What Harmful Ingredients Are in Crystal Meth?

methMethamphetamine, known commonly as crystal meth, is a bastardization of amphetamines, which were first synthesized prior to World War II. According to a timeline published by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), it wasn’t until the 1980s, when one of the chemicals used to make amphetamines was no longer available due to governmental attempts to curb the illegal manufacturing and trade of the drugs on the West Coast of the United States. The “meth” in methamphetamine refers to the methyl grouping of molecules that appeared when drug manufacturers substituted the original ingredient for ephedrine, which they found in abundance in unregulated cold remedies sold over the counter.

Ephedrine and its cousin, pseudoephedrine, are not the only ingredients in crystal meth. There are a host of ingredients that are frightening enough by themselves, but downright nightmarish when combined with each other.

Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, is a common ingredient in soap made the old-fashioned way, according to Michigan Tech. It is also found in other products, but in a different, more caustic form, such as drain cleaner. Finally, it is the substance of choice for farmers who need to bury road kill or other deceased animals on their property. According to the Lynn, Massachusetts Police Department, it is also a favorite of serial killers for disposing of human remains, which makes sense when one considers that the chemical can reduce biological remains to unrecognizable, gelatinous muck. And it is a necessary component in the creation of crystal meth.
Iodine and Red Phosphorus Matches

hese two components work together to make hydroiodic acid. In order to get the ingredients in large enough quantities, meth manufacturers will use about four large bottles of iodine and four large boxes of red-tipped matches. According to the State of New Jersey, this corrosive acid can be dangerous even if it is not on your skin, requiring routine air samples for those who work around it. If an individual comes into contact with hydroiodic acid, they should immediately wash it off. It is also dangerous to eat, drink or smoke around it. And it is a necessary component in the creation of crystal meth.
Anhydrous Ammonia Is Common

So far, the ingredients used for crystal meth have included drain cleaner, corrosive acids and addictive stimulants. Fertilizer seems like a logical next step to creating a volatile poison. Anhydrous ammonia is incredibly corrosive to humans, and it can cause symptoms that range from a burning sensation in the upper respiratory track and eyes, to death from overexposure resulting in a closure of the throat. If the individual can continue to breathe, the caustic burns to the interior of the lungs can also result in death, according to the North Dakota Department of Health. And it is a necessary component in the creation of crystal meth.

Other Harmful Ingredients in Crystal Meth

The United States Justice Department has found other ingredients used to produce methamphetamine, including:

  • Lighter fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Ether
  • Lithium
  • Freon

These ingredients, and more, are part of the cooking process that turns the pseudoephedrine in a cold tablets into the methamphetamine chemical used by far too many individuals around the world. Those who produce crystal meth in their homes, basements and hotel rooms around the country place themselves in immediate risk for deadly, toxic explosions as well, from the use of flammable materials mixed with inadequate surroundings and supplies.

The Human Factor

Perhaps what is worse than the noxious chemicals used to create crystal meth is the final ingredient – the human being. Individuals who abuse methamphetamine are necessary to make the drug as potently harmful as it is, and these people – and their families – are the ones being harmed.

The use of crystal meth can cause an individual to become violent and aggressive, confused, or just irritable. When the disease of addiction takes hold, the drug user may throw everything they’ve worked for away in order to obtain more of this highly addictive compound.

Is It Too Late to Get Help for Crystal Meth Addiction?

Making the decision to change one’s life for the better can never come too early. While addiction does not have a cure, it does have effective treatments available. Through the combined efforts of professional caregivers, family members, and friends, and the commitment of the recovering addict, it is possible to make the changes necessary to remove this dangerous drug from your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today for help getting started.