Despite new laws preventing widespread sales of pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in meth, the drug’s toxic ingredients are still easy to find. And so, despite law enforcement’s efforts over the years, meth labs continue to manufacture the deadly poison, putting children and citizens at risk.
Methamphetamine is one of the most toxic drugs on the market today. Take a look at a few “Before and After”photos of meth users and you will see the heavy burden it has on the human body. From meth mouth (extreme tooth decay) to pocked skin, sunken eyes, and haggard frames, crystal meth ages users in a manner like something out of a horror movie.
The trouble with meth is that it is extremely addictive, which makes it the perfect product—one that keeps customers returning day after day, desperate and willing to do anything for more.
Anyone with a basic knowledge of chemistry can set up a meth lab. In fact, labs have been set up in homes, hotels, barns, sheds and even in cars. Hotels are popular because manufacturers can easily walk away. Cars are popular for the “one-pot method,”a way of preparing the drug in a single container, because the container can easily be discarded out the window.
Meth labs are dangerous for a number of reasons. First of all, the chemicals involved in the preparation are extremely toxic and can be fatal if ingested or inhaled in specific circumstances. They are also flammable and can result in devastating fires and explosions if mixed wrong. This is why law enforcement typically enters a meth lab in full suits to clean it up.
Secondly, meth preparation results in a large amount of toxic waste. In fact, it takes five pounds of waste to produce one pound of meth. If this ends up in the mouth or on the body of an animal or a child, it can be fatal.
The trouble with meth is that its ingredients are mostly common household materials that can be purchased anywhere.
Pseudoephedrine, the main active ingredient in meth, is not as readily available as it used to be, but meth cooks easily find their way around that. It used to be that the cold medicine could be purchased freely over the counter at pharmacies, but now pharmacies have strict tracking policies and other ways of spotting suspicious activity. However, an activity known as “smurfing”has become common. Meth cooks get innocent-looking friends or family members (like grandparents) to purchase the pharmaceutical for them.
Other ingredients used in meth manufacture include:
- Battery acid
- Drain cleaner
- Lantern fuel
All the chemicals needed to make meth can be purchased at a local grocery store or auto store.
Result of Meth Use
Despite its illusions of grandeur, meth does not end in a pretty picture. What begins as a high segues into a binge, in which the user wallows in uncontrolled use of meth. After days to weeks of this, the drug begins to lose its potency and eventually has no effect on the user. This is followed by a slow ride to hell that includes:
- Tweaking, a condition that comes at the end of the binge when the user can no longer get high. He experiences intense cravings, emptiness, depression, and a loss of identity. He is overcome by intense itching and is convinced that there are bugs crawling under his skin. He hallucinates and experiences a deep psychosis. He can become hostile and dangerous at this point.
- The crash, which lasts one to three days and involves deep sleeping as the body shuts down due to the overwhelming effects of the drug.
- The hangover, in which the meth user wakes up completely drained physically, mentally and emotionally. This stage can last up to fourteen days, and it is common for the user to return to meth use, as this seems to be the only solution to the pain. This is how addiction begins.
Withdrawal, which occurs one to three months after final drug use. This includes deep depression, energy loss, apathy, and an inability to feel pleasure. More meth cravings result, often so intense that they drive the user to suicide.