Drug Policy

How to Make Meth Production More Dangerous

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State and federal restrictions on purchases of pseudoephedrine, aimed at curtailing illicit meth production, seem to have had two major effects (aside from inconveniencing cold and allergy sufferers): They have increased the share of the market controlled by Mexican cartels, which do not have to buy pseudoephedrine by the box at Walgreens, and they have helped make the "shake and bake" method, which is simpler and uses less pseudoephedrine, the leading process for domestic production. The upshot is a lot more do-it-yourself production for personal use, using a technique that is more likely to cause injuries because it involves combining volatile chemicals in a two-liter soda bottle that you hold in your hand. By 2010, A.P. reports, 80 percent of meth manufacturing busts by the DEA involved the shake-and-bake method. As a result, it says, hospitals in areas where meth is popular are seeing a surge in burns associated with incompetent meth production:

If the person mixing the noxious brew makes the slightest error, such as removing the cap too soon or accidentally perforating the plastic, the concoction can explode, searing flesh and causing permanent disfigurement, blindness or even death.

An Associated Press survey of key hospitals in the nation's most active meth states showed that up to a third of patients in some burn units were hurt while making meth, and most were uninsured. The average treatment costs $6,000 per day. And the average meth patient's hospital stay costs $130,000 — 60 percent more than other burn patients, according to a study by doctors at a burn center in Kalamazoo, Mich….

Larger meth labs have been bursting into flame for years, usually in basements, backyard sheds or other private spaces. But those were fires that people could usually escape. Using the shake-and-bake method, drugmakers typically hold the flammable concoction up close, causing burns from the waist to the face.

"You're holding a flame-thrower in your hands," said Jason Grellner of the Franklin County, Mo., Sheriff's Department….

"From what we see on the medical side, that's the primary reason the numbers seem to be going up: greater numbers of producers making smaller batches," said Dr. Michael Smock, director of the burn unit at Mercy Hospital St. Louis….

Indiana had 89 meth-related injuries during the 10-year period ending in 2009. The state has had 70 in the last 23 months, mostly from shake-and-bake labs.

There is little evidence that the pseudoephedrine crackdown has curtailed meth use, which peaked years before limits on the decongestant became common. Now it looks like drug warriors can't even claim that shifting production to the big Mexican suppliers reduced the local hazards associated with making meth. 

Previous Reason coverage of shake-and-bake meth here.

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  1. That reminds me: I totally can not wait for the next season of Breaking Bad.

    1. When is it coming back?

      1. I thought it was over!?!?

        1. 16 more episodes have been approved, but no schedule’s been announced.

          They filmed the last season before knowing that they’d have approval for more episodes, which is why they designed the last show to have some closure and finality.

          But they are coming back.

          http://screenrant.com/breaking…..id-128095/

        2. This fifth season will be the final one. As fishfry notes, the end of Four was written to provide closure in case Matt Weiner kept AMC’s balls in a vise.

    2. I just watched the whole series in a marathon a few weeks ago. Hands down my favorite television drama ever.

      1. I think Dexter’s better but it’s damn good.

        1. Have you seen BB all the way through? Each season gets better. Dexter was great the first few seasons, but it has declined imho.

    3. ” the average meth patient’s hospital stay costs $130,000″

      wouldn’t it be cheaper just to buy them meth?

      1. MY GOD !? ARE YOU INSANE?? BECAUSE THAT’S AN INSANE IDEA ! JUST INSANE ! YOU ARE INSANE, INSANE, INSANE!!

        BLAH-BLAH-BLAH-BLAH!!!!!!!!!!!

      2. Even cheaper to just let them die.

  2. It is important that people suffer the consequences of living a bad life.

    1. …and their children…and neighbors…and police…and firefighters?

    2. And yet most politicians retire in wealth and comfort.

      1. One problem at a time.

        We can always discuss returning to the practice of tar and feathers.

        1. Be careful who you discuss such things with or you may end up detained for life without a trial.

  3. If the person mixing the noxious brew makes the slightest error, such as removing the cap too soon or accidentally perforating the plastic, the concoction can explode, searing flesh and causing permanent disfigurement, blindness or even death.

