Methamphetamine use and dealing has been on the rise in our rural communities. Abandoned buildings and low population make ideal conditions for meth “cookers” to go undetected. Some common ingredients in the production of meth are located on our farms and ranches. We can all do our part by making these products less accessible to the public. Some common ingredients found on our farms and in our households are:
- Ephedrine (Cold tablets)
- Pseudoephedrine (Cold tablets)
- Alcohol (Isopropyl or Rubbing)
- Toluene (Brake Cleaner, Paint Thinner)
- Ether (Engine Starter)
- Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
- Black Iodine or Iodine Crystals
- Sulfuric Acid (Drain Cleaner)
- Salt (Table/Rock)
- Lithium (Batteries)
- Anhydrous Ammonia (Farm Fertilizer)
- Red Phosphorus (Matches/Road Flares)
- Methanol/Alcohol (Gasoline Additives)
We can prevent meth being made from ingredients on our farms and ranches by making sure sheds, barns and other structures have proper locks and checking on them often. Keep up good communication with neighbors and law enforcement officials to keep an eye on abandoned buildings in the area. If anhydrous fertilizer is used on the farm, do not leave tanks sitting around. Coordinate with the dealer to have tanks ready at the needed time and return them immediately when finished. Also, inspect the tank condition at delivery, before using and before returning. Report any suspected tampering to authorities.
What are the signs of a meth lab? Meth cookers may leave behind paper boxes and packaging from cold tablets, coffee filters soaked in alcohol or ether, cans, plastic bottles, glass jars, hot plates or electric skillets, left over chemicals, used syringes, plastic tubing, plastic bags and batteries. Chemical odors may also be present.
If a possible meth lab is discovered, contact authorities immediately and stay away. Discarded containers, waste and other materials from the meth lab can be highly volatile and explosive.
Information for this article is from the University of Illinois Extension in Champaign County; the California Farm Bureau Federation and from Journey to a Healthy Community: Addressing Methamphetamine Addiction on the Fort Peck Reservation.
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