Monday, January 7, 2008


The destructive impact of methamphetamine in Arizona has been staggering.
Meth devastates not only those using the drug, but also their family, friends and neighbors.
The close connection between meth and many other crimes is well established.
The information below summarizes relevant facts about the problem in our state.
On the back are answers to frequently asked questions about meth.
Arizona experience with the
clandestine meth lab problem:
• 1,412 meth production related
• Disposal costs for gross contamination
associated with meth labs
exceeded $4.1 million
• In 2003, 38% of males and 42%
of females booked in Maricopa
County jail tested positive for meth
• Arizonans spent millions of tax
dollars addressing the violence
and property crime committed by
meth cooks and meth users
Impact of meth labs on
• From 2000-2005, 408 children
were rescued from meth labs,
281 in Maricopa County alone
• Surveys have shown 65% of
Arizona child abuse and neglect
cases involve meth
• 30-35% of meth labs seized are
residences with children
• 33% of children found at meth
labs tested positive for meth
between 2000 and 2002
• Prenatal exposure to meth causes
infants to be six times more likely
to be born with birth defects
such as spina bifida, club foot,
intestinal abnormalities, and
skeletal abnormalities
• Meth cookers often have guns,
weapons and booby-traps to protect
their drugs and labs, posing
a serious safety risk for children
• Children found in meth labs often
suffer from developmental delays
and are likely to have been
abused and/or neglected
• Children of meth users and
cooks become society’s responsibility
and cost Arizona taxpayers
millions of dollars for special
services, including foster care
and specialized health care
Fighting meth cooks
• Restricting meth cooks’ access
to pseudoephedrine reduced the
number of meth lab seizures in
Oklahoma by 80%
• Over a dozen states passed laws
similar to Oklahoma’s and significantly
reduced meth cooking in
their states
Risks from meth labs
• Meth addicts turn to crime to
support their habits, especially
identity theft, forgery, robbery
and prostitution
• Due to the flammable nature of
the chemicals used in cooking
meth, fires and explosions are
• Production of meth exposes
children, firefighters, law enforcement,
and neighbors to toxic
gases and hazardous chemicals
• 51% of injuries at meth labs
happen to first responders
• The typical meth lab cooker
produces 48 to 72 times a year,
creating the possibility for
explosive reactions each time
• Each pound of meth produced
leaves behind an estimated 5-7
pounds of toxic waste
Costs and impact of meth
• Meth is the leading drug related
law enforcement problem in the
• The rates of meth hospital
admissions drastically increased
from 1990-2004
n Maricopa County: 855% higher
n Pima County: 1940% higher
n Rural Counties: 2950% higher
• 70% of reporting counties stated
that robberies or burglaries have
increased because of meth use
n 62% report increases in
domestic violence
n 40-50% of total arrests
between 2000-2005 were
meth related
• Counties in southwestern states
reported a 96% increase in
arrests involving meth during the
past three years
• Nearly half the responding county
hospitals reported that methamphetamine
is the top illicit drug
involved in scenarios at their
• Exposure to meth chemicals
causes chemical burns, respiratory
problems, lung and tissue
damage, and brain toxicity in
• 90-95% of all mail theft and mail
fraud in the greater Tucson area
has a nexus to meth
Arizona’s Meth Crisis 2006
Attorney General
Terry Goddard
Educating • Protecting
Arizona Consumers
Attorney General’s
1275 West
Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
400 West Congress
South Building
Suite 315
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Outside the Phoenix
or Tucson metro area
Questions and answers about methamphetamine
What is meth?
Methamphetamine is a powerful,
long-acting central nervous system
stimulant that is highly addictive.
It can come in crystal form or as a
white, usually odorless, bitter-tasting
powder that easily dissolves in
alcohol or water and can be
smoked, injected or snorted. Meth is
known by a variety of street names,
including speed, crank, vitamin C,
go-fast and chalk.
Where is it made?
Much of the meth used in Arizona is
produced in labs in Mexico and
Southern California run by organized
crime and street gangs. The remaining
supply comes from makeshift
meth labs found in kitchens, garages,
bedrooms, barns, vacant buildings,
campgrounds, hotels and motels and
trunks of cars, right here in Arizona.
How is it made?
Meth is the only illegal drug made
from legally obtained ingredients
such as over-the-counter cold medications
containing pseudoephedrine
and some of the following: red
phosphorous, hydrochloric acid,
anhydrous ammonia, drain cleaner,
battery acid, lye, lantern fuel, and
What are the short-term
effects of taking meth?
Immediately after smoking or
injecting, the user experiences an
intense sensation, called a "rush" or
"flash," that lasts only a few minutes
and is described as extremely
pleasurable. (Snorting or swallowing
meth produces euphoria – a high,
but not a rush.) Following the
"rush," there is typically a state of
high agitation that can lead to violent
behavior. Other possible effects
include hyperactivity and insomnia,
decreased appetite, irritability / aggression,
anxiety, nervousness, convulsions
and heart attack.
What are the long-term effects
of taking meth?
Meth is extremely addictive. Some
experts believe it is the most addictive
drug available. Users can
develop a tolerance quickly, needing
larger amounts to get high. In some
cases, users forego food and sleep
and take more meth every few
hours for days, "binging" until they
run out of the drug or become too
disorganized to continue using.
Chronic use can cause paranoia,
hallucinations, repetitive behavior,
compulsive behavior, severe gum
disease and tooth decay, and
delusions of parasites or insects
crawling under the skin.
Where can I learn about meth
treatment programs?
You can call Community Information
and Referral in Maricopa County at
602.263.8856 or outside the county
at 1.800.352.3792. Calls to the
nonprofit agency's 24-hour Help
Hotline are confidential and free.
You may also find information on its
Web site at
Who uses meth?
• More than 12.3 million Americans
(approximately 5.2% of the
population) have tried meth, and
1.5 million are regular users
• Meth cooks and meth users have
been found in urban and rural
areas, in rich and in poor neighborhoods
What should you look for if
you suspect a meth lab in your
• Unusual strong chemical odors
such as ammonia (smells similar
to cat urine) and acetone (smells
similar to fingernail polish
• Excess amounts of cold medicines
containing pseudoephedrine
• Empty pill bottles or blister packs
• Propane/Freon tanks with blue
corrosion on fittings or spraypainted
or burned, with bent or
tampered valves
• Starting fluid cans opened from
the bottom
• Heating sources such as hotplates/
• Hoses leading outside for ventilation
• Soft drink bottles with hoses
running from them
• Drain cleaner, paint thinner,
toluene, denatured alcohol,
ammonia, acid, starter fluid,
antifreeze, hydrogen peroxide,
rock salt, iodine
• Lantern or camp stove fuel
• Iodine- or chemical-stained
bathrooms or kitchen fixtures
• Evidence of chemical waste or
• Secretive or unfriendly occupants
• Frequent visitors, particularly at
unusual times
Do not enter a site that you think
may have been used for cooking
meth. Meth labs present extreme
dangers from explosions and
exposure to hazardous chemicals. If
you suspect an illegal lab, contact
the police or sheriff's department or
call the methamphetamine hotline
at 1.877.787.6384. If it's an
emergency, call 911.