Smith, who has interviewed hundreds of people who have used drugs, said meth and other substances can consume one's life.
Things people once enjoyed such as hobbies or time with family are no longer valued, he said. Instead, there is an all-consuming craving for the drug and the euphoric feeling it produces.
The craving is so overpowering that the person using the drug ignores the negatives - destruction of family, loss of job, and incarceration. Short-term health effects may include sleeplessness, hallucinations, and paranoia, he said. While long-term health effects are unknown, exposure to a carcinogen can lead to cancer, he said.
Those who stop taking drugs may face a long and drawn-out process. While the first 72 hours is the peak withdrawal period, the craving could continue for years, he said.
He notes that the real meth victims are often children in the home who are exposed on a daily basis.
Also, materials to make meth can be contained in something as small as a backpack and labs set up in anything from a vehicle to a hotel where innocent people may be exposed.
Training for law enforcement officers will continue this week culminating in an extensive written test for completion of the meth lab certification class.
More classes are needed as the meth problem has continued to surface in new areas where authorities are not trained in how to deal with it, Smith said.
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1246.