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Meth's legacy lingers in the Inland Empire

May 20, 2008 | 11:12 am

MethWhen the Inland Empire ranked as one of the nation's largest producers of meth during the 1990s, police officers like Jim Foreman were kept busy raiding and investigating countless makeshift labs where the drug was produced. During one incident, Foreman actually passed out from the chemicals.  Today, Foreman, who took a medical retirement last year, says his lungs operate at only 60% of capacity. He suffers from a series of other ailments he blames on his exposure to the meth lab toxins.

Foreman's health problems are part of the dark legacy that continues to haunt the Inland Empire, according to a wide-ranging report in the Riverside Press Enterprise.

Police officers who raided the homes are not the only ones who worry about their exposure to toxic chemicals and lingering contamination.  It's also a troubling issue for the children who grew up with meth-addicted parents and even the current occupants of homes used to cook the chemicals, which can leave a residue on walls, carpets and other surfaces that can last for years.

"Some days are better than others," said Foreman, surveying the living room in his Hemet home, which is decorated with photos of him in uniform -- both police and military. "Then there are days when I don't even want to get out of bed."

-- Jesus Sanchez

Photo: Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times