Although methamphetamines are a medically-accepted scientific formula, the average person can make the illegal street drug version simply by mixing household ingredients. Meth labs are very dangerous and volatile additions to the home though, and one of the most common ways that people get caught producing meth. After all, all it takes is one visitor who does not approve of the manufacture or sale of meth, even if it is designed for your own consumption, to notify the police of your meth lab and result in incarceration. In this article, we will take a look at the ingredients for meth, the obtainability of them, the dangers associated with meth production, and similar information.
The basic ingredients needed for meth are probably already in the garage or trunk, under the kitchen sink, in your pantry, waiting in the medicine cabinet, or stored with household amenities. Many illegal drugs require ingredients that are illegal to purchase, raising immediate red flags and making production prohibitively expensive. One reason that meth is so popular is that it is cheaper and easier to make, requiring ingredients that you can usually purchase over the counter with some help.
• Drain cleaner is one of the first ingredients for making meth. Sodium hydroxide is the compound that meth producers are looking for, and drain cleaner is an easy source of the chemical. Biodiesel fuel is another common choice if the maker lives in an area where it can be obtained.
• Rust cleaner contains hydrochloric acid, another ingredient necessary for meth production. It is also an ingredient in some leather cleansers or household cleaning supplies, so meth manufacturers watch the label to obtain this ingredient without suspicion.
• Lighter fluid is in most homes for lighting grills, filling lighters, and other legitimate uses. It is one of the main ingredients in meth, and one of the easiest to obtain by any person over the age of eighteen.
• Brake fluid is a necessary item for the care and maintenance of your car, so most of us have it in our trunks or garages. Polyethylene glycol is another key ingredient for meth production.
• Matches are found in almost every home for a variety of innocent uses, but hydriotic acid, a main ingredient in red phosphoric matches, is also a common ingredient for meth production.
• Ammonia is a common cleaning chemical that can be found in most homes and any supermarket. Anhydrous ammonia—ammonia without water—is a little more scarce, part of industrial refrigerants or heavy-duty fertilizers, but necessary for meth production.
Medicine Cabinet Items
In addition to ingredients that you can get from the garage or kitchen, there are a few lurking in the medicine cabinet. Both are very helpful to the human body when used in the right way, often meaning the difference between misery and relief when a person is sick. However, when combined with the abovementioned ingredients, meth can be produced. This is why the FDA and DEA have imposed strict limitations on the quantities that can be purchased and dictate that products containing this ingredient must be kept under lock and key. It may make it more difficult to obtain them for someone who actually needs them, but the prohibitions make it harder and more expensive to produce meth, too.
o Common cold medicines such as Sudafed™ contain ingredients needed for the production of methamphetamines. Ephedrine is the ingredient necessary for the high that meth users experience, since it causes the brain to release feel-good endorphins that make the user experience euphoria.
o Iodine is fine for human consumption, and in trace amounts can actually be of value to the human body. It only takes about four bottles of iodine for about three grams of methamphetamines.
Many people claim that the limitation of cold medications containing ephedrine is unfair, making it more difficult for those who legitimately need the ingredients in order to combat a health problem that could otherwise require treatment from a doctor. However, curbing one of the main ingredients that make meth so addictive is the government’s way to attempt to make meth production much more difficult and costly. Purchasing amounts sufficient for meth production raises an immediate red flag to the authorities, so meth producers often seek out help from friends, family members, and other meth users to avoid detection.
Meth Lab Dangers
Although many of the ingredients can easily be obtained, the combinations of two or three can result in catastrophe. It takes a steady hand, focused eye, and in-depth chemical reaction knowledge in order to create quality meth and avoid destroying the lab. Some of the ingredients are volatile alone, and most are extremely dangerous when mixed with other chemicals. For instance:
- Anhydrous ammonia can burn your skin upon contact.
- Iodine in large quantities can reduce the functionality of the thyroid gland.
- Lye is used to break down corpses of dead animals, and can have the same effect on the human body.
- Drain cleaner has clear warnings on the label regarding the potential for burning skin, hair, and eyes. It can also become toxic if mixed with other chemicals in gas form.
- Brake fluid can produce a massive fireball when combined with other chemicals improperly. This is a common source of meth lab explosions.
- Rust removers contain hydrochloric acid, which is known for causing severe burns and catastrophic chemical reactions.
On average, there can be as many as 20,000 meth lab explosions per year in the United States alone, creating the potential for hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage and untold opportunities for loss of lives. The ingredients used to make meth can permeate everything in the area of the lab, posing a serious risk to animals, plants, and other people within the vicinity of the lab.