Methamphetamine (Meth) is a central nervous system stimulant. It is usually prescribed to people with ADHD, narcolepsy, and in some rare cases to individuals with obesity problems.
Methamphetamine is made with ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. Meth production was primarily based in the US, mostly in the state of California. However, when the US Government put the chemicals needed for Methamphetamine production under control, the drug lords moved their labs to Mexico. Similarly, when the same thing happened there, the production was moved to Europe and Asia. From there, the final product is brought back to the US and distributed.
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What Ingredients are Used in Making Methamphetamine?
The main ingredient in making methamphetamine is ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. Meth producers buy ephedrine tablets in bulk.
- The first step in synthesizing meth is to separate ephedrine from the tablets. To achieve this, chemists mix the tablets with solvent. Then, they filter out the solution and expose it to low temperature. This way they get pure ephedrine.
- After they mixed the pure powder with red phosphorus and hydriodic acid.
- The next step is to filter the red phosphorus.
- The producer then, adds a lye solution to the rest of the acid.
- The added solution binds to the meth, creating a liquid substance.
- Liquid methamphetamine is drained.
- The next step is to crystallize the drained meth. To achieve this, producers add Hydrogen Chloride gas.
- If the producers pour the mixture over a piece of cloth, the pure meth will stay on top of the fabric.
- The meth is dried and mixed with some fillers afterward.
- It is then, packaged which completes the process.
It only takes two days to create crystal meth! However, there are also some faster ways to produce the drug, like one pot meth method.
Some of the substances producers use to synthesize meth are:
- Battery acid
- Drain cleaners
- Lantern fuel
The History of Meth Production
Back in the 70’s, Hell’s Angels were the most famous producers of amphetamine. They managed to synthesize meth out of a chemical that was used to clean swimming pools. After the US Government put the chemical under control, they looked for new ways to produce meth. As a result, they started using ephedrine. However, with ephedrine, they did not create amphetamine as they had hoped. But, they made something much more potent—methamphetamine.
After the US Government put the chemical under control, they looked for new ways to produce meth. As a result, they started using ephedrine. However, with ephedrine, they did not create amphetamine as they had hoped. But, they made something much more potent—methamphetamine.
The Mexican brothers, Amezcua, instantly saw the potential in this new substance. Consequently, they took over the business from the Hell’s Angels. They purchased ephedrine from overseas and produced meth in bulk.
This caused the authorities to put ephedrine under strict control. But, the drug lords quickly rose above the situation and switched to using pseudoephedrine! Incidentally, sellers of this substance had to register to the DEA and get a temporary selling license.
The Government and the DEA took a great effort to remove pseudoephedrine from the shelves, which made the pharmaceutical lobby less than pleased. In the meantime, meth producers bought pseudoephedrine pills in bulk.
The effort to remove pseudoephedrine from pharmacies was a great success for the Government. But, the substance was still available in the form of cough medicines sold behind the counter.
To further limit pseudoephedrine purchase, Congress passed an Act in 2005 which forced pharmacies to keep count of how much of this substance is being sold. They also limited the amount of cold medicine which contains pseudoephedrine that a person can purchase in one day.
What are Superlabs?
Superlabs are illegal laboratories, situated mostly in Mexico where they still produce meth in bulk. These labs are mostly abandoned warehouses in areas with very little traffic. Meth producers often seal the windows and doors and pay their landlords in cash.
What are the Dangers of Methamphetamine Production?
- Meth producers often suffer from serious health problems such as: respiratory issues, arrhythmia, thyroid problems, internal organs damage, pulmonary edema, eye damage and blindness.
- Because they use red phosphorus, it is not uncommon for meth labs to explode. Which, causes severe burns to people.
- Furthermore, methamphetamine labs emit hazardous fumes that cause serious environmental damage. Production of just one pound of meth creates six pounds of toxic byproducts!
- People who live in the community near a meth lab are also in great danger for toxins released during meth production. It includes brain and lung damage.
- For these, among many other reasons, former meth labs are very hard, almost impossible, to sell.
- In home-based labs, producers keep the necessary ingredients in their home refrigerators together with the food they eat. According to some records, eating that food can cause death!
- Another risk of running a meth lab are problems with the law. Possessing and using methamphetamine is ILLEGAL IN EVERY STATE. And, an even more serious crime is possessing meth with the intent to sell. For possession, one can get fined or end up in prison. An individual who is making methamphetamine can find himself in jail for more than ten years.