Testing homes for methamphetamine contamination has risen as drug use soars. Picture: AAP Image/Claudia Baxter
Testing homes for methamphetamine contamination has risen as drug use soars. Picture: AAP Image/Claudia Baxter

Rise in meth use creates residential nightmare

MOVING into a new home can quickly turn into a nightmare as a rise in drug use creates serious health issues for contaminated properties.

That was the reality for Sunshine Coast woman Natalie King and her family recently, after they were forced to flee their Morayfield home when it tested positive to meth contamination.

Ex-police officer-turned-meth tester Glenn Morgan said it was becoming all too common with a rise in drug use, and could affect homes, boats, caravans and cars.

METH HOUSE HORROR: FAMILY FLEES CONTAMINATED HOME

"Methamphetamine is a crystal that vaporises when heated, as in smoking," Mr Morgan said. "The vapour clings to surfaces and reforms into crystals.

"People who come in contact with these surfaces can ingest the meth through their skin or by touching contaminated surfaces then touching (their) mouth, nose or eyes."

Mr Morgan said people who had been exposed to meth reported speediness, loss of appetite, inability to concentrate, itchy skin, dry eyes, paranoia, headaches, acne and more.

"In more extreme cases (it can lead to) convulsions and death of pets," he said.

After launching his business Airborne Biohazard Control, which tested the health effects of mould, Mr Morgan realised the same issues were being connected to methamphetamine contamination in the home.

Over 5 years since cooking had taken place, and the levels of contamination were still extremely high in both household...

Posted by Global Meth Solutions on Thursday, 10 October 2019

He said with a good understanding of the effects drugs had on people from his time as a police officer, it was a "natural progression" to start laboratory meth testing.

Mr Morgan said property managers and real estate agents were beginning to realise the importance of testing homes for drug contamination.

"Meth testing is becoming part of the pre-purchase checks when purchasing properties, much like the building, pest, smoke alarms and safety switches," he said.

Cleaning a contaminated property could range from $15,000 to "three or four times that amount", Mr Morgan said.

"Costs can vary depending on the extent of the contamination, what type of cleaning machines are required, security concerns, cleaning and waste disposal …" he said.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said while meth contamination of residential properties was a serious health risk, there was an extremely low occurrence of people being impacted by residue from meth chemicals, where drug manufacturing had occurred.

"What's extremely important, however, is if a property has been contaminated that proper cleaning to the appropriate level has been carried out," she said.

She said estate agents were required to disclose any previous contamination of a property to a potential purchaser or future tenant inspecting the property. This includes measures taken to remove the contamination along with supporting documentation.

Mr Morgan said it was important to check insurance on rental properties to ensure the home was covered for meth contamination.



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