The production or cooking of meth does not require expensive equipment, chemicals and experience. In fact, it can be made with simple household items making meth labs possible to be found in almost any location; from houses, apartments, cars, rental storage units, motorhomes or even carried in a backpack. However, there are many “tell-tales” signs that can indicate a meth lab nearby, both from the exterior of the occupation or from the behaviour of its occupants. This guide can help you spot a meth lab and tell if your neighbour is cooking meth in their home.
Ingredients of meth
It can be helpful to know the typical ingredients used to make ICE. Most of the chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine are not dangerous, although some of them can be hazardous. Ingredients and equipment include:
- Lithium Batteries
- Paint thinner
- Aluminium foil
- Cold pills
- Rubbing alcohol
- Muriatic acid
- Coleman’s fuel (kerosene)
- Iodine crystal
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Sodium hydroxide
- Sulfuric acid
- Calcium chloride.
If you see these items in abnormal quantities, it could be an early sign that someone is making meth.
From the outside: Signs you can spot
Unusual strong odours: The production of meth produces strong ammonia-like odours or ether. Ammonia can be compared to the smell of rotten eggs or urine. Strong odours and toxic fumes are produced which will lead to the makers try to ventilate as much as possible
Excessive ventilation: To get rid of toxic fumes, the meth makers may set up fans, furnace blowers, open windows during cold and night times, or any weird ventilation setup
Covered Windows with foils or plastics: Occupants of a meth house often cover windows to prevent the public to see inside. Some windows may be broken with burned glass
Increased security activity, especially at night: These can include unusual “Keep out” signs, dogs, or security cameras to prevent people from getting close
Discoloration of structures, pavement or soil
Excessive trash, such as:
- Packaging from cold tablets
- Lithium batteries
- Propane tanks with fittings turned blue
- Coffee filters stained with odd colours such as red
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Empty containers with puncture holes (antifreeze, white gas, freon, paint thinner, acetone, alcohol, white gas)
- Plastic soda bottles with holes near the top
- Plastic or rubber hoses, rubber gloves, duct tape
- Respiratory masks
From the inside
A meth lab or house that has been used to make meth can vary a lot in appearance from the inside. A structure hosting a meth lab can be messy, dirty and full of strong chemicals odors or can appear very normal. The state of the structure depends on how it was taken care by its occupants while the meth lab was operating.
However, there are certain ingredients or items in abundance, as we have listed, used for the production of Methamphetamine that may indicate a meth lab was operating. Although these items are very common and sometimes just normal household items, the amount and state of these items can be an indicator. For example, coffee filters stained with a abnormal color or pieced soda bottles and containers.
Sometimes the behaviour of the occupants of the property can be clues of an clandestine meth lab operating inside. You might see occupants displaying these behaviours:
- Excessively paranoid: Users of meth can show very secretive, anxious and paranoid behaviour due to the effects of the drug
- Staying inside for long periods
- Frequent Visitors, especially at night: Although occupants stay inside for extended periods of time, they can often have visitors at odd times, such as suppliers or buyers of met. The effects of the drug also give them high energy, and can prevent them from sleeping for days
- Renters who insist to pay cash
- Take their garbage to somewhere else: To avoid raising suspicions they may burn their garbage, throw away in another house collection area or somewhere else
Symptoms of Meth contamination
Staying in a house contaminated with Meth can produce serious health issues that can show through certain symptoms:
- Dry mouth
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pains
What to do if you find a Meth Lab?
Avoid touching any surfaces surrounding the area of the Meth Lab as it is the most common way of contamination. Decontaminate yourself and your clothes quickly, such as hands and face and contact the local authorities.
If you suspect a meth lab or aren’t sure, we can help. Give us a call 1300 246 429 and describe your situation. We have DIY Meth Testing Kits available to Purchase Online in order to test for meth on surfaces of any properties, which will give you results in under minutes.