    I’m certain this quaifies as a policy success at DoJ.

    1. Yeah, I’m sure the lawmakers see this as a feature, not a bug.

  4. This is just proof that more restrictive laws are needed. Clearly drugs result in people hurting themselves, so we need to double-down on our efforts to stamp out drug use forever.

    I suggest outlawing 2-liter bottles.

    1. The state has had 70 in the last 23 months, mostly from shake-and-bake labs.

      And it’s an epidemic!!!! HOW CAN WE HANDLE 70 PEOPLE BEING BURNED OVER TWO YEARS!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!!/1111?!?!?!?!?1

    2. Damn, I was going to make a snarky about outlawing 2-liter bottles, but you beat to it.

      1. *snarky joke

        need to type better.

        1. “make a snarky” FTW!

      2. Consider people also use them to make mail box “bombs”. I would not be surprised if that gets proposed if it hasn’t already. Always remember, no matter how absurd we joke about this stuff, some ahole in power will think its a good idea.

        1. I can’t believe it’s been 15 years since I suggested to some Europeans I knew that they needed to ban assault envelopes.

          (BTW: This is the fourth time I’ve tried to post this comment. I keep getting error messages.)

  5. poar genes or head trauma cause stupidity, not the law. >oh yea, just cause i dont agree in wholesale legalization doesnt mean im stupid…stupid.

    1. No, but your lack of support for legalization is a strike against you. Also, your approach to syntax and typing comes off as that of an 11-year old with severe ADHD.

      Make no mistake, you’re fucking stupid.

      1. That’s a cruel thing to say. What did those ADHD kids ever do to you?

      2. That’s insulting to 11 year olds with severe ADHD.

      3. so an 11 yr old w ADHD preempted ur argument ! hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

        1. “so an 11 yr old w ADHD preempted ur argument”

          nope

  6. And the average meth patient’s hospital stay costs $130,000

    They will be transferred to prison after treatment, where they can work off that hospital tab.

    1. And that’s why we support for profit prisons!

  7. Smock? That’s a name?

  8. An Associated Press survey of key hospitals in the nation’s most active meth states showed that up to a third of patients in some burn units were hurt while making meth, and most were uninsured. The average treatment costs $6,000 per day. And the average meth patient’s hospital stay costs $130,000 ? 60 percent more than other burn patients, according to a study by doctors at a burn center in Kalamazoo, Mich…

    In the future, all stories will be reported in terms of associated healthcare costs. All op-eds will be written in terms of healthcare cost savings.

    1. “joe bob was killed today. As he was a lifelong smoker, his bullet to the head most likely saved 250k in lung cancer associated health costs over his lifetime. The perpetrator is being hunted down as we speak to determine whether the trauma of the killing will lead to mental health costs for the state.”

    2. All your health are belong to us!

      When government controls healthcare, is there any aspect of life that is off-limits for control based on healthcare costs? The future will be really fun for nannies. For the rest of us, not so much.

      1. We should prepare for the future by cryo-freezing Sylvester Stallone now.

        1. Do we also have to freeze Leary, or just hope for a convenient reincarnation?

          1. No we can freeze him too, along with Wesley Snipes and Sandra Bullock. We can just have Rob Schneider executed.

      2. We must save every life, no matter the cost!

      3. You’re Canadian, aren’t you? You should already know what the American future is like. 🙁

    3. In the future Currently, all stories will be reported in terms of associated healthcare costs. All op-eds will be written in terms of healthcare cost savings.

      Fixed

  9. Forget “Breaking Bad”, where are the meth heads who got jobs at DOW Chemical?

    Some see a moral scourge on America; I see evidence that No Child got Left Behind in toolshed chemistry.

  10. Why not just make pharmaceutical grade speed legal again? Then no one but the people too dumb enough to live would use meth. Having these people use pharmaceutical grade speed they can buy at a drug store sounds a lot better than this.

    Hell we give air force pilots speed. If it is that bad, why are we using it on our pilots?

