Methamphetamine and Meth Labs
How do I recognize a meth lab?
Labs can exist indoors or outdoors, in houses, apartment buildings, motels, vehicles, wooded areas or fields.Signs of illegal production or sales of drugs, including meth, are:
- Frequent visitors at all times of the day or night
- Occupants appear unemployed, yet make cash purchases or payments.
- Occupants are unfriendly, appear secretive, lie, or display odd or paranoid behavior
- Covering of windows or other security measures such as signs, fences, cameras
- Burn pits, stained soil or dead vegetation indicating chemical or waste dumping
- Strong chemical odors including ammonia or solvent smells at random times
Waste can include:
- Packaging from pills containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine
- Empty containers from: antifreeze, white gas, ether, starting fluids, freon, lye or drain openers, paint thinner, acetone, alcohol, rock salt or Epsom salt
- Compressed gas cylinders or camp stove containers
- Glass containers or soda bottles with dried chemical deposits remaining
- Bottles connected with rubber hosing and duct tape
- Coolers, thermos bottles, or other cold storage containers
- Masks, coffee filters, or pillow cases stained red or containing a white powdery residue
- Contaminated cat litter bags with litter
The “Shake and Bake” method of making meth – a newer method – is frequently used in automobiles and other small spaces. The waste from the process is the same as listed above. Flash fires can occur with this method. For more information about this method, see the Cleanup Guidance.
Use of meth does not mean meth was made or “cooked”. For information on cleanup when meth use is suspected, see the Cleanup Guidance.