Crystal meth is one of the world’s most toxic drugs—yet addicts clamor for it, even after one or two hits. While eighty percent of the meth on the streets is produced in super labs, they only make up four percent of the total meth labs on the planet. Because the ingredients are so accessible, home meth manufacturing is readily available across the United States.
How to Make Meth
Though the super labs of South America have the production of meth down to a science, churning it out in mass quantities in pristine, regulated conditions, home meth labs can manufacture the same product—it’s just a little messier.
Like any recipe, meth can be produced in a number of ways. However, the ingredients (as many as 32 different chemicals) can be found in a typical store in any urban area. The formula includes:
Pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in cough and cold medicine.
Red phosphorus (found on matches).
Lithium (found in batteries).
Liquid ammonia, found at any grocery store and used as a caustic cleaning material.
As you can see, the ingredients are not only readily available, they are extremely toxic. This is why meth labs, especially home meth labs, are so dangerous.
The Dangers of Home Meth Labs
Because so many dangerous chemicals are involved in the cooking process, meth labs are extremely dangerous. One wrong move could turn into a fire, an explosion, or worse. The fumes are so toxic that homes containing former meth labs can’t even be re-sold—the chemicals are in the walls, the floors, the ceilings, and linger for years.
Toxic waste is another issue. Approximately six pounds of toxic waste are discarded for every one pound of meth produced. Labs in the woods leave the surrounding land uninhabitable, contaminating the ground water and killing vegetation.
Unfortunately many children are placed in harm’s way due to meth production. Home meth labs often result in toxic overdoses, chemical burns and asphyxiation among children. Meth producers are usually high themselves, making them unfit to supervise children. Yet children are placed in these circumstances more frequently than you could imagine.
Home meth labs can be set up in a variety of locations—in bedrooms, barns, sheds, offices and hotels. A method that is growing in popularity is the “one-pot” method in which the ingredients are mixed in a two-liter coke bottle, shaken under exact conditions, and discarded on the side of the road after taking the product. This means that even a car could become a meth lab, putting passersby in danger.
No one in their right mind would ingest brake fluid and ammonia, you’re probably thinking. Unfortunately meth users are not in their “right mind.” Meth, like all drugs, turns the user into someone else, a mad and unrecognizable version.
This can even be observed at a physical level. “Before and after” pictures of meth users demonstrate the taxing effects this drug has on the body. Within months, the user becomes haggard, pock-marked and aged. Meth Mouth leads to severe tooth decay, leaving the mouth full of gaping holes, broken teeth and black rot. Crank bugs, the hallucination that insects are crawling beneath the skin, leads to compulsive skin-picking—leaving the skin scarred. Yet users continue to use the toxic drug.