More and more often these days, where there is smoke there is a drug problem. Like police departments elsewhere in Colorado and the nation, Pueblo is battling the latest drug scourge: methamphetamine.
Not only is it more difficult to combat because it is almost a cottage industry, the leftovers from the production process are a major health hazard.
Mobile production labs housed in cars, moving vans and anything else that can hold the modern day stills long enough to convert cold medicine into drugs.
With equipment and ingredients readily available in the average discount store, hack chemists are churning out thousands of dollars worth of highly addictive dope and hazardous byproducts created in the chemical reactions necessary to cook the drug.
Cleanup costs routinely roll into the tens of thousands of dollars.
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Fast Facts About Meth
- Methamphetamine use among high school seniors more than doubled between 1990 and 1996.
- Women are more likely to use meth than cocaine.
- The average meth "cook" annually teaches ten others how to make meth.
- Every pound of meth produced leaves behind five to six pounds of toxic waste.
- Seizures of clandestine meth labs in the Midwest increased tenfold from 1995 to 1997.
- Methamphetamine accounts for up to 90 percent of all drug cases in many Midwest communities.
- Methamphetamine kills by causing heart failure, brain damage and stroke.
- Methamphetamine-induced paranoia has led to numerous murders and suicides.
- Methamphetamine produces hallucinations.
- Meth users are the hardest to treat of all drug users.
- Meth lab site cleanups can cost up to $150,000.
- Methamphetamine is highly addictive.
- Meth use increases risk of child abuse and neglect and domestic violence.
Many people may be unaware that they're living near a meth lab. Here are some things to look for:
- Unusual, strong odors (like cat urine, ether, ammonia, acetone or other chemicals).
- Residences with windows blacked out.
- Renters who pay their landlords in cash. (Most drug dealers trade exclusively in cash.)
- Lots of traffic - people coming and going at unusual times.
- There may be little traffic during the day, but at night the activity increases dramatically.
- Excessive trash including large amounts of items such as: antifreeze containers, lantern fuel cans, red chemically stained coffee filters, drain cleaner and duct tape.
- Unusual amounts of clear glass containers being brought into the home.
Presence of the following items could indicate the existence of a meth lab:
- Toluene/Paint Thinner
- Camp Stove Fuel/Coleman Fuel
- Starting Fluid
- Anhydrous Ammonia
- White Gasoline
- odine Crystals
- Red Phosphorous
- Black Iodine
- Lye (Red Devil Lye)
- Muriatic/Hydrochloric Acid
- Battery Acid/Sulfuric Acid
- Epsom Salts
- Sodium Metal
- Wooden Matches
- Propane Cylinders
- Hot Plates
- Ephedrine (over-the-counter)
- Cold Tablets
- Energy Boosters
- Rock Salt
- Diet Aids
Source: www.kci.org [Koch Crime Institute]