Many people may be unaware that they're living near a meth lab. Here are some things to look for:
Meth labs have many different methods for producing methamphetamine. Each method has its own inherent dangers. Many of the chemicals used are caustic or corrosive, and some of the processes create noxious and harmful fumes.
Instances of methamphetamine trafficking and abuse in the United States are on the increase. As a result, this drug is having a devastating impact on communities across the nation. Clandestine production accounts for nearly all of the methamphetamine trafficked and abused in the United States. Domestic methamphetamine production, trafficking, and abuse are concentrated in the western, southwestern, and Midwestern United States. Methamphetamine is also increasingly available in portions of the South and eastern United States, especially Georgia and Florida. Clandestine meth labs in California and Mexico are the primary sources of supply for methamphetamine available in the United States.
Clandestine meth labs are laboratories used for the primary purpose of illicitly (illegally) manufacturing controlled substances, such as cocaine and methamphetamine. Clandestine meth labs are typically small, utilizing common household appliances, glassware, and readily available chemicals. Methamphetamine is clandestinely manufactured using the ephedrine or pseudoephedrine reduction method. In this process, over-the-counter cold and allergy tablets containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine are placed in a solution of water, alcohol, or other solvent for several hours until the ephedrine or pseudoephedrine separates from the tablet. Then, using common household products and equipment listed on the following page and a recipe learned from friends or taken off the Internet, the ephedrine or pseudoephedrine is converted into high quality methamphetamine in makeshift, illegal labs by untrained individuals.
While some clandestine laboratories may be located in industrial areas, they are most frequently located in residential areas. Most clandestine meth labs are located in remote areas where chemical fumes will not alert neighbors or law enforcement. Small-scale meth labs are being operated increasingly in single and multifamily residences in urban and suburban neighborhoods, where they pose a significant threat to public health and safety. Traditionally, meth labs are located in sparsely populated or isolated rural areas in order to avoid detection. A substantial number of laboratories, however, are located in urban areas. If you suspect a meth lab in your neighborhood, do not go into the lab. Many times, people booby trap them to destroy the lab or cover their involvement. Only trained personnel should go into meth labs.