Meth Labs

Meth Labs

With the explosion of the popularity of the synthetic drug Methamphetamine or (Meth) as it is more commonly called, labs to create this drug are popping up everywhere.   Methamphetamine is a lab created stimulant drug that is illegally produced and distributed.  It is extremely dangerous and has been reported that trying it once is enough to become addicted to this powerful drug.

Meth can be found in various forms of crystal, rocks, tablets and even powder.  When it’s in the crystal form, its coined ‘Crystal Meth’.    It can be injected with a needle, smoked, snorted or even swallowed.

The drug can be easily and quite inexpensively produced, which is part of the reason behind the massive amounts of Meth labs that are popping up across North America.  The drug is comprised of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine as the most common ingredient, and can be found in cold medicine. (This is why many retailers have pulled the cold medication off the shelves and now have to be purchased by asking someone in the pharmacy.)

The drugs are then cooked through a specific process that chemically turns them into Meth by adding other ingredients.   Those ingredients which are part of the cooking process can include:  anhydrous ammonia, iodine crystals, drain cleaner, paint thinner, ether, Freon®, red phosphorous, lithium (removed from batteries) or battery acid.

More often than not, Meth is cooked in very basic, unsophisticated labs, which are extremely dangerous.  Most of the people who run these labs have no chemistry background because of the relative simplicity of cooking Meth.

For every pound of Methamphetamine that is produced, it is reported that there are five to six pounds of toxic waste that must be disposed of.   This waste is not only toxic, but explosive, flammable and in some cases lethal.    Those who produce Meth are known to dump the byproducts of Meth production along highways, leave it in hotels, dump it in parks and forests, anywhere that they can get rid of it without being seen.

In 2008 there were a total of 6, 783 Meth Clandestine Lab Incidents.  This includes labs, dumpsites, chem/glass/eqipment.  Even though some Meth labs are more obvious than others, some of the signs to look for in your neighborhood are:

  • Strong odors, such as ammonia or fuel.
  • Chemistry equipment
  • Large numbers of empty containers of cold medicine.
  • House windows which are covered with plastic or aluminum foil
  • Large amounts of empty chemical containers.

Because they are easy to create, Meth labs can be found in cars, hotels, houses, sheds, abandoned buildings, even new homes.  Meth labs can be found pretty much anywhere the person feels they can create the lab without being discovered.

Understand that Meth Labs are extremely dangerous, so if you have suspicions of a Meth lab in your neighborhood, call your local authorities and do not under any circumstances try to do anything on your own.

Resources: http://www.nmtf.us/geteducated/geteducated.htm
http://www.usdoj.gov/methawareness/
http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/concern/map_lab_seizures.html