This is dedicated to Travis Holappa who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered on July 25, 2004 in Northern Minnesota. This was all due to meth. I am Travis' mother and I wish to make this devastation turn into a better thing by educating and exposing the truth about meth, the dangers, and the deadly consequences it brings about to individuals and communities.

My Photo
Location: Colorado, United States

I want to do what I can to educate people about what is going on around the world with the meth problem. I want people to know about it BEFORE they even get the idea to want to try it. It is a dangerous drug and will ruin your life as well as all those who love you. I am on a mission on behalf of my only son, Travis.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What impact does meth have on children living in labs or living with a meth user?

Children found in these conditions are commonly malnourished, improperly clothed, and neglected. Many of these children test positive for having methamphetamine in their bodies. This is due to the access they have to the drug or exposure to second-hand smoke, resulting from a cook or a user smoking in close proximity to a child.

What are signs of a meth lab?

A typical meth lab is a collection of chemical bottles, hoses, and pressurized cylinders. The cylinders can take many forms, from modified propane tanks to fire extinguishers, scuba tanks and soda dispensers. The tanks contain anhydrous ammonia or hydrochloric acid ? both highly poisonous and corrosive.

Labs are frequently abandoned, and the potentially explosive and very toxic chemicals are left behind. Chemicals may also be burned or dumped in woods or along roads.

The most common chemicals used to start the meth-making process are over-the-counter cold and asthma medications which contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine as decongestants or stimulants.

Here are signs of a meth lab:

* Unusual strong chemical odors such as ether, ammonia (smell similar to cat urine) and acetone (smells similar to fingernail polish)
* Excess amounts of cold medicines containing Ephedrine or pseudoephedrine * Empty pill bottles or blister packs
* Propane/Freon tanks with blue corrosion on fittings or spray-painted or burned, with bent or tampered valves
* Starting fluid cans opened from the bottom
* Heating sources such as hotplates/torches
* Excess coffee filters
* Excess baggies
* Excess matches
* Excess lithium batteries
* Cookware (Corning type) with white residue
* Glassware, Mason jars or other glass containers
* Plastic tubing
* Funnels
* 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 dumping
* Excessive amounts of trash, particularly chemical containers, coffee filters with red stains, duct tape rolls, Empty cans of or paint thinner or pieces of red-stained cloth around the property
* Secretive or unfriendly occupants
* Extensive security measures or attempts to ensure privacy such as "No Trespassing" or "Beware of Dog" signs, fences, and large trees or shrubs
* Curtains always drawn or windows blackened or covered with aluminum foil on residences, garages, sheds, or other structures
* Increased activity, especially at night
* Frequent visitors, particularly at unusual times
* Renters who pay their landlords in cash

How is meth made?

The process required to make methamphetamine is easier and more accessible than ever. There are literally thousands of recipes and information about making meth on the internet. An investment of a few hundred dollars in over-the-counter medications and chemicals can produce thousands of dollars' worth of meth.

Some of the ingredients most commonly used to make meth are over-the-counter cold and asthma medications containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, red phosphorous, hydrochloric acid, anhydrous ammonia, drain cleaner, battery acid, lye, lantern fuel, and antifreeze. Some recipes call for large amounts of industrial and agricultural chemicals, which are either purchased or stolen. These chemicals are then used in large labs or "super" labs.

The average meth "cook" annually teaches 10 other people how to make the drug.

What are signs of meth use?

A meth user may exhibit some or all of the following symptoms and behaviors and may have some or all of the listed paraphernalia:

Physical Symptoms:
* Weight loss
* Abnormal sweating
* Shortness of breath
* Nasal problems or nosebleeds
* Sores that do not heal
* Dilated pupils
* Burns on lips or fingers
* Track marks on arms

Behavioral Symptoms:
* Withdrawal from family and friends
* Change in friends
* Disinterest in previously enjoyed activities
* Increased activity
* Long periods of sleeplessness (24-120 hours)
* Long periods of sleep (24-48 hours)
* Incessant talking
* Irritability
* Twitching and shaking
* Itching
* Decreased appetite
* Erratic attention span
* Repetitious behavior, such as picking at skin, pulling out hair, compulsively cleaning, grooming or disassembling and assembling objects * Aggression or violent behavior
* False sense of confidence and power
* Convulsions
* Carelessness about appearance
* Deceit or secretiveness

Mental Symptoms:
* Paranoia
* Anxiousness
* Nervousness
* Agitation
* Extreme moodiness
* Severe depression
* Hallucinations
* Delusions of parasites or insects crawling under the skin.

* Rolled up paper money or short straws
* Pieces of glass/mirrors
* Razor blades
* Burned spoons
* Surgical tubing
* Syringes/needles

** In all cases of meth use, a user may experience a loss of inhibitions and a false sense of control and confidence, which can lead to dangerous behavior.

2. What is a meth lab?
An illegal meth or crank lab is an illicit operation that contains chemicals and/or apparatus that either have been or could be used to make meth.

