Ashtabula County ranking among the top five counties in Ohio last year for
the discovery of methamphetamine labs...
JEFFERSON — With Ashtabula County ranking among the top five
counties in Ohio last year for the discovery of methamphetamine labs, county
commissioners have supported a task force’s draft of a community awareness
Approved Thursday, the plan describes the efforts law enforcement must take
to educate street officers and citizens about the illegal substance, which
has become popular because some of the ingredients for its production are
widely available over the counter. According to the plan, Ohio has lagged
behind in developing a response to the spread of meth, despite Gov. Bob
Taft’s sponsorship last year of a methamphetamine summit.
“This drug is now ‘our nightmare,’ an epidemic that is spreading as fast as
a virus and we cannot afford to wait on the federal or state government to
take a lead role and provide guidance,” states the introduction of the plan,
which was developed by the Ashtabula County sheriff’s office and the
Trumbull-Ashtabula-Geauga (TAG) Law Enforcement Task Force.
“To avoid an all-out crisis situation, Ashtabula County must create a plan
with groups and agencies that have a significant role, interest and concern
in addressing methamphetamine, including education, treatment, prevention,
enforcement, justice, farming, environmental (concerns), retail and the
Ashtabula County Sheriff William R. Johnson said TAG already has conducted
education sessions for some townships and community groups, trying to show
residents what they should look for and how they can contact the proper
A highly toxic, strong stimulant for the central nervous system, meth can be
smoked, injected or taken orally. Although it may take different forms, it
typically is white, odorless and bitter-tasting. Its usage will increase
one’s heart rate, blood pressure, and rate of breathing and may be
accompanied by violent behavior.
“Those who make meth (their) drug of choice experience at least a 12-hour
high, but a lifetime of addiction,” the plan states.
Johnson said meth might have overtaken cocaine and marijuana as the
substance most often associated with the drug trade in Ashtabula County.
More than 20 meth labs have been discovered in the county and disabled since
“I would love to be able to sit here and tell you we’re going to eliminate
the drug trade in Ashtabula County, but that would be far-fetched,” the
However, Johnson said authorities have succeeded at decreasing the amount of
labs, and his officers are receiving training that will better prepare them
for hazardous situations involving meth production.
“We made sure that the people that are doing it know what they’re doing and
have the proper equipment,” Johnson said.
Community groups interested in scheduling a time for TAG officers to give a
presentation may contact the task force at (440) 632-9799.