State Trooper Discusses Meth Dangers

Methamphetamine is made from common household ingredients pictured here.
Methamphetamine is made from common household ingredients pictured here

Indiana has the dubious distinction of leading the nation in the number of meth labs seized in both 2013 and 2014. Trooper Maggie Short with the Indiana State Police Clandestine Lab Team says the highly addictive stimulant can be manufactured easily from ingredients that can be purchased at any hardware or drug store.

Pseudoephedrine, which is the active ingredient in cold and allergy medication, is also the main ingredient in meth production. Others include lawn fertilizer or cold packs, lithium batteries, lye, drain cleaner and salt. During a community presentation last night in Hamlet, Short said meth cooks aren’t necessarily skilled chemists.

“We have a lot of people that can follow a recipe and mix things up in a bottle. Most of these folks have no idea why this works the way it does. They just know it does.”

Methamphetamine is an extremely powerful stimulant. Short says most addicts she’s spoken to say they were addicted after trying meth one time.

“It’s able to produce a more powerful high than cocaine, and it really is easier to make than a cake from scratch,” Short said.

She added meth and cocaine are comparable in cost. A cocaine high only lasts about 30 minutes, while a meth user can stay high for up to 24 hours. Meth is more common in rural areas because of its ease of manufacture and lack of law enforcement resources, according to Short.

The manufacturing process has evolved as well, with so-called “one pot” labs favored by meth cooks due to the relative ease of production. The pots are actually plastic pop bottles in which the chemicals are mixed and allowed to cook. Short says they are potentially combustible during the cooking process and remain highly toxic afterward. If you find a plastic bottle with or without a hole in the top and a tube sticking out of it, notify the authorities immediately and do not touch it. Meth trash can be found any time but is most commonly discovered along roadsides during the spring after snow melts.