Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – A yearlong investigation came to a head Tuesday morning as Federal investigators indicted 24 people in Oswego, Madison and Oneida counties – all of whom are accused of manufacturing and selling methamphetamines.
It doesn’t take much to be arrested on meth charges. All it takes is some ground up pseudo pills, camping fuel and hydrogen chloride, shake it up and in not time you’ve got a meth operation. But, just one mistake and you’ve got an explosion on your hands.
Investigators say this is the leading spike in the number of people being rushed to burn units across the country and that’s not all. Poison control centers, like the one in Syracuse, are getting a record number of meth-related calls.
"It's totally devastating to the people who use it. You know, we've all seen the before and after photos of people who become addicted to it,” said Michelle Caliva, with the Upstate Poison Center.
Doctors and nurses often call the Upstate Poison Center for advice when addicts end up in the emergency room. Using meth can lead to a dangerous and potentially deadly increase in heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.
"Any time your temp starts to elevate, we worry about your cells, your organs in your body being able to survive that,” Caliva continued.
Hospitals called the Upstate Poison Center for meth-related help just four times in 2010. That number skyrocketed to 28 calls in 2011, and this year, the number already stands at 19.
The numbers are putting a new emphasis on meth, along with bath salts and synthetic marijuana.
“It has been a daily, daily effort on our part to keep on top of what is going on and to get the word out to the health care provider,” said Caliva.
State and local enforcement officials are also keeping on top of things. Monday’s bust is proof of that.
"This case began when a few sharp officers who saw a pattern of what was going on around them, put their heads together...approached our Federal partners...did some preliminary work and together, a well thought out plan led to an outstanding case,” said New York State Superintendent, Joseph D’Amico.
In just the first five months of 2012, 68 meth labs were reported in New York State, compared to a total of 45 in 2011.
More than half of those labs have been discovered in Madison, Oswego and Oneida counties.