspector/Environmental Company with information Gathering
  • Receive and Archive Certificates of Decontamination
  • Enforcement
the health department s role22
The Health Department’s Role
  • Notification and Order
    • Contaminated properties
      • Dwellings used in manufacturing of controlled substance
      • Sent by Certified & Regular mail to owner listed on Treasure's Office website
      • Notifies owner that
        • A lab was on the property
        • States corrective actions needed and timeframe for corrections
        • Typically 30 Days
the health department s role23
The Health Department’s Role
  • If the owner does not respond within a reasonable period we attempt to contact them again
  • If an owner refuses to comply we work with the county prosecutor
    • They have scarier letterhead
  • If an owner cannot be found we may attempt to have it permanently vacated
    • Keep county aware due to tax sales
  • Compliance has increased each year
    • Attribute this to education and action
the health department s role24
The Health Department’s Role
  • Information Sharing
    • Provide information on codes, contractors and methods to affected property owners
    • Provide case specific information to qualified inspectors and environmental companies
  • Receive Certificates of Decontamination
    • Provided by the Qualified Inspector
    • Kept on file
    • Public Record
the health department s role25
The Health Department’s Role
  • Enforcement
    • LHD is charged with protecting the public health and the environment
    • Failure to comply with a LHD order is a Class B misdemeanor
    • Citations may be issued
    • Referral to County Attorney or Prosecutors' Office
    • Each day is a separate violation
why our program works27
Why Our Program Works

Let’s be clear that “works” is a relative term

  • Compliance is up but not universal
  • From first letter to Certificate of Decontamination takes time
    • Average two months
  • We do not have all the resources we could use
  • Still tweaking the process
why our program works28
Why Our Program Works
  • Because we have worked to become a member of the team
  • Reached out to other agencies
    • LEOs, Fire Service, Building Commission
      • Offered support
      • Attend their trainings
      • Email information
      • Give feedback
    • Make contact on non-meth issues
why our program works29
Why Our Program Works
  • Because we continually educate ourselves
    • Any and all trainings
    • Check with partners for new info or trends
    • Regularly check the web
      • Google news alert “meth lab clean up”
why our program works30
Why Our Program Works
  • Because we continually educate others
    • We have printed materials available
    • We have cultivated a good working relationship with our friends in the media We speak to as many groups as possible
      • Neighborhood Associations
      • Professional groups
      • Social clubs
    • Cornerstone of the effort is our Drug House Training
drug house training
Drug House Training
  • Evansville has a Drug House Ordinance
  • If a tenant breaks the law owner must evict them
  • If not the owner is fined
  • Builds a list of offenders
    • “No Rent List”
drug house training32
Drug House Training
  • Once a year we hold a training for property owners
  • EPD Det. Whitler explains
    • How meth is made
    • Signs of a lab
    • What antics to expect from your average meth head
drug house training33
Drug House Training
  • Local attorney Jeff Wilhite explains
    • Background checks
    • Record keeping
    • Lease development
    • Landlord rights
drug house training34
Drug House Training
  • I get to explain how I am going to make spend a bunch of cash
    • Guess who doesn't win Mr. Congeniality
  • They get quite angry
  • We have fashioned the training this way for a reason
  • Being included is a big win for us
why our program works35
Why Our Program Works
  • Finally our program works because we have made it a priority
    • We realize this is an important environmental health threat
    • Go high speed/low drag
      • We expect to get results
    • Devote time & effort
future needs37
Future Needs
  • I do not see meth cookers beating their HCL generators into plowshares
  • I do see a need for Environmental health to take a bigger role
  • Our future needs closely resemble the needs we had at the start.
future needs38
Future Needs
  • Educational materials aimed at meth’s Environmental Health issues
    • PSAs
    • Printed materials
    • DVDs
  • Model county ordinance
    • Hard for county to enforce state ords
  • Environmental Health presence at all state and federal level meth committees
future needs39
Future Needs
  • Stronger ties with other involved agencies
  • The QI class and other trainings given to EHS
  • Field screening technology
    • Colorimetric test kits
    • Lab samples
  • Insurance companies to cover cleanup
    • Covered in home owners or as rider
words to live by
Words to Live By
  • Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt