How Is Meth Made?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), most of the meth, or methamphetamine in the United States, is made by criminal organizations in Mexico. When the meth is smuggled into the US as a liquid or powder, local meth labs turn it into crystal meth. These labs don’t require a lot of equipment and can be done in a small space, making it harder for law enforcement agencies to shut down.

What Are the Ingredients in Meth?

Meth, or methamphetamine, is made using household items and store-bought toxic chemicals such as cold medications, acetone, paint thinner, battery acid, drain cleaner, lithium from batteries, ammonia, and red phosphorus.

The most common ingredient in meth is ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in cold medicines. Through a cooking process involving cutting agents, these over-the-counter ingredients are turned into meth.

How Meth Is Made: Methamphetamine Production

The meth manufacturing process is rough and improvised. Cooking meth may be simple, but it is extremely dangerous because the meth chemicals are highly flammable and toxic.

The recipe for meth can be easily found on the internet and made in as little as 6 to 8 hours using kitchen equipment and cookware. Most ingredients are standard household products and items that can be bought over the counter.

However, according to the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, most methamphetamine cooks are usually meth users for years before they attempt their first production. They are typically taught the meth production process by a relative or friend and begin to produce for personal use.

meth production

Meth Labs

The two types of meth labs are small toxic labs and “super labs.” Small toxic labs produce meth in smaller quantities and can be set up anywhere, like motel rooms, garages, and inside cars.

These small setups are sometimes called “one-pot” or “shake and bake” because they are a quick fix for meth producers who want to make meth quickly. The shake-and-bake method includes mixing chemicals in water bottles in a car, for example, rather than in a lab.

Super labs are large scale operations, producing large amounts of meth to sell across the US. Most of these more extensive labs are owned by Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reported more than 9,000 underground meth lab seizures in 2014. These illegal operations are a risk to the public through fire, explosions, and exposure to toxic waste because of the volatile substance used.

People can experience various health effects after a fire and explosion from a meth lab. These symptoms can include:

  • Respiratory issues
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains
  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Disorientation
  • Nausea
meth labs

Long-Term Effects of Meth Use

Methamphetamine is an illegal, highly addictive stimulant drug that affects your central nervous system. It is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance because it has a high potential for abuse.

In addition to meth addiction and abuse, the NIDA reported that people who repeatedly use methamphetamines long-term might experience severe symptoms, such as:

  • Changes in brain function and structure
  • Memory loss
  • Serious dental issues, such as meth mouth
  • Weight loss
  • Psychosis such as paranoia, hallucinations, and repetitive body movements
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Loss of motor skills and ability to think

Get Help for Methamphetamine Addiction and Substance Abuse

Repeated meth use typically always results in meth addiction. Unlike cocaine which is quickly metabolized by the body and plant-derived, meth is entirely artificial and stays in the body and brain much longer, causing more prolonged stimulant effects.

Inpatient rehab or a residential treatment center is the most comprehensive and effective treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring behavioral health conditions. Northridge Addiction Treatment Center provides evidence-based treatment surrounded by experienced, licensed, compassionate care in a nurturing environment.

During your stay at NATC, you can allow yourself to be immersed in healing, focusing on yourself to create a rehabilitation plan that will work for you in your current situation and help you achieve your future goals.

Our only mission is your recovery. Let us build your unique path to sobriety, creating a solid foundation for lasting recovery and a happy drug-free life.

Reach out now. Our caring treatment specialists are eager to help you.

Find Meaningful Recovery

Our caring and compassionate specialists are eager to help you comfortably navigate this journey to recovery. Our individualized treatment plan, programs, and therapies may be a perfect match for you or your loved one. Let us assist you in living the happy life you deserve. It starts with a phone call.

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