According to Detective Darcy Strang of the Edmonton Police Service, "if (Methamphetamine) has not yet arrived in your community, there is a good chance that it will in the years to come." In order to help combat this growing problem in Canada and to prevent its migration from the West, Detective Strang, the Edmonton Police Service and the Canadian Police Knowledge Network (CPKN) have partnered to develop the "Meth Lab: First Responder" e-learning course.

Meth Lab: First Responder

"It is imperative that police have a good working knowledge of what a meth lab can look like in order to prevent inadvertent contamination," stated Detective Strang. "Because meth is easily produced, ingredients are readily available at local stores and it can yield high profit margins, more and more amateur clandestine labs are being set-up by individuals who simply don't understand the hazards." The presence of toxic chemicals, combustible materials, booby traps and potentially armed meth users make meth lab investigations extremely dangerous.

The "Meth Lab: First Responder" e-learning course, delivered via CPKN's secure internet portal ( educates and trains police officers to understand the specific risks associated with meth addicts and clandestine laboratories. By understanding the methods of production, its trends, effects and symptoms, officers will be more effective in detecting lab locations, safely managing meth users and safeguarding against potential hazards present in a first response action, thus aiding in the overall protection of the community.

Detective Strang, who has undergone intensive training and received certification in Clandestine Laboratory Detection and Response from the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), provided the content and subject matter expertise to develop the course. He has interdicted numerous "super-labs" within Edmonton, is actively involved in purchasing meth in an undercover capacity and has been qualified as an expert in Methamphetamine, meth labs, cocaine, pills, marijuana and marijuana production in all levels of court.

"This course is an inexpensive method of disseminating effective, essential information concerning a drug that the DEA has labeled as being the most destructive drug they have ever seen in the US," noted Detective Strang. Meth is highly addictive, can cause kidney, liver and brain cell damage, insomnia and loss of appetite. Meth can also cause more dangerous psychological effects such as memory loss, paranoia and social isolation, which can lead to aggressive behaviour, violence and crime (typically fraud and identity theft). "If pot is a cold, then cocaine is the flu and meth is Aids," added Detective Strang.