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 Meth Labs

The “one-pot” method of methamphetamine production is the type of lab being found currently in Northeast Michigan. These labs have the potential for fires, explosions, chemical spills, and chemical exposures. The labs can be found in single or multiple-family dwellings, motel rooms, campgrounds, storage buildings, motor vehicles, or outdoors on private or public land. Dump sites, or the discarded waste products from the labs are also dangerous. The residue may be dangerous to touch or inhale, and the bottles utilized in the production process could still burst, catch fire, or give off dangerous fumes and/or liquids.

Most of the ingredients necessary for the production of meth in this type of lab are easily accessible, as common household items and/or available for purchase as general merchandise. Pseudoephedrine (cold/sinus medication) is a necessary ingredient which is available without a prescription, but requires identification at a pharmacy prior to the purchase. The other items utilized include lithium (from batteries), sodium hydroxide (lye, found in drain cleaners), ammonium salt (found in cold packs or fertilizers), organic solvents (camp fuel, ether, or mineral spirits), muriatic acid and tin foil or sulfuric acid and salt, coffee filters, plastic bottles (usually 2 liter), and plastic tubing.

A combination of some of the items listed above could indicate the presence of a lab or dump site. Other indications of a lab are strong chemical odors (sometimes described as ether, ammonia, or strong urine), dark red stains in sinks, toilets, or bathtub, empty blister packs from pseudoephedrine products, casings from batteries that have been cut open, burn pits for waste products, plastic bottles with tubing attached, used coffee filters that are stained red or have white paste or shiny white crystals in them, and jars containing clear liquid with a white or red colored sludge in the bottom.

If a meth lab or dump site is found, call 911 immediately, do not touch, smell, or open any containers. Do not move or touch any of the byproducts. If you have come into contact with any of the chemicals you may need to seek medical attention, and/or thoroughly wash your skin and decontaminate your clothing. If you suspect meth activity, you may report it to law enforcement by calling 911, or 1-866-methtip (MSP meth line), or (989) 345-2304 (STING).

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