Emergency Responders: Meth Labs & Kids A Growing Problem

JACKSON COUNTY (WLOX) -- Doctors listed a Jackson County man in serious condition in an Alabama hospital on Friday after police say he was severely burned in a meth lab explosion.

Jonathan Moses was air lifted on Thursday to U.A.B. Hospital in Birmingham. Investigators say Moses will face felony endangerment charges for manufacturing Methamphetamine inside the home he shares with his children.

Jackson County sheriff's deputies say until the day his MEMA cottage blew up, Jonathan Moses was raising three children and making meth all under the same roof. Emergency responders say unfortunately, the mix of meth and family is becoming more common in Mississippi.

Tony McCallum is the director of Emergency Medical Services at the Southaven Fire Department.

"What we're seeing a lot of now is children in these meth houses where there's been manufacturing or there's been use there, either way they're becoming exposed to the product. Even to the point where they're going through withdrawal symptoms when they're taken out of the home."

McCallum says chemical burns are only one danger facing children living in meth houses.

"They'll start to exhibit the same symptoms as someone who used meth, such as exhibiting symptoms of what they call 'meth mites.' The feeling that bugs are crawling under your skin," said McCallum. "They start digging at their skin and it causes skin lesions. That leads to all kinds of medical problems, infections."

McCallum says when it comes to meth, there is no safe level of exposure.

"There's research done that showed that if someone smoked meth in the kitchen and they did a wipe test in the master bathroom counter, it tested positive for residue for meth," said McCallum. "So it went all the way through the house. There's no way to be in a home, whether meth is manufactured there or it is used, there's no way to live in that home and not become contaminated by it."

McCallum says stricter laws are helping curb the meth problem, but no one knows what the long term effects will be for children who live in meth houses.

Tony McCallum was a speaker at the Mississippi EMT conference in Biloxi. He also talked to EMTs about how to protect themselves from possible dangers when responding to injuries at meth labs.