A Washington couple and their young children have been forced out of their new home just ten days after moving in due to crystal meth contamination.
Jason and Amanda Gates from Washington were delighted to be able to buy a home in Maple Valley and get on the property ladder in these difficult times. However, just days later, after a neighbor mentioned that the house might have been used to produce crystal meth, they decided to have the building tested – with horrific results.
On completion of the independent testing, experts immediately advised the family to evacuate their new home, declaring that the trace levels of crystal meth found were so high that it was not safe for the family to remain. The devastated couple who had no idea of the house’s history before purchase, have been forced to stay with friends and family who have since started a GoFundMe campaign to help the family. The couple says that keeping the home would be out of the question because experts have advised that it would cost over $11,000 to make it safe to inhabit.
Crystal meth is a form of the powerful drug methamphetamine and is so named due to its hard, crystallized appearance. Experts say that symptoms of exposure to crystal meth can include headaches, shortness of breath, upper body and chest pain, sickness and nausea and a dry mouth. Prolonged exposure to traces of crystal meth can lead to serious health issues and even death – particularly in young children.
Independent testers who were horrified at the levels of the drug found in the Gates’ home said that the largest concentration was found in the bedroom of the couple’s five-year-old son. The couple who also have a newborn and a seven-year-old has called for drug testings to be included in a standard home inspection and have expressed anger that this was not the case for them – mainly as the testing that they paid for cost just $50 and could be, potentially, life-saving.
Washington officials admit that more and more contaminated homes are being reported in the area, particularly rental and foreclosed properties but say that it’s difficult to tell how big the problem is because testing is not mandatory.
Experts say people were moving into a new home should bring in experts for testing and should look for telltale signs such as disrepair, boarded or shielded windows and scorched or patchy grass on the lawns.
The Gates’ former home in Maple Valley has since auctioned following foreclosure, and the family hopes that their friends’ crowdfunding efforts will help them to find a new home shortly.