About this iReport
  • Not verified by CNN

  • Click to view CelebrateMe's profile
    Posted February 15, 2010 by
    West Virginia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Breaking news: Share your story

    More from CelebrateMe

    Is there a Meth Lab in your neighborhood?



    DEA, National Clandestine Laboratory Register

    Methamphetamine Labs

    What is Meth?


    Methamphetamine, or meth, is an addictive stimulant drug that strongly activates certain systems in the brain. Methamphetamine is closely related chemically to amphetamine, but the central nervous system effects of methamphetamine are greater. Both drugs have some limited therapeutic uses, primarily in the treatment of obesity


    According to the National Drug Intelligence Digest, "Independent traffickers manufacturing methamphetamine in clandestine home labs may expose children to abuse, injury and death from hazardous chemicals and laboratory explosions. Medical authorities report the toxic chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine can cause burns and harm the brain, liver, kidneys, lungs and eyes. Children exposed to these toxins can exhibit aggression, violence, paranoia and hallucinations. They may also develop learning disabilities and behavioral problems."


    Methamphetamine labs pose threats of fire and explosion, inhalation of hazardous substances, chemical burns and other immediate risks from direct contact. This applies not only when the lab is in the actual production process but also through the haphazard storage of incompatible chemicals and the indiscriminate disposal of chemical waste. Methamphetamine labs can be set up just about anywhere - in private homes, motels, apartments trailers, houseboats, farms or anywhere else out of the weather and out of sight.


    If you suspect someone is operating a methamphetamine lab in your neighborhood, do not go near it - call the police. Once the lab is shut down, the officer in charge should notify appropriate government agencies



    Meth Production

    Methamphetamine labs create health hazards for both rural and urban areas. Many producers prefer remote locations but not all. While many urban labs are setup for long term production, an increasing number are created as temporary facilities in places such as hotel rooms, rental trucks and campers. Other possible locations include houses, apartments, mobile homes, warehouses, motor vehicles, outdoor fields and wooded areas.

    According to the National Drug Intelligence Digest, "Indicators of clandestine laboratory activity include the following:
    • Strong odor of chemicals in the area
    • Complaints from neighbors about strange smells coming from the property
    • Heavy fortification, such as bars on the windows
    • Suspicious automobile traffic and visitors to the site
    • Unusual hours of activity
    • Chemical cans or drums in the yard
    • People leaving the building to smoke
    • Open windows in cold weather."

    For each pound of finished product, these labs typically have five to six pounds of hazardous waste left over which is most always disposed of inappropriately. Sometimes it's buried or taken to remote locations. Sometimes it's just flushed down the toilet. These waste can sterilize soil and poison local water tables. Dumping it down the drain can contaminate municipal sewage systems reacting with chemicals used in treatment plants.

    The Drug Enforcement Administration was created by President Richard Nixon through an Executive Order in July 1973 in order to establish a single unified command to combat "an all-out global war on the drug menace." At its outset, the DEA had 1,470 Special Agents and a budget of less than $75 million. Furthermore, in 1974, the DEA had 43 foreign offices in 31 countries. Today, the DEA has 5,235 Special Agents, a budget of more than $2.3 billion and 87 foreign offices in 63 countries. Click here to read about the DEA's proud tradition of excellence.

    .         What to do if you spot a possible Meth Lab


    WARNING: Never open a trash bag to try to identify the contents! Inhaling the toxic gasses associated with Meth lab waste can be very dangerous, even fatal.

    Explosion and Fire can occur without warning.



                      DO NOT TAKE CHANCES:


    Do not enter an apartment or other structure that may house a meth lab. Meth labs are very hazardous, potentially explosive environments.

    Do not open trash or other containers that may contain meth materials. A bag of meth by-products can be fatal if inhaled directly.

    Do not approach tenants if you suspect they are producing meth. Use of or exposure to meth may cause paranoia and violent behavior.

    Conditions of Use: The U.S. Department of Justice ("the Department") provides this web site (DEA Clandestine laboratory directory) as a public service. It contains addresses of some locations where law enforcement agencies reported they found chemicals or other items that indicated the presence of either clandestine drug laboratories or dumpsites. In most cases, the source of the entries is not the Department, and the Department has not verified the entry and does not guarantee its accuracy. Members of the public must verify the accuracy of all entries by, for example, contacting local law enforcement and local health departments. To report erroneous information found in the database, please contact DEA at NCLR@usdoj.gov. The Department does not establish, implement, enforce, or certify compliance with clean-up or remediation standards for contaminated sites; the public should contact a state or local health department or environmental protection agency for that information. Entries on this web site are not intended to constitute advice nor should entries on this web site be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed professional familiar with the specific facts and circumstances of the situation in question. The public should not act or refrain from acting based on entries on this web site. The Department does not accept responsibility or liability for damages of any kind resulting from reliance on an entry or on the lack of an entry on this web site.






    Special thanks to the DEA and the DOJ for the information provided. Stay Safe Officers.


    Add your Story Add your Story