Authorities say meth use on the rise

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SARASOTA COUNTY - A homeless man was busted Saturday night for making meth in the woods in a Nokomis neighborhood. Authorities say it is becoming more and more common in our area, and dangerous for users and for those nearby.

Some household supplies and some cough medicine is going a long way to feed some addictions. The latest discovery in a wooded area off Lucille Avenue even brought out a hazmat team.

And concerns are growing not just amongst law enforcement, but with those working to help people recover. Charlton Cerbone is helping those who come to Tri-County Concealing hooked on drugs like meth. "They are pretty much like a zombie."

He says he is seeing the numbers rise. "I would see this as a growing problem in our area. I mean people can make this stuff at their house. They get a little of this and get a little of that."

He says they use a method called a “one pot” or the “shake and bake”, using things like plastic drink bottles, batteries, drain cleaner, fertilizer, and cold medication.

Those with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office says use and production is growing. "We are starting to see an influx in the meth."

And no longer just the elaborate labs, but also portable back-pack production. They say 32-year old Shaemus Lonergan was making it right there in the woods off Lucille Avenue in a tent this past weekend. "They are able to do it in these small campsite settings, or trunks of cars, within a bathroom of a residence."

Perhaps a result of new laws and programs which have limited the availability of prescription pills. "It is more difficult to get the prescription drugs, so people are using drugs that are on the market."

Just a few weeks ago, three people were arrested for making meth in a home also in Nokomis.

Authorities say it's not just there though. "I wouldn't say it's concentrated, or specifically in Nokomis or Englewood as opposed to Sarasota. We are making some seizures and arrests in all the areas of the county."

Cerbone says the drug is actually less addictive than many opiate-based prescription pills. However, the results physically and mentally have a huge impact. "The mental obsession with it is just probably up there with how crack cocaine was in the 1980's."

And speaking of crack cocaine, law enforcement officials tell ABC 7 that they are also seeing a resurgence of that drug along with the meth.