Pubdate: Tue, 29 Jul 2008
Source: Barrie Advance, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Janis Ramsay


After the bust of a would-be meth lab in Essa Township last week, The 
Advance wanted to see how easily ingredients needed to create the 
drug could be obtained in Barrie.

The first step was to Google meth and how to make it.

A recipe popped up on the computer screen, listing items needed and 
what to do with them. It also had suggestions for substitutions if 
some ingredients couldn't be found.

"That's the problem with at-home labs," OPP Sgt. Tom McMenemy said. 
"Someone could do this with no chemical background, just like they 
were making a cake. They're using solvents, acids and bases, and it's 
dangerous if you don't mix it together properly."

Reporter Janis Ramsay went out shopping with the crude list and 
returned a couple hours later with all of the necessary components.

Although many pharmacies have opted to remove pseudo ephedrine cold 
medications - an ingredient in meth - from the shelves to make it 
available only behind the counter has helped cut back on 
availability, we were able to buy it off the shelf. We only bought 
one package of cold medication, certainly not raising any alarm 
bells. McMenemy said hundreds are needed to make meth.

Ramsay purchased a regular-sized, single item for each ingredient 
needed and spent $60.38. Add in the cost of clear tubing, a 
Pyrex-type bowl that can withstand hot and cold, and a scientific 
flask, and the project is off the ground for less than $100. Within 
two hours, a person could buy all of the supplies needed to get a lab going.

The meth recipe websites do not promote the production of meth, he 
said, but people may try to do it on their own for "economic gain."

Since many chemicals like paint thinners and drain cleaners are used 
to make meth, if someone has a lab in their home, there's likely to 
be a strong smell.

Much like an indoor marijuana grow house, McMenemy said unusual 
behaviour around a home could be a clue to a clandestine lab.

"The supplies are needed in large quantities, and they are strong 
concentrations, so there will be strong chemical odours coming from 
the building."

Unlike a marijuana grow-op, where people would come and go to tend to 
the plants, people with an at-home meth lab will typically live 
there. Meth can be made in a matter of hours, whereas marijuana takes 
months to cultivate.

McMenemy said a small lab would typically make a one or two-ounce 
batch of meth once a month.

Drug traffickers can sell from their home so another clue that 
something is going on in your neighbour would be the number of 
stranges coming and going from the home.

"Any home that's exposed to these type of chemicals would be 
contaminated, so that has to be taken into effect."

He said the OPP's drug enforcement has educated the real estate board 
and Children's Aid Society about meth, and it's also taught to 
students in drug awareness programs.
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