Meth house as example of drug epidemic

By Jerrika Insco | 

One family in McCreary County says their story proves the drug epidemic in this area is spiraling out of control despite the Kentucky General Assembly's recent efforts to put a stop to it.

Family members returned to Betty Stephens' home in Whitley City after her death only to find a ransacked house with methamphetamine everywhere they looked.

Senate Bill 3, House Bill 1, and House Bill 481 are the laws already in place.

But this family says there is still more to be done, especially concerning pseudoephedrine, the one drug that cannot be replaced in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

You can no longer see Betty Stephens' home from the road.

Masked from neighbors, it housed a secret family members never expected to find months after her death.

"Nothing could prepare you for what we seen when we opened that door. It was absolutely heart wrenching to know that this was my granny's home, and I played in this yard," said Tammie Wilson, Stephens' granddaughter.

58 meth labs, 36 generators, and ransacked rooms with nothing left to salvage are what Tammie Wilson found in her grandmother's home which could be condemned soon.

"Unless you're so closely affected, it's hard to realize the reality of it. I think we're all affected in one way or another," said Wilson.

This family says they hope sharing their experience will increase awareness of the severity of drug abuse in the area.

"We had 250 homes in the Commonwealth destroyed last year because of meth. It's another thing to meet the family members that are behind those numbers," said Operation UNITE President and CEO Karen Kelly.

It is a problem officials with Operation UNITE say the community needs to take responsibility of seeing how easily people can be impacted.

"We need to recognize that we've all got a part in this and we need to stand up," said Wilson.

Officials say drug abuse in the mountains is more than its statistics. It is an expensive issue wreaking havoc on people's homes and lives.

Operation UNITE officials say they appreciate the bills, but mandates need to be put in place to better regulate prescription drug usage.

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