Crystal methamphetamine usage is rampant in the United States. Truth be told, I never knew much about the drug before seeing the TV show "Breaking Bad". Lately though, it has been very prominent in the news. Apparently, the drug destroys lives and families and ultimately leads the abuser to ruin and chaos.
However, drug abusers aside, all people can be negatively impacted by the drug's creation. You see, this drug is artificial and must be created or "cooked", in a laboratory. Often, these makeshift labs are located in homes and produce dangerous chemicals which can cause negative health issues. Even after the lab is moved from a home, the chemicals may be in carpets, walls and ventilation systems. In other words, you may buy or rent a home that was previously used as a meth lab and have no idea.
Now over in the states the Indiana Office of Technology has announced that it is using the Internet to alert residents if a home has been used to cook meth.
"Hoosier residents wondering if a property has ever been used as a clandestine meth lab, can now find out such information at the IN.gov website http://www.in.gov/meth/. The website offers a newly released repository of data dating back to January 2, 2007. The data includes numerous details regarding the lab, including location information, occurrence reports, case numbers, and the type of meth lab", says the Indiana Office of Technology.
First Sergeant Niki Crawford of the Indiana State Police explains, "this project has been a year in the making, and our partners at IN.gov were a tremendous asset with their knowledge of software available to perform the functions we envisioned for this web application. This project and our partnership support Governor Pence's Roadmap for Indiana by protecting and improving the health, safety and well-being of Hoosier families. We are pleased the public has already found it such a useful tool".
For a property to show up in the search, it must match the following criteria:
- At least 180 days have passed since the seizure of the lab by law enforcement, if the address is a "property" as defined by IC 5-2-6-19(b)
- Locations not defined as "property" will be listed approximately 30 days after the seizure of the lab
- It has been no more than 90 days since the approval of the Qualified Inspector’s Certificate of Illegal Drug Lab Cleanup (form 53276) received from IDEM
- The lab was reported to the Indiana State Police (ISP) either through an ISP criminal incident report or via EPIC 143 report submission by another police agency
- The lab was seized January 1, 2007, or after
While this will not stop people from creating, selling and using the drug, it at least helps protect the innocent. Unfortunately, this is not a federal program, but hopefully adoption of similar programs become widespread. This is a great example of technology having a positive impact on both society and health; the Indiana government deserves a round of applause.