Methamphetamine, commonly referred to on the street as crystal meth, is a synthetic central nervous system stimulant. Made from many toxic household items, meth is not hard to produce, but very dangerous.
The main ingredient in methamphetamine is ephedrine or psuedoephedrine. Ephedrine is found in many cough medications, although the government has begun to restrict availability due to abuse. Chemicals are extracted from things like brake cleaner, engine starter, rubbing alcohol, batteries, and fertilizer. All of the chemicals in methamphetamine are toxic and harmful.
In order to make crystal meth, one may use common household items. Pyrex dishes, glass bottles, cheesecloth, aluminum foil, and rubber tubing are examples of equipment used to make meth. As the ingredients may be acquired legally, and the equipment is easily attainable, it is becoming more popular for addicts to make their own meth.
Dangers of Cooking Meth
The process of cooking meth requires many dangerous procedures. For example, if red phosphorous overheats, it creates phosphine gas, a highly toxic gas if inhaled. Many chemical reactions may create toxic gases, while others may cause explosions. Small mistakes may cause large explosions or gas leaks and many fatalities. Chemicals such as ammonia or alkali metals are very reactive with one another, and are a leading cause of meth lab explosions.
Where Crystal Meth is Made
Crystal meth is made in laboratories of all sizes across the world. Industrial level labs create massive amounts of meth with a routine procedure. Smaller labs produce for a local area, and may try different methods. Some users have been able to fit a meth lab into a small suitcase, and make the drug while driving. All across the country, meth is made in many small labs, but California and the Pacific Northwest are the largest producers of meth in the country. According to intelligence agencies, meth cooks teach on average ten other people each year how to cook the drug, spreading the knowledge and danger.