Crystal Meth Manufacturers Learn To Avoid Tracking

March 23, 2008

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Crystal meth is made with a variety of ingredients that can be found in a local supermarket or grocery store. In order to combat the rise in meth addiction around the country, the government has passed laws limiting the amount of these products that individuals can purchase.

In 2005, the Methampetamine Precursor Act required that cold and allergy medications which contain either of the ingredients ephedrine or pseudoephedrine to be sold behind pharmacy counters. This way, people can only buy a limited quantity and don’t have the opportunity to steal them. Databases keep track of how many of these products an individual purchases. The limit is three packages within a 30 day time period.

The criminal justice system is concerned because crystal meth manufacturers, which are commonly called “cooks”, have found a way around these regulations. They have begun making deals with their buyers. Methamphetamine addicts purchase the allergy medications with ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, and then they exchange them with dealers for a small amount of meth. The cook can get a large quantity of the needed ingredients and continue to manufacture a bigger amount of meth.

There is also a trend of crystal meth manufacturers switching to the anhydrous ammonia method rather than the red phosphorus method of making the drug. The red phosphorus process requires iodine as an ingredient, which law enforcement has also begun to track.

Small meth labs have continued to be a problem in the United States, even after these laws were passed. Officials are afraid now that since crystal meth manufacturers are coming up with more ways to avoid being tracked, there will be another huge increase in the number of labs. Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug made with toxic chemicals, and it creates a severe psychological addiction in the user that’s extremely difficult to overcome.

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