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Meth dangers discussed at Rotary meeting

February 15, 2012
By John Clise - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

The dangers of methamphetamine use and production were discussed at Tuesday's Buckhannon Rotary meeting at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church.

Lt. M.M. Goff of the West Virginia State Police addressed the group regarding how simple it is to get the ingredients needed to make the drug, and how it is relatively easy to identify that these products are actually being used in manufacturing meth.

Goff said when police find all the ingredients in a plastic tub, it is safe to assume that meth being made there.

"I have most of this stuff in my house, but it isn't in a plastic tote in my bedroom," Goff said. "It is in the kitchen, bathroom and garage. It is all over."

He also stressed the importance of people protecting themselves if they are in a home where meth had been made. Realtors, child protective service workers, law enforcement officers and public utility workers can all find themselves in a dangerous situation in the execution of their duties.

Ammonia is one of the chemicals used to make the drug that can immediately damage the lungs when inhaled.

Goff, who has a chemistry degree from West Virginia University, was a forensic chemist before taking the job as the task force leader.

There are a variety of ways to make meth. The red phosphorous method includes the use of matchbook strikers as part of the process.

The ammonia method requires ammonia and lithium. The lithium is obtained by cutting the tops off of batteries and removing the lithium strips inside.

One of the most recent methods is called "the shake and bake" where all the ingredients are placed in a 2-liter bottle and shaken to create the process.

Among the many dangers of making the drug are fire, explosion, and harmful fumes, among others.

Lighter fluid, iodine, paint thinner and alcohol are some of the ingredients used in the manufacturing process. Battery acid, Coleman stove fuel, de-icer, rock salt, hydrogen peroxide and hydrochloric acid also are found in the list of ingredient needed to make meth. The main ingredients are Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine, which are found in numerous over-the-counter cold medications and weight loss supplements.

Goff said there are currently two bills in the West Virginia Legislature that are intended to curtail the ability of meth makers to purchase their needed ingredients. The first bill will limit the amount available for purchase, which causes makers to purchase the drugs through a system called "smurfing." This happens when a maker has his or her friends and sometimes family members purchase the monthly limit of the drug at one time and combine them all to make the batch of meth.

The second bill will require a prescription to purchase the Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine-based medications. A law in Mississippi has been credited with cutting the number of meth labs in the state by 80 percent.

Goff warns residents not to touch any type of bottles, coolers or other garbage they come across that may seem suspicious as it may be what's left over from a meth lab. He urges residents to call law enforcement immediately to report their findings.

Goff said he has seen very few "nice and neat" homes involved in the manufacture of the drug. Most meth makers live in squalor, Goff said. Meth can be smoked, snorted, eaten or taken intravenously.



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