Methamphetamine is an increasing problem across the United States. Our society is dealing with methamphetamine more, but many of us don't understand just what we are dealing with. Many don't recognize the substance, the meth labs, or the effects. The following information on methamphetamine is taken from the Nuisance Abatement Guide, available at the Eureka Police Dept. Methamphetamine is a stimulant. It is often called Meth, Crank. Crystal and Speed. Before its price dropped, it was called the Poor Man's Cocaine. Meth is usually ingested, snorted, injected and some types can be smoked.
'Pharmaceutical' grade meth is a dry, white, crystalline powder. While some methamphetamine sold on the street is white, much of it is yellowish, or even brown, and some times has the consistency of damp powered sugar. The drug has a strong chemical odor. Methamphetamine is often sold in tiny zip lock bags, little glass vials, and folded paper binders similar to the methods used for cocaine packaging. Hard-core meth addicts get very little sleep. Chronic users and 'cooks' (those who manufacture the drug) may have open sores on their skin, bad teeth and generally appear unclean. Paranoid behavior combined with regular late night activity is potential indicators.
Methamphetamine Labs: There is very little that is consistent, standard, or predictable about the safety level of a methamphetamine lab. The only thing one can say for sure is that you will be better off to leave the premises immediately. How to Recognize a Lab:
Methamphetamine 'cooks' rarely pay attention to keeping the property clean. Dangerous chemicals are often stored on the property. These chemicals are rarely stored in their original containers. Often you will see plastic milk jugs or screw top beer bottles containing unknown liquids. It is common to find bottles of lethal chemicals sitting on the same table with the cook's breakfast. Toxic dump sites are common. Glass cooking vessels become brittle with usage and must be discarded. You will often find small dump sites of contaminated broken glass, needles, and other paraphernalia on the ground surrounding a meth lab.
Many toxic chemicals are used to make methamphetamine. The list of chemicals that have been found in meth labs is a long one. Some are standard household items, such as baking soda. Others are extremely toxic and volatile, such as Hydrochloric Acid (serious health hazard), Methylamine (extremely flammable and a serious health hazard.) Methanol (flammable), Potassium Hydroxide (serious health hazard), Lithium Aluminum Hydride (extremely flammable and a serious health hazard), ether (medium health hazard and highly explosive), benzene (carcinogenic), and even hydrogen cyanide (also used in gas chambers). Other chemicals such as ephedrine, phenyl acetic acid and phyenl-2-propanone have been known to cause adverse health effects but little is known about the long term consequences of exposure.
What to Do If You Find a Meth Lab: Leave. You will not know which chemicals are present or if the place is booby trapped. Don't touch anything. If you think you have discovered a meth lab within the city limits, call the Eureka Police Dept. at 441-4044. Don't suffer the consequences of someone else's behavior on or near your property, in your neighborhood, or to your family. Protect yourself. Recognize meth. Don't let it contaminate your life, the lives of those you care about, and the future of our community.