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Crystal Meth’s Dangerous Ingredients

Updated on August 2, 2010

The ingredients in crystal meth read like a list of solvents you might pick up at the hardware store. No sane person would ingest any of it regularly but once it’s in a meth concoction, addicts line up to buy it.

Cooking meth in a makeshift lab is an incredibly dangerous process. Mixing various flammable substances is a fire hazard dangerous enough to scare even mad scientists. An explosion can happen at any time and it’s not unusual for people to die during the process. To make matters worse, meth labs leave behind toxins that damage the health of innocent and unknowing people that take up residence in homes or apartments with a shady past. Chances are the rooms in dive motels are crawling with all kinds of residue left over from meth science experiments.

Crystallized methamphetamine was first discovered by Akira Ogata in 1919 by reducing ephedrine with the use of red phosphorus and iodine. Abbott Laboratories sought to market the drug for various conditions including narcolepsy and parkinsonism, managing to get FDA approval in 1943 (which was later retracted).

The important lesson to note here is the original, genuine article is nothing like the meth found on the streets today. Before the 90s, the U.S. methamphetamine market was run by large operators in California and Mexico. Since then a growing number of small-scale labs popped up throughout America in rural, suburban and rough, low-income neighbourhoods. About 80% of the meth coming from the United States still comes from larger labs while the remainder is cooked at STL (small toxic labs).

Small-time meth producers cook with readily available items found in local stores and are constantly find new ways to cut costs by using cheap ingredients. This explains why the exact items that make up a batch have become so mysterious. The strength and toxicity varies greatly because the methods employed and components are so diverse.

Are you improving your home or building a meth lab, sir?
Are you improving your home or building a meth lab, sir?

Extremely flammable, acetone auto-ignites at temperatures of 465 °C (869 °F). It is believed to be only slightly toxic in typical concentrations. At very high potency it depresses the central nervous system.

Anhydrous ammonia
Anhydrous ammonia is a version of ammonia lacking in water. It will rip through human flesh in order to join with water as this is its natural state. Exposure to high levels can swell the throat, causing breathing problems or inflict chemical burns on the lungs.

Battery acid
Also known as Sulfuric Acid, it can cause burns to the throat and anything else it comes in contact with once ingested. It’s highly reactive with other chemicals, producing toxic fumes.

A carcinogen once used as an additive in gasoline, that has since been removed due to its harmful effects to human health and the environment. Low levels cause dizziness, rapid heart rate, confusion and unconsciousness. It is known to cause harm to the vital organs and cause breaks in DNA structure.

Once a popular aesthetic used by doctors to perform serious operations; It depresses the central nervous system. Its use has been abandoned by the medical establishment because of it tendency to cause fatal cardiac arrhythmia.

Drain cleaner (Drano)
Drinking drano was called the most painful way to attempt suicide when a teen girl ingested it, later never to be able to pass food orally again. It chemically burns the lining of the mouth, esophagus and stomach.

Compound used as a stimulant, appetite suppressant and to treat hypertension. In 2006, the FDA ruled that selling dietary supplements containing Ephedrine is illegal. In most countries it is a prescription-only drug still used in low dosages to treat illnesses such as hay fever.

Ether (starting fluid)
Diethyl ether has a long history of use in medicine and as a recreational drug. Although it’s relatively safe on its own, meth labs often use starting fluid as a cheap source which also contains heptane, butane or propane.

Overexposure to Freon (Chlorofluorocarbon) can cause dizziness, difficulty concentrating, depression to the nervous system or fatal cardiac arrhythmia.

Too much iodine can create an enlarged thyroid gland and dysfunction of the organ. Granted, this is one of the safest parts of common crystal meth.

Lithium from batteries
Pure lithium elevates the mood and is relatively safe, however using lithium batteries may be a whole other story. Common side effects include muscle tremors, twitching and hyperparathyroidism. It wreaks additional havoc on the thyroid when paired with iodine.


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      TMack 2 years ago

      Why would you put the ingredients on line

    • profile image

      Danielpadilla 2 years ago

      Stop me thin around, suboxone is covered by state insurance and takes the withdrawal symptoms away completely... do yourself a favor and get help the easy way. No aches no pains no withdrawal! It takes a certain kind of certification foe drs. To write this go to the website and type in a zip code and they have the names...they have great funding and can get you it for free or cheap...make the choice of life and Fuckin do it. Side effects are family and friends come back you sleep and act and feel good and you don't look over your shoulder anymore, your clean and healthy and happy..

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      anonimus me 7 years ago

      dam i hope is enough to make me quit