    1. Disco.

      1. That doesn’t even make any sense.

        1. I believe the suggestion is that legal speed might bring back disco.

          1. I think speed was illegal by then. Speed was legal in the 50s. It’s reappearance might instead bring back high quality trucker songs.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClnFbpbpUOA

            I’m taking little white pills and my eyes are opened wide.

            1. If anything it would result in cleaner living spaces, less obesity, and more dentist appointments.

            2. Whichever.

            3. We got ourselves a convoy!

        2. Did you know that disco record sales were up 400% for the year ending 1976? If these trends continue… A-y-y-y!

    2. Air Force pilots protect America from al Qaeda fighter jets.

      Military personnel have proven themselves constitutionally and morally superior to civilians, which is why we send them of to foreign shitholes to be killed, dismembered, and traumatized.

    3. It’s OK for a pilot because they don’t use it for pleasure.

      Taking drugs to feel good is bad.

      Recreation is bad.

      1. Good ol New England Puritanism. Fucking shit up since the 17th century.

        1. You got it!
          Drugs are bad because people use them to feel good.

    4. How different is that from Adderall?

      1. Not sure. But why the hell isn’t Adderall over the counter? I hear that shit is a wonder drug.

        1. Exclusivity.

          1. That is a good point. If it were legal poor kids might start taking it. And then little Hayden and Emily might not have all the advantages that mumsie and pupsie want them to have.

            1. Median.

      2. Lawyer.

      3. Adderall is a mixture of meth and dextroamphetamine. The dex smoothes out the ride, IIRC.

  11. Shake n Bake Baby, Shake n Bake!

    I’d like to thank the little baby jesus for this meth.

    1. And there it is the inevitable Talledega Nights reference.

      1. I’ll scissor kick you in the back of the head chip! I’ll come at you like a spider monkey!

      2. It wasn’t done, but it had to be. So I did it.

  12. The next logical step is to outlaw plastic screw top containers.

    1. No. They would just require an ID and registration on a government list to purchase a two liter bottle of coke.

      1. Yeah, and you can only purchase one bottle every six months. Because the only reason you would need more than one is to make meth, according to the photo above.

        1. Kill two birds with one regulation: Meth and Obesity!

      2. They limit the pseudo to an amount that could be used to make meth.
        It only takes on bottle.
        So the bottles must banned completely.

      3. People are seriously suggesting the ID part, you know. Granted, the rationale is so that kids won’t get so much sugar, but still…do you want to give them more ammunition?

        1. And there’s nothing worse than going on a sugar and meth bender.

        2. TIme to start ordering the syrups online and pickup a Sodastream.

          1. Attempts to bypass federal drug control regulations and/or encourage childhood obesity will be handled with extreme prejudice.

            1. Isn’t that how life end for most Coke dealers?

              :crickets:

          2. More expensive at start but 100Xs better

            http://www.athomesoda.com/

            1. Ive done homemade ginger ale. It is superior to the store bought.

              Water
              Lemon Juice
              Sugar
              Ginger
              Yeast and/or force carbonation equipment.

              Last depends on scale. I made mine in 5 gallon batches, but for 2-liter batches, the force carbing isnt necessaary.

            2. Excellent link! Thanks for sharing.

    2. Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to support your candidacy for public office.

  13. I’m more alarmed that our dear Jason Gellner of the Franklin Sheriff’s department seems to think there is another way to hold a flame thrower than with your hands. Where are all these foot-operated flame throwers?

  14. Nyquil-D is no longer manufactured thanks to these assholes. A hit of the “ND” was all I needed for a good night’s sleep when virally compromised.

    I just had a 3.5 week head cold, and had to use stuff with stupid phenylephrine. Pah! It’s like replacing a fresh Chicago brick oven pizza with Lean Cuisine frozen pizza. Mmmmm… pizza.

    I once actually heard a pharmacist refer to phenylephrine as “wussy nonsense.”

  15. Thank god mom is a doctor so I never had to settle. As she said when we got sick — why bring a knife to a gunfight?

    1. I said that more than when you were just sick.

  16. It is easier for me to get weed that get some Sudafed for my runny nose. Walgreens now treats you like a fucking druggie (oh the irony) if yo com in asking for some real sudafed.

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