- Associated Press - Monday, January 23, 2017

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - The rising issue of methamphetamine in Muncie has left over 60 houses classified as unsafe to live in because of contamination.

Over 100 other houses have now been cleaned by owners and a coalition has formed to address the issue, The Star Press (https://tspne.ws/2iWqzs5 ) reported.

According to an assessment made by the Indiana Prevention Resource Center at Indiana University, methamphetamine in Muncie is causing many issues for the city, such as housing abandonment. It’s also straining budgets for police, judicial, child protection and emergency services budgets.

Environmental health specialist Brodie Cook found that in 2016, police reported 26 residential meth labs to the county Health Department. He said that number has dropped significantly from previous years, including from 45 in 2015, 47 in 2014 and 38 in 2013.

Cook said that nearly 100 dump sites were reported in 2016, compared to more than 160 in 2015. Dump sites are places where a meth lab, meth waste, precursors or a combination of these are found outside of a dwelling. Cook said the sites normally consist of materials being discarded along neighborhood alleys or roadside ditches.

Coalition chairwoman Annette Phillips said the group is looking into how to the address the problem.

“We needed to understand the problem better ourselves before we started mobilizing and doing anything,” Phillips said. “Now that we have the information back from the assessment, we are looking at and discussing that and working toward an action plan.”

One of coalition’s main goals will be to raise money to rehab methamphetamine houses.

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Information from: The Star Press, https://www.thestarpress.com

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