Lake Cumberland District Health Department - Environmental Services | Guidelines | Methamphetamine Contamination

Methamphetamine is an illegal drug, which is an amphetamine (found in common cold medicines).  Meth, like cocaine and other amphetamines, has affects on the central nervous system (CNS) like those of adrenaline. Common street names for methamphetamine include: speed, crank, ice, glass and crystal. Meth can be swallowed, inhaled (snorted), smoked or injected in its various forms.


Should I be Concerned with Methamphetamine in my neighborhood?
Methamphetamine is a dramatically increasing threat throughout Kentucky. Law enforcement authorities in Kentucky see this as an “exploding” trend much the same as crack cocaine several years ago. Though methamphetamine manufacturing activity in Kentucky consists mostly of small, unsophisticated clandestine laboratories producing limited amounts of methamphetamine, this activity is expected to expand rapidly in the near future in terms of both the number of labs and their size/sophistication.


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As you can see, the number of labs has continued to double nearly each year.  The threat of methamphetamine has grown and resides mostly in the rural parts of the state.  One of the reasons for the meth production in the rural part of the state is due to one of the main ingredients, anhydrous ammonia.  DEA and law enforcement officials of this state have diligently pursued this matter but the public needs to be educated on its health effects from exposure to a former methamphetamine lab.


So, What can it do to my health?
SHORT TERM EFFECTS
False sense of well-being
Convulsions, twitching and jerking
Dry, itchy skin
Aggressiveness
Increased heart rate
Increased muscle tension
Grinding of teeth
Stimulation of the adrenal gland
Constriction of blood vessels
Rise in blood pressure
Impaired speech
Loss of appetite
Hallucinations
Paranoia
Insomnia


LONG TERM EFFECTS
Malnutrition
Liver damage
Brain damage
Severe weight loss
Insomnia
Immune deficiency
Psychological problems
Lung disorder
Kidney disorder
Stroke
Coma
Death


What is in a Meth Lab?
Commercial Products, Chemicals, Hazards
Anhydrous Ammonia
Ammonia
Aluminum Foil, Aluminum, Non-Hazardous      
Camera Batteries, Lithium, Water Reactive
Charcoal Lighter Fluid, Petroleum Distillates, Flammable
Denatured Alcohol, Mixture of Alcohols, Flammable
Epsom Salts, Magnesium Sulfate, Non-Hazardous      
Gasoline, Petroleum Distillates, Flammable      
Heet, Methyl Alcohol, Flammable
Iodine Crystals, Iodine, Irritant
Kerosene, Petroleum Distillates, Flammable
Lacquer Thinner, Petroleum Distillates, Flammable
Mineral Spirits, Petroleum Distillates, Flammable
Muriatic Acid, Hydrochloric Acid, Corrosive
Red Devil Lye, Sodium Hydroxide, Corrosive
Base, Adjusts pH
Roto Rooter/Drainer/, Sulfuric Acid, Corrosive
Acid, Reacts with Table Salt
Liquid Free/Battery Acid
Starting Fluid, Ethyl Ethe, Flammable, Oil Extraction
Striker Plate, Phosphorus, Flammable
Source of Red Phosphorus
Table Salt, Sodium Chloride, Non-Hazardous
Ephedrine/ Cold Medicine, Ephedrine/Psuedoephedrine, Non-Hazardous


What would materials would indicate an existing meth lab?
A large amount of cold tablet containers
Jars containing clear liquid with white colored solid on the bottom
Jars labeled as containing Iodine or dark shiny metallic purple crystals inside
Jars labeled as containing Red Phosphorus or fine dark red or purple powder
Coffee filters containing a white pasty substance, a dark red sludge, or small amounts of shiny white crystals
Bottles or jars with rubber tubing attached
Glass cookware or frying pans containing a powdery residue
An unusually large number of cans of Coleman Fuel, paint thinner, acetone, starting fluid, Red Devil Lye, and drain cleaners containing Sulfuric Acid or bottles containing Muriatic Acid
Large amounts of lithium batteries, especially, ones that have been stripped
Soft silver or gray metallic ribbon (in chunk form) stored in oil or Kerosene
Propane tanks with fittings that have turned blue
Occupants of residence going outside to smoke
Strong smell of urine, or unusual chemical smells like ether, ammonia or acetone


Who should I contact concerning a meth lab?


If you discover a meth lab, the first person you should contact is your local police department.  Remember you should not enter the existing lab for any reason.  Once you have contacted the local police, they have access to special forces that will come and investigate and perform a gross clean-up of the site. 


Additional information and resources regarding methamphetamine production and contamination can be found at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s website at: Meth Fact Sheet.