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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 806  
Subject: Crystal Meth Date: 8/5/2005 2:53 PM
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Newsweek this week has a major series of articles on the crystal meth epidemic.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8770112/site/newsweek/

(the link is the first of 3 articles in the current issue).

Apparently meth has become the drug of choice in much of the US. But its a very regional story. In the Midwest there are numerous stories of stolen anhydrous ammonia (fertilizer) and of anhydrous ammonia in overfilled propane cylinders exploding. There are also stories of meth cookers in rural areas.

Last year Star Ledger reported a major warehouse theft of Claretin in NJ, without connecting it with possible meth cookers. In the East, meth cooking seems less well known. Certainly those cooking with ammonia cannot do it in major cities.

The Newsweek article indicates meth cooking is centered in the Midwest and especially in Missouri. There is also a west coast component, apparently in Oregon.

Wikopedia gives us a glimpse of the chemistry involved--

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meth

In the old days, meth was made from phenylacetone and methylamine. Both ingredients are now controlled substances. Next they went to ephedrine based processing with ephendrine obtained as an ingredient of certain health food supplements. That one was outlawed. Now pseudoephedrin, used in antihistamines, seems to be the major source. States are changing over the counter practices to limit supplies.

The Newsweek article notes that meth cookers are frequently burned. They claim that high temperature cooking in glass vessels seems to result in burns when the bottom drops out of the glassware. One would suspect that careless processing with flammable solvents might also be involved and flash fires could be common.

The burn problem is so severe that some hospital burn wards have been forced to close due to financial losses. The meth cookers are frequent victims, and most have no medical insurance.

If you go looking for meth recipes, the law lets you know they are watching. The iodine/red phosphorus process seems most common. The ammonia process is less obvious though many chemists could guess.
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Author: QuantumSpy Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 555 of 806
Subject: Re: Crystal Meth Date: 8/5/2005 5:46 PM
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Thanks for posting that story. This might make for an interesting discussion over at Gwen's Pub:

http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?bid=116055

It gets a fair amount of traffic, but isn't full of whackos.

I've got a friend that's an assistant DA who prosecutes drug crimes. He says that meth leads their case load by a long shot over everything else combined right now. It's a deadly drug, and I'm glad to see Newsweek doing a story on it. People (particularly kids and their parents) need to be educated about how dangerous and addictive it is before they are exposed to drug pushers.

That picture of the meth mouth should be put in health text books:

http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/msnbc/Sections/Newsweek/Components/Photos/Mag/050808_Issue/050730_MethMouth_hd.standard.jpg

Spy

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Author: CSOakes Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 556 of 806
Subject: Re: Crystal Meth Date: 8/5/2005 6:15 PM
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sheesh, that was seriously nasty.

one of the great ironies in this world is that folks with nearly zero education and no ambition toward doing socially useful work can be so driven and innovative in the pursuit of making this stuff.

BTW in many cases the manufacturing and distribution is an extended 'family affair' with the parental units fully involved.

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Author: whafa Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 557 of 806
Subject: Re: Crystal Meth Date: 8/5/2005 6:18 PM
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one of the great ironies in this world is that folks with nearly zero education and no ambition toward doing socially useful work can be so driven and innovative in the pursuit of making this stuff.


It's not irony. It's economics, plain and simple. There is a huge market for it, low barriers to entry, and thanks to our government the prices are, though inexpensive on a relative basis, sky high compared to what it costs to produce.

Why work 14 hour days for 10 years as an analyst so you can crawl your way into middle management when you can make a couple pounds of meth over a weekend and live the easy life for the next year?

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Author: CSOakes Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 558 of 806
Subject: Re: Crystal Meth Date: 8/5/2005 7:15 PM
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Why work 14 hour days for 10 years as an analyst so you can crawl your way into middle management when you can make a couple pounds of meth over a weekend and live the easy life for the next year?

you must have a better class of meth lab in your neighborhood. from what i've seen the folks in the business tend to sample the product so they spend more time in jail or hospitals than 'easy street'.

in anycase, the irony i was referring to was that these people do have imaginations and the ability to innovate in spite of their self-assessments. why they do what they do is not something i care much about.

i'd hate to exhibit any further liberal tendencies to a guy from Santa Cruz ;^) so i'll stop.

cheers,
Charlie

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Author: whafa Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 559 of 806
Subject: Re: Crystal Meth Date: 8/6/2005 7:36 AM
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you must have a better class of meth lab in your neighborhood. from what i've seen the folks in the business tend to sample the product so they spend more time in jail or hospitals than 'easy street'.


I'm sure this is true for some labs, probably the ones that produce low-quality crank. But a lot of people actually go through the trouble of taking O chem at community college and learning the theory behind the methods, and I think the people with designs to produce large volumes, many times, are not users themselves (though this is all opinion on my part), and are in it for the money.


in anycase, the irony i was referring to was that these people do have imaginations and the ability to innovate in spite of their self-assessments.

One might say they are being innovative for choosing a market with the characteristics I mentioned. There will always be supply in the drug market. The prices are too high. People will always assume the risk. The only way to make this problem go away is to lessen the demand.

I must stop now before I write an essay on the drug war.

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Author: Howie52 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 560 of 806
Subject: Re: Crystal Meth Date: 8/6/2005 6:15 PM
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"I must stop now before I write an essay on the drug war. "

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

There was a song out a fairly long time ago, Crystal Blue Persuasion.

Being a rather dense kid, I never understood the lyrics.

Howie52
Better life through chemistry just does not work out for
folks when they go that route.



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Author: whafa Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 561 of 806
Subject: Re: Crystal Meth Date: 8/7/2005 9:46 AM
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Better life through chemistry just does not work out for
folks when they go that route.



Nobody knows that better than me.

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Author: DollarSignz Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 562 of 806
Subject: Re: Crystal Meth Date: 8/7/2005 5:16 PM
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One might say they are being innovative for choosing a market with the characteristics I mentioned. There will always be supply in the drug market. The prices are too high. People will always assume the risk. The only way to make this problem go away is to lessen the demand.

You are so right, whafa. The locking-down of the borders in the US since 9/11 has affected availability and prices in the drug market, and where there's that much money to be made (all tax free), you can bet there will many trying to get in on the deal.

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 622 of 806
Subject: Re: Crystal Meth Date: 2/17/2006 12:26 AM
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See discussion of the Frontline program on Retire EArly Homeshow

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=23717878

Frontline revealed that processing meth from over the counter cold medicines--called smurfing--uses denatured ethanol to separate pseudoephedrin from cornstarch binder. Cooking down this alcohol (which is flammable) is the cause of many fires in meth labs.

The Frontline program reports that the stats for number of cases (arrests, over doses, etc, etc) all track the same trends with peaks and declines in certain years in the '90s. Those peaks correspond to high purity meth made from purchased, refined active ingredients. Drug cartels were able to buy the intermediates from manufacturers in India and have it shipped to them in California. Now it is being shipped to Mexico.

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