Methamphetamine, commonly referred to as (Meth, P, Pure, Ice, Chalk and Crystal, is a powerful highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It takes the form of a white, odourless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder. Methamphetamine can be consumed orally, snorted, injected, smoked or dissolved in water. Methamphetamine increases the amount of neurotransmitter dopamine, causing high levels of chemicals in the brain. Tolerance to methamphetamine develops quickly, meaning that higher doses are necessary to achieve the same effects or ‘high’. Many users compensate for this reduction in effect by taking increased doses, sometimes starting a cycle of drug use and withdrawal typical of methamphetamine dependence. The main ingredient in methamphetamine is ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. Ephedrine is found in many cough medications. Other Chemicals include acetone, lithium, toluene, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide to name a few.

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Useful links:

Exposure and Risk Associated with Clandestine Amphetamine -Type Stimulant Drug Laboratories - Jackie Wright - Thesis

NZ Drug Foundation - Methamphetamine

CSI DRUG Testing (sample collecting and reporting)

HILL Laboratories - Drug Testing (sample analysing)

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Signs of meth lab

Meth labs are often in highly populated residential areas so it is important to report any signs of a meth lab or other illegal drug activity. Neighbors living near a meth lab often notice unusual behavior of their neighbors and chemical like smells.

Some warning signs of a meth lab house include:

• Frequent visitors at all times of the day or night, for short durations
• Denied access to the area and/or paranoid behavior
• Covering and blacking out of windows
• Chemical smells not normally found in residential areas. (i.e paint thinner, vinegary smell)
• Large amounts of household chemicals
• Waste with a large number of cold(flu) packaging
• Significant amount of Coffee filters
• Glass containers with dried chemical deposits remaining
• Frequent burning of waste materials
• Pillowcases and sheets that are stained red
• Occupants appear secretive about activities
• Extensive security at the home or signs that indicate "Private Property" or "Beware of Dog", fences, large shrubs, bushes   and trees
• Occupants go outside the house to smoke cigarettes

How do you know when your property has or is being used as a meth lab.

• Unusual chemical smells that are not normally present in the area
• Numerous chemical containers (labeled solvent, acid, flammable) stored or stockpiled
• Glass equipment and cookware
• Plastic or glass containers fitted with glass or rubber tubing
• Numerous cold tablet packages lying around or in the rubbish
• Portable gas tanks or other cylinders not normally seen or used in the area
• Chemical stains around the household kitchen sink, laundry, toilet or stormwater drains
• Yellow/brown staining of interior floor, wall, ceiling and appliance surfaces
• Mostly closed and/or locked room doors

The presence of methamphetamine is a significant fire risk to your dwelling.


If you notice any of these signs of a meth lab it is important to report it immediately to the proper authorities and keep your neighborhood and family safe.

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Symptoms of Meth Exposure

Meth exposure may be caused by various forms of environmental contaminants. Even years after a building has been occupied by those producing or smoking meth, there are particles that remain if the ductwork and building have not been properly decontaminated. Your family can suffer from symptoms of meth exposure long before you even know that there were meth contaminants in the home. Meth symptoms are quite similar to those of other respiratory illnesses so it is important to test for meth exposure if you begin to notice respiratory discomfort when you move into a new home.

Symptoms of short-term (acute) exposure commonly include:

• A Shortness of breath
• Coughing
• Chest pains
• Dizziness
• Lack of coordination
• Chemical irritation or burns to skin, eyes, nose, and mouth (burns may result from acids and bases used in the manufacture of P)

 Less severe exposures can occur where people are living in, or have visited, homes formerly housing a clan-P lab:

  • • Headaches
  • • Nausea
  • • Dizziness
  • • Fatigue
  • • Personality change

Symptoms of long-term exposure commonly include:

  • • Liver and kidney damage
  • • Neurological problems
  • • Increased risk of cancer
  • • Oral problem, especially severe damage to teeth

One way to determine whether or not these symptoms may be caused by exposure to meth is to leave the home for an extended period of time. If the symptoms subside during an extended stay away from the home, there may be cause for concern. Even small amounts of meth exposure could trigger symptoms. Previous meth in the home due to cooking meth in the building, smoking meth in the building, or even cooking meth or smoking meth near the building can cause damaging effects to your family’s health. The earlier meth exposure is discovered, the easier it is to treat the symptoms and clean the home of all meth contaminants.

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