In other to make methamphetamine, you’ve got to have a meth lab. Because it is possible to make this drug in a 2 liter bottle with a stripped down battery, pseudoephedrine, and a few other household chemicals, meth labs can be virtually anywhere today. It also means that meth lab explosions can happen frequently and virtually anywhere.
This has grown to such a problem that even adopt-a-highway litter control programs are mandating training classes for volunteers so they can recognize the components of a discarded mobile meth lab. The elements can remain combustive for several hours after they’ve been disposed of, so this is a public health risk that must be taken seriously.
Facts on Meth Lab Explosions
1. 11,210. That’s the number of all the meth lab incidents that were reported in 2012 by the DEA. This amount is 50% lower than the incidents reported in 2004, but 50% higher than the incidents reported in 2007.
2. The State of Missouri is almost always the state with the highest amount of meth lab incidents. They reported 1,825 in total for 2012. In comparison, the State of Alaska reported just 1 incident.
3. In Tulsa County, Oklahoma, police identified 979 contaminated meth lab sites.
4. The Tulsa Police Department cleaned 690 meth labs in a 26 month period at a total cost of over $118 million.
5. People who are caught in a meth lab explosion require resuscitation attempts 1.8x more frequently than in other general emergencies.
6. Men are 10x more likely to be caught in a meth lab explosion compared to women.
7. The average meth patient’s hospital stay after an explosion will cost $130k. That’s 60% more than the costs of other burn patients.
8. 7 burn units have shut down over the last 6 years because of the costs of treating uninsured burn victims and not receiving payment for those treatments.
9. 8 out of 10 meth labs that have been stopped by authorities used the 2 liter bottle “shake and bake” method of cooking.
10. Up to 35% of the burn patients that report to the emergency room are meth positive, even if they don’t indicate that they were using the drug in the initial interview.
11. Indiana, which is consistently in the Top 5 of states with meth lab discoveries each year, averages 70 reported injuries from meth lab explosions annually.
12. Only 10% of the patients who go to the doctor for injuries from a meth lab explosion have some form of health insurance, which is 6x less than the general population.
13. To create just 1 pound of meth, about 6 pounds of toxic waste must also be created.
14. It only takes $1,000 worth of ingredients to create $20,000 worth of meth.
15. It takes over $4 billion every year to enforce the meth laws that have been enacted locally, regionally, and nationally.
16. 50% of the counties in the United States say that their #1 crime issue is the creation of meth and meth-induced consequences that occur.
17. It takes just 2 years for a meth addict to burn through almost 40 years’ worth of dopamine, which means users are generally not aware of the dangers they encounter while baking if high at the time.
18. In 2005, over 70 different towns in the US called themselves the Meth Capital of the World.
Treating patients from a meth lab explosion is remarkably difficult. Not only are there advanced treatments that are usually required for the thermal burns, but most patients caught in such an explosion are uninsured.
For households that are renting, the dangers of a meth lab explosion are enormous. Meth labs can create a toxic environment in a home that would never be reported. If the cookers move out and a new family moves in, they will be exposed to meth and the potential dangers of leftover residues that could be explosive.
The only way to stop a meth lab explosion is to not cook meth in the first place. Considering the profit margin, this isn’t likely to happen. That means our response to this drug must change. We must find a way to educate the general population about how to recognize meth, what meth labs look like, and how to properly protect oneself if those items are found.
Otherwise the meth lab explosion statistics are going to continue to thrive.