"I'm told that Crystal Meth is extremely powerful. Use it once and you get addicted," said Ladysmith RCMP Staff Sgt. Charlie Schall.
He reports that police have already closed down a meth lab on Esplanade Avenue and have made other seizures in Ladysmith.
It's difficult to track the number of crystal meth users in the Ladysmith area, but sources close to the problem say the drug is widely available either as chunky crystals most often smoked in a pipe, or surreptitiously slipped into tablets of ecstasy, a popular party drug that may contain a host of other drugs including cocaine, heroin, and speed.
But steps are being taken to keep the use of the highly addictive drug from becoming a bigger problem than it is.
Late last year, a meeting brought community stakeholders together, including representatives from the RCMP, the Town, the high school, paramedics, the fire department, and front-line drug counsellors working through the Ladysmith Resources Centre.
As a result, the Town of Ladysmith applied for and received a $10,000 grant under the Province's Community Methamphetamine Response Program.
A Crystal Meth Task Force was formed, with education and awareness its focus. Co-chaired by Ladysmith councillor Scott Bastian and drug counsellor Kim Chadwick, the Task Force produced an educational brochure and organized a community forum that took place in October.
The forum outlined how methamphetamine is manufactured using materials commonly found in hardware and drug stores.
The toxic compound causes a high that sometimes renders people unable to sleep for a week at a time. Other side effects include hallucinations, sensitivity to noise and light, loss of interest in food and sex, skin sores, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rise in body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, violence and aggression, panic, paranoia and depression.
For every pound of meth produced, five pounds of waste material is created, often dumped into rivers, lakes and municipal sewer systems.
The waste is highly explosive and firefighters, police, paramedics and neighbours are at risk from a potential meth lab explosion.
Ladysmith's Crystal Meth Task Force is now preparing information packages to be used in the schools, and are now looking for effective ways to use the remainder of the grant.
"The Task Force brings some local pressure to dealers to think about what they're doing. Why should we have to wait for it to become a big problem here?" he asked.