There are several different techniques used to produce meth. All of the processes use a variety of chemicals including explosives, solvents, metals, salts, and corrosives. During the manufacturing process or "cooking", additional compounds and by-products are produced. The fumes, vapors, and spillage associated with cooking can be toxic.

Clandestine meth labs are found in rural, city, and suburban residences. They are found in houses, apartments, and rental homes; hotel and motel rooms, vehicles or abandoned cars, back rooms of businesses; garages, sheds and other storage facilities, barns, and vacant buildings; campgrounds and rest areas.

Meth can even be made in a small makeshift "lab" that can fit into a suitcase. Small portable labs are commonly referred to as "Mom and Pop" or "Beavis and Butthead" labs. Larger labs that are permanently set up and can produce up to 100 pounds of meth are referred to as "Super" labs

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What are signs of meth distribution?

* Unexplained new wealth
* Scales
* Frequent visitors
* Late night/early morning meetings
* Borrowing money for short periods of time (24-72 hours)
* Rooms or parts of rooms off limits
* Increase of packages in the mail on a routine basis

What are the health risks if I live in or near a former meth lab?

Meth causes health problems not just for the users, but also for others who are unintentionally exposed to the chemicals.

The risk of injury from chemical exposure depends on the chemical itself, the concentration, the quantity, and the length and route of exposure. Chemicals may enter the body by being breathed, eaten, injected (by a contaminated needle or accidental skin prick), or absorbed by the skin.

Acute Exposure: An acute chemical exposure is one that occurs over a relatively short period of time and may result in health effects. An acute exposure to high levels of contaminants found in meth labs cause shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, dizziness, lack of coordination, chemical irritation, lesions and burns to the skin, eyes, mouth and nose, and in severe cases, death. Acute reactions of this nature could occur during or immediately after a drug bust, before the lab has been ventilated.

Less severe symptoms resulting from a less acute exposure cause headache, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue or lethargy. These symptoms have been known to occur in people who have entered a drug lab after the bust has been completed, but before the property has been adequately cleaned and ventilated. These symptoms usually go away after several hours.

Corrosive Effects: Inhalation or skin exposure may result in injury from corrosive substances present in a meth lab. Symptoms range from shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, to burns to the skin.

Solvents: Exposure to solvents can irritate the skin, mucous membranes, respiratory tract, and cause central nervous system effects. They are also dangerous because of their fire and explosive properties.

Chronic Exposure: Chronic exposure occurs over an extended period of time, such as weeks, months, or years. A chronic health effect is one that usually appears after a lengthy period of time, possibly years. Not much is known about the chronic health effects from these labs. However, there is scientific evidence from animal and human toxicity studies that shows the chemicals used to manufacture meth can cause a range of health effects include cancer, damage to the brain, liver and kidneys, birth defects, and reproductive problems, such as miscarriages.

Feds Take Global Approach to Meth Abuse

Plan Is to Cut U.S. Meth Production 25 Percent by 2008
WASHINGTON, June 1, 2006 —

The Bush administration unveiled today a new global approach to curbing the production and abuse of methamphetamine, a highly addictive party drug produced in clandestine labs.

"It is a specific focus on methamphetamine and prescription drugs that have become, as you all know, a growing part of the drug problem in this country over the last decade," John Walters, the White House director of national control policy, told a news conference. "This represents a commitment of the administration to work toward a meaningful and a sustained reduction in meth use as well as the number of meth labs that have been poisoning too many communities."

In the past year, federal, state and local law enforcement authorities have seized about 11,000 small labs that produced an estimated 20 percent of methamphetamine sold in the United States.

The goal is to cut methamphetamine abuse 15 percent by 2008 and reduce the production from illegal meth labs in the United States by 25 percent.

To do that, the departments of Justice, State and Homeland Security will work to improve intelligence on the global market of the chemicals used to make methamphetamine, which are produced in China, India and Germany. The United States will also work with Mexico to step up law enforcement activities along the U.S.-Mexican border, the site of much of the trafficking in both methamphetamine and its component chemicals.

"Mexico and the United States' joint battle against drugs has reached an unprecedented level," Eduardo Ibarrola, the deputy chief of mission at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, told reporters. "Under no circumstance can our common border be an excuse for impunity."

In addition, the strategy calls for strict enforcement of laws -- part of the Patriot Act extension that President Bush signed in March -- that restrict the sales of many common cold and allergy remedies that can be used to make methamphetamine.

Many states had already acted to restrict sales of those over-the-counter drugs.

This federal response will "take the leading efforts by many states and take the lessons learned and apply them nationally," Walters said, "helping us control the spread and also reduce the current levels of production and abuse."

Methamphetamine abuse was first concentrated in the Western region of the United States but has now spread to almost every metropolitan area, as well as to many rural towns. According to the latest data, about 12 million Americans over the age of 12 said they'd tried methamphetamine at least once.

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures