WHAT IS METHAMPHETAMINE?
Methamphetamine is a synthetic drug and a powerful central nervous system stimulant. In Merced County and across California, its the most widely abused drug, surpassing both alcohol and heroin. Other names for meth include speed, crystal, ice, chalk, crank, shit and glass.
WHAT DOES METH LOOK LIKE?
There are two types of meth: powdered and crystal. Powdered meth is a fine white powder. Crystal meth, which is far more common, is clear to white in color and resembles small crystallized, crushed rocks.
HOW IS METH TAKEN?
The most common method for taking meth is smoking it. It can also be snorted, inhaled, injected or eaten.
HOW MUCH DOES METH COST?
The cost of meth has increased dramatically in recent years. It now sells for roughly $22,000 per pound. A half-gram, the amount a typical addict might use to stay high for a day, runs about $50.
HOW IS METH MADE?
There is more than one way to cook methamphetamine. The method law enforcement officials say they encounter most in Merced is known as the red phosphorus method. An average red phosphorus cook might take 12 hours and produce 60 pounds of meth.
Producers typically start with a decongestant cold medicine that contains pseudoephedrine, meths main ingredient. To extract the pseudoephedrine, they break up the pills using a hammer or blender, then mix them with a solvent to separate out the pseudoephedrine. A white powder is left.
That powder is placed in a large container, typically a 22-liter flask, and mixed with distilled water, iodine crystals and red phosphorus. Thats placed over heat and cooked for several hours. That produces a thick liquid resembling tomato paste.