Methamphetamine, or meth, is a highly toxic, powerful central nervous system stimulant with a potential to become an addictive drug. Some of its street names include crank, crystal, speed, chalk, glass, and ice. It can be smoked, snorted, injected, or ingested. Manufacturing, distributing, or possessing meth is illegal.
Illegal Meth Labs
A meth lab can be set up using common household equipment and chemicals. The different ways of making meth can involve explosives, solvents, metals, salts, and corrosives. Meth labs have been found in homes, sheds, barns, motel and hotel rooms, outside in the woods, and in car trunks. Manufacturing or"cooking" meth can leave behind large amounts of toxic waste.
Signs of an Illegal Drug Lab
Alone, these activities or signs may not mean that illegal drug activity is occurring. However, some or several of them happening together may indicate a problem.
- Strong chemical odor coming from house, garbage, or detached building.
- Visitors come and go throughout the day and night and stay for short periods of time.
- Extra efforts to cover windows or have extensive security, such as reinforced doors.
- Deterioration of property and excessive amounts of trash, such as large amounts of antifreeze, drain cleaner, and glass containers.
- Appear to have plenty of money but don’t seem to go to work - drive expensive cars, pay rent or bills with cash.
- Never take trash out to be collected or put garbage in another neighbor’s collection area.
- Residents come outside to smoke cigarettes.
- Children and pets of the home appear to be neglected.
- Residents act unfriendly, paranoid, or appear secretive about their activities.
Dangers of Meth Labs
Waste dumped from meth labs can expose people to toxic chemicals. People picking up litter on the side of a road have been injured from meth lab waste dumps. Exposures to high levels of contaminants found in meth labs can cause shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, dizziness, lack of coordination, chemical irritation, and burns to the skin, eyes, mouth and nose, and in severe cases, death. Symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue have occurred in people who entered a meth lab after the bust was completed, but before the property was properly cleaned and ventilated. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider.
First, a single area is tested, generally inside the return air cavity of the furnace. We collect a small sample, which is then sent to the lab to determine if Methamphetamine substances have been used or made in the property. If contamination exists, there are specific steps you must take to remediate the problem. We can explain this process to you. After the initial sample is submitted, you can expect the results in about 7 business days. If you are in a time crunch, a rush status can be requested for additional fee.
A sample meth test can be seen on our Resources page.