Although the War on Drugs has been raging for decades, law enforcement agencies are no closer to winning than they were back in the 80s. If anything, drug activity has escalated as dealers and users learn how to better disguise their elicit practices, thus avoiding detection. One of the best ways that we as a society can help control drugs, however, is by reporting instances where we believe drug activity is taking place. For example, do you know how to detect and report a meth lab?
Where Are Meth Labs Created?
The unique thing about concocting methamphetamine is that very little space is required. Meth labs turn up in every city and town in the United States, sometimes in peaceful suburban neighborhoods, or even in apartment complexes. Fortunately, however, if you know how to detect a meth lab, you can easily report it to your local law enforcement agency for investigation. But what types of things should you look for when seeking out methamphetamine?
One of the main red flags associated with meth labs is the smell, which is often a dead giveaway that someone is cooking inside. The smell of ammonia or other strong chemicals is the most obvious odor you’ll detect, but you might also notice an odor reminiscent of cat urine or fingernail polish, according to MethWipe.com.
You can also detect a meth lab if it is surrounded by a seemingly ridiculous amount of security equipment. Cameras, electric fencing and guard dogs are all signs that someone doesn’t want anyone gaining access to his or her home. Of course, this in itself only proves that a paranoid resident lives in the home, but combined with other signs, this might indicate that methamphetamine is produced there.
Lots of Visitors
It takes people to keep a meth lab in operation, and sometimes people also sell out of their labs. If you notice a steady stream of traffic to one particular house, especially after dark, this might indicate drug activity. You can also detect a such an establishment by looking for people carrying large boxes into and out of the house, which might indicate that they are bringing in the materials necessary to manufacture methamphetamine.
Quite a bit of garbage is generated to keep a meth lab running, so you might be able to detect one by looking at the garbage bins on trash days. You’ll probably see lots of cold medicine containers – especially those that contain ephedrine – as well as coffee filters and drain cleaner containers. You might also notice that the residents discard a large amount of glassware.
No Signs of Residence
Although the owners or renters of a meth lab will stay at the property for long periods of time, you can detect drug activity by noticing whether or not anyone actually lives there. Because meth labs are extremely volatile, and not conducive to comfortable living, the people who “work” there will usually go somewhere else to sleep and relax. Furthermore, there will probably be a lack of furniture and other signs of residence in the home.
Reporting a Meth Lab
If you think you have detected a meth lab, it is your responsibility to report it. Explosions and fires often occur in these structures, endangering those who live around them, and these drugs get sold on the streets, sometimes to children. To report such an observation, you can walk into your local police department and file a report, or you can anonymously call your city’s drug tip line if one exists. Either way, reporting drug activity might save lives.
MethWipe.com, Is There a Meth Lab Cookin’ in Your Neighborhood?