Meth labs are highly dangerous. Many of the ingredients used to make meth are toxic and volatile, and can catch fire or explode.
In North Carolina, law enforcement officers have discovered meth labs
in homes, apartments, hotels, forests and cars. In many cases, children
are found living in homes where meth is made.
Addicts can produce their own meth using non-prescription medicines and household products
. Meth users learn how to cook meth from other addicts or from recipes found on the Internet.
Cooking meth produces dangerous byproducts that can cause severe burns, skin and eye irritation, and damage to lungs and kidneys. Exposure can result in headaches, dizziness, nausea, and even death. Under state law
, buildings that have been used to make meth have to be decontaminated
before they’re safe again.
Meth production also damages the environment. As many as five pounds of toxic chemical waste is created each time meth is produced in a lab. Criminals who make meth dump their toxic waste and contaminated containers, polluting our land and water.
Meth addicts can become violent and paranoid. They often place booby-traps in their labs, and use surveillance cameras to warn them against investigators. Additionally, meth labs are prone to fires and explosions.
Recent Trends with Meth Labs
Law enforcement officials report the emergence in North Carolina of meth labs that use the one pot or shake and bake method. Making meth using this process is fast, easy to set up, and produces little evidence or waste for the cook to dispose of. Criminals can use this method to make the drug using a plastic soda bottle and a small amount of pseudoephedrine.
Another trend in meth production is the spread of super labs that can produce more than 10 pounds of meth at a time. In some cases, meth is initially processed in Mexico, then transported as a liquid to super labs in the United States for final processing and sale. Officials discovered the first known super lab in North Carolina in 2009, and several have been reported in the Atlanta area.
If You Suspect a Meth Lab
If you suspect meth production in your community, call 911 immediately. Never examine a suspected lab or suspicious container yourself.