Maine awarded grant to fight drug usage | News

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Maine awarded grant to fight drug usage

HOULTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency has been awarded $905,102 grant to combat the state's widespread drug problem. The two year grant is from the U.S. Department of Justice and will be used to assist MDEA in investigating the sale and manufacturing of methamphetamine in Maine.

In 2014, MDEA has responded to 26 meth labs, six more than last year. Of those 26 meth labs, 11 of those were in Aroostook County. Officials fear that it's getting easier to set up a meth lab causing the numbers of them to spike statewide.

MDEA supervisor Shawn Gillen said it doesn't require a chemistry background, drug producers just need the ingredients, none of which require a prescription.

"You can make it in a soda bottle and relatively quick a couple hours later you could have methamphetamine. It's very concerning," said Gillen.

Former MDEA Commander Darrell Crandall said this new method of manufacturing meth is quite easy, but if something goes wrong, it can be a catastrophic nightmare.

"Being done essentially in one vessel with all the ingredients being added together all at once, it's very easy. Frankly, anyone that can read and purchase the ingredients can do it. The problem of course is to be able to doing it without killing yourself or somebody else is not always the same thing," said Crandall.

Maine has put Pseudoephedrine behind the pharmacy counter and customers must have their ID scanned to purchase the drug, which is a main ingredient in meth.


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