Marshall County cracks down on meth use and child neglect - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Marshall County cracks down on meth use and child neglect

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"When there's labs located inside these residences, more times than not, there are children involved." That's why Marshall County Sheriff Tom Chamberlin says it's time to take action.

"These children are neglected. They're not fed properly, they're not clothed properly, they're not bathed. The living conditions are horrible."

Marshall County was 9th in 2012 in Indiana for the number of meth labs seized. And it's growing because manufacturing meth is becoming easier. "You'll find them inside vehicles, sacks on their back so they can carry them around. They're very mobile."

And when the addiction involves kids, Chamberlin says it's devastating. "Your first reaction is you're mad. Children don't deserve that type of lifestyle. They're not asking for it, they're forced into it."

Which is why he's working with Michael Carroll at the Department of Children's Services to bring awareness to the community.

"We have right now approximately 33 percent of our cases, which are a third of our child abuse and neglect cases-have some type of meth or drug component," says Carroll.

He says education is important and they're working to inform the community about the signs of neglect and drug use. "Children are disheveled, hair, clothing, body odor. Often times you have children who are unsupervised. You might find children who are out in the community or neighborhoods, hanging out at 10, 10:30 or 11 o'clock at night."

So that's where you come in. If you notice signs of abuse, it's your duty to report. "It's a problem for everyone involved. Everyone loses," says Carroll.

Anyone suspecting abuse or neglect should contact the child abuse and neglect hotline at 800-800-5556.

FOX28 looked at the stats for other area counties as well. Elkhart and Koscuisko Counties are ranked higher than Marshall County in the number of meth labs seized, but when you compare the population of all three, the problem is much bigger in a smaller county like Marshall.

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