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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro Police say they have tried to crack down on the meth problem in 2013.
Statistics show there were around 130 meth labs in Metro Louisville in 2012 alone. Up until October, nearly 60 meth labs were reported. Those who deal with the problems say it affects more than just the drug makers and abusers in the community.
Detectives say those left behind in all of the mess are the ones who face a lot of the consequences of methamphetamine.
"It's hard… It's hard when you look at the children, because the children don't understand," said Det. Steve Healy of LMPD Metro Narcotics.
"It's not uncommon to find children in meth labs, we come across it quite often."
Healy said the innocent witness toxic chemicals coating their world as they breathe them in.
"Infants to 5 or 6 years old -- that's the main age group that we see," said Healy.
Healy said he is a father and grandfather and knows how kids like to "taste" their surroundings.
"All their toys and their things that are contaminated with meth residue, these kids are just sticking it in their mouth," said Healy.
The weekend of Dec. 28, officers raided a home on 23rd Street where a 3-year-old was living. Family say a houseguest was cooking the crank right under their nose.
"It's terrifying! My grandchild was here," said Diana Lynch.
Lynch's son, Dustin Lynch, was arrested in a meth lab bust in her place of residence this weekend. Lynch said a distant relative had been staying with the family. She said she was recently in an accident which left her bed ridden, unable and incapable of knowing what was going on in her house. Lynch and her family members now look upon a bright orange notification that warns those who enter her residence. Lynch claims her son touched a backpack in the backyard that was brought in by the houseguest and meth cooker. She says she believes he was wrongfully arrested for the crime and is mad at the situation.
"To know that someone is doing this in your house and not even know what's going on, it's petrifying," said Anna Kinley, who also lived inside the home.
Kinley said the 3-year-old who was removed from the home was her granddaughter. She said to the best of her knowledge, the activity had been going on outside. Kinley said the health department was coming back later in the week to check on the status of the home.
"She stays with us a lot and now with something like this, we might have to take a chance that we might not be able to see her no more," said Kinley.
While cops know they're just trying to help the children, Healy says it does not make it any easier.
"To try and look through the eyes of a 3, 4, 5-year-old child, all they know is that's their parents. These are my toys. This is my house," said Healy.
"All of the sudden all these guys come in and basically remove you from that situation."
Healy said officers and detectives even carry backpacks with items with them to try to calm a child whose world has been turned upside down. Healy said they have already gotten rid of around 400 backpacks filled with stuffed animals, crayons and other toys.
"They cry for comfort toys and, you know, you can't give it to them because it's probably contaminated," said Healy.
"It's a combination that tears up their world."
As loved ones watch the meth aftermath, police say their goal is to eventually piece families back together. Healy said he firmly believed in punishing those responsible. He also said he believed strongly in rehabilitation of the individuals who want help.
"If you are going to expose those children to that kind of danger without any regard just to feed your addiction, then the child's better off either being with another family member or actually in the custody of the state until you can fix your addiction and become a responsible parent again."
Healy said they take meth offender prosecution very seriously. If you suspect meth activity in your community you should call police. LMPD has an anonymous tip line at 574-LMPD.