Methamphetamine is a highly addictive, physically damaging drug, but it is very simple to make in a clandestine lab setting. Citizens need to know what to look for to stay safe and understand how meth affects the body to grasp the significant changes a meth user will undergo both physically and mentally.
The problem of clandestine meth labs has been steadily growing in Indiana over the last decade. Illegal labs are regularly discovered in houses, apartments, garages, motel rooms, motor vehicles, barns and various other places. When a meth lab is discovered the Indiana State Police will remove drugs, chemicals, ingredients, and equipment to be used as evidence. Chemical and drug residues often remain on nonporous surfaces, in absorbent materials, and in sinks, drains, and ventilation systems. Production of one pound of meth will create approximately six pounds of waste.
While normally found in small amounts, meth lab contaminants may pose health threats to persons exposed to them. Short-term exposure symptoms may range from headache, nausea, and dizziness, which usually go away after several hours, to more severe symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, chemical irritation and burns, and even death. There is little known about the health effects of long-term exposure. Because of these possible health effects and until a former meth lab has been cleaned, no one should enter the area without appropriate levels of training and use of personal protective equipment.
More importantly, no one should rent, purchase, or occupy a former meth lab property unless a cleanup has occurred.