Drug Endangered Children Topics
Drug Endangered Children
Methamphetamine does more than boost the crime rate, create drug addicts and turn normal lives into nightmares. Its manufacturing process presents an immediate environmental hazard. The cost of cleaning up these sites can be enormous.
Environmental problems arise both during the cooking process and after then large quantities of waste products are disposed improperly. Meth is most commonly made by extracting pure psudoephedrine or ephedrine from over the counter cold tablets that contain psudoephedrine or ephedrine such as Sudafed and other brands of decongestants. The tablets are crushed and soaked in highly explosive solvents to remove the pill binder and other unwanted contents. It takes thousands of common ephedrine or psudoephedrine tablets to make one pound of meth.
While the ephedrine or psudoephedrine are not harmful when used as directed, the harmful chemicals used to cook it are. The drug is converted into “crank” using one of three chemical methods.
Ephedrine/psudoephedrine is readily available in decongestants, the low concentration makes it difficult to convert to meth efficiently. The average ephedrine pill is just 25 milligrams, and it is extracted and processed in order to obtain it in pure form to convert to meth.
When meth was first manufactured in the 1970s, the recipe called for lots of heavy metals. Contamination throughout the site was more common. The next cooking method used lots of solvents and caustic material, which would also be harmful, but was more likely to evaporate before it caused much trouble.
One process calls for the cook to spray ether onto the oil that rises to the top at the end of cooking process. The ether dries out the oil and what is left is meth. One guy didn’t want to wait for the ether to work, so he put the whole thing into the oven. He got caught because of the resulting explosion.
The newest method, called the Nazi method, calls for using anhydrous ammonia, dry ice and acetone. This type of lab also uses ephedrine or psudoephedrine as the precursor. Conversion to methamphetamine involves two common precursors that are easily obtained and can be purchased legally from any chemical outlets. This method produces a high yield and takes only 30 minutes to convert an ephedrine/psudoephedrine into methamphetamine. However, one of the precursors is extremely water reactive and explodes upon contact with water, or to an abundance of moisture in the air. This type of lab also produces strong odors and dangerous gases that can be dangerous to the public if they are exposed to them.
Though the ammonia can be a problem, this is much better for the environment because everything evaporates so quickly. But, it is much harder on law enforcement agencies. The method can yield a batch of meth in less than an hour, as opposed to several days with the older methods, making it much harder to catch the criminals.
A few years ago a senate bill was passed banning commercial sales of hidriotic acid. This put a major dent in the domestic manufacturing of “crank,” until the laboratory operators determined that hidriotic acid can be manufactured using iodine crystals. Iodine crystals can be purchased legally through any chemical distributor however, the sale of iodine crystals is reportable to the DOJ. Veterinarians and people who shoe horses use iodine crystals to make their own slurry of iodine to be used as an antiseptic; this is the only known legitimate use for iodine crystals. Red phosphorus is used in the commercial manufacture of fireworks and similar incendiary devices.