EVANSVILLE (WFIE) - You may have seen an article floating around social media calling Evansville the meth capital of the country. But is it true?
We investigated the validity of the post and talked with Evansville Police to find out.
Police want to set the record straight that the website is not portraying the accurate picture of the state of meth in Evansville over the past five years. EPD says the number of meth labs are down from 115 in 2013 to five this year.
Police say the decrease is a testament to their efforts.
“Years ago people were manufacturing meth in their own homes," says Sgt. Jason Cullum with EPD. "They were doing it in vehicles with one pot labs. It was creating a hazard for unsuspecting neighbors, other motorists.”
Five to 10 years ago, the number of meth labs in Evansville was high, reaching 115 seizures in 2013, due in part to EPD searching for labs with the Meth Supression Unit.
“Their sole job was to go out and identify locations where meth labs were," says Sgt. Cullum. "Anything you go after, anything, you’re going to see those numbers go up because you’re focusing on that.”
Sgt. Cullum says the situation is different now with the number of meth labs seizures 23 times less than they were in 2013.
“The decrease isn’t just because people don’t have meth addiction anymore or that we’re not finding labs," explained Sgt. Cullum. "What we’re seeing is a decrease in the number of labs because a lot of the meth is now crystal meth and it’s being imported from out of the country. We’re still battling the meth addiction.”
In 2012, Mayor Winnecke launched his “No Meth Task Force.” Now, the city is more commonly seeing the effects of opioids.
The Mayor broadened the focus of the task force from “Meth” to “Substance Abuse.” A name change, police say, to reflect the decreased threat that meth labs are posing to the public.
“The public safety concerns that are really coming out in these social media posts have been taken into consideration," says Sgt. Cullum. "We have addressed that, and we’ve seen that issue dramatically decrease.”
Police encourage anyone with information on drug dealers to contact them and anyone suffering from drug addiction to seek professional help. There is a list of local resources on the Mayor’s Substance Abuse Task Force website.