Vt. troopers turn to grocers to help fight meth - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. troopers turn to grocers to help fight meth

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When you think of local grocers like the Georgia Market, you may not think methamphetamine. You won't find meth for sale here. But the Vermont State Police are stopping at every store in Franklin County to make sure store owners like Ray Bouffard learn they sell a lot of the ingredients used to make meth.

"It's the person who comes in and every day buys Drano," said Cpl. George Rodriguez of the Vt. State Police.

Troopers are handing out posters listing the ingredients. And they're found in a lot of items you may have at home. The list has more than items like lye and camp fuel, it has simple things like coffee filters or Drano or rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover.

"They didn't remember selling several of those items, but they're finding they have been depleted from the shelves. So, that is tipping us off that maybe we have more of a problem than we realized yet," Vt. State Police Lt. John Flannigan said.

Flannigan says the growing meth problem in Northern New York is slipping across the lake, signs of trouble popping up in Franklin and Grand Isle counties. There have been two meth lab busts in the area this summer. One in Alburgh led to charges against two Vermonters. Another in St. Albans has a Missouri man charged.

Part of the idea behind the posters-- using psychology against meth addicts.

"They start getting a little paranoid, so if they see these posters up and they know that store clerks or owners are looking for people who are buying these ingredients," Rodriguez explained.

Reporter Kristin Kelly: What about folks who say you're really just posting a list that's teaching people how to make meth?

Cpl. George Rodriguez: You can do a Google search on the internet and get thousands of ingredients on how to make meth. So, we're not putting out anything that's not already out there.

Rodriguez has been involved in many drug investigations and expects the effort won't create meth makers, but will help find them.

At the Georgia Market, owner Ray Bouffard says he's going to start educating his staff to keep an eye on key items.

"Nobody thinks somebody's going to steal a bottle of Drano, because that's not your typical thing," Bouffard said.

Rodriguez says similar store education efforts have been effective in other states. Troopers are also working with the Vermont Grocers Association and the Vermont Retail Association to take the effort statewide.

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