New rules protect West Tennessee children exposed to meth - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New rules protect West Tennessee children exposed to meth

By Justin Hanson - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

TIPTON COUNTY, TN (WMC-TV) - Five West Tennessee counties are coming together to protect children exposed to methamphetamines and other drugs.

Action News 5 was there as Fayette County deputies busted two meth labs in just two weeks.

So far, six labs have been busted there this year, compared to none in 2008.  Officials blame the increase on the new "shake and bake" method that allows people to make meth in soda bottles.

"It's easy to do it," Fayette County Sheriff Bobby Riles said. "They don't have to have a stationary lab. They don't have to cook in their house."

Even though children weren't present at these recent busts, police say that's not always the case.  Earlier this year in Tipton County, an active meth lab was found just feet away from a child's play area. 

Now, in an effort to protect children, officials in Lauderdale, Tipton, Fayette, Hardeman and McNairy counties have adopted a new protocol that protects children exposed to meth and other dangerous drugs. 

From the initial call for medical care to collection of evidence and child placement, these new rules make sure children are safe.

"A lot of times there is neglect, oftentimes they are not receiving food, basic necessities, in addition to health risks involved in exposure to meth," said Amanda Hopkins with the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center in Hardeman County.

Because meth has no boundaries, officials say the new multi-county approach will also help prosecute those who cook the drugs. 

"They want to try to get away and they think crossing county lines makes them invisible.  Well, it doesn't," Riles said.  

The new protocol includes requires the Tennessee Department of Children's services to respond to every scene where there's an endangered child.   Once there, agents specifically document how the drugs affect the child with pictures and detailed notes.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly