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Meth Action Coalition

Working to Stop the METH Epidemic in Deschutes County, Oregon


How is Meth Made?

The meth available on the streets today is manufactured primarily in clandestine labs in Mexico.  Oregon legal restrictions on the sale of products (for example Sudafed) containing pseudoephedrine, a necessary ingredient in the manufacture of meth, has significantly reduced local small-scale meth labs, and shifted large scale production to Mexico, where manufacture and distribution is in the hands of numerous organized criminal gangs.  The reduction in local manufacturing arrests has been dramatic in Deschutes County, which experienced a 75 percent decrease in arrests for manufacturing from January 2007 to June 2008.

The availability of meth has also been impacted by restrictions imposed by the Mexican government on the importation of pseudoephedrine, which temporarily resulted in a reduction in the availability of meth, an increase in price, and a lower quality and potency.  More recently however, organized criminal gangs from Argentina have obtained pseudoephedrine from Asia, and are selling it to meth manufacturers in Mexico.  Some pseudoephedrine is diverted to meth manufacturers in the United States, according to law enforcement officials.

The quality of meth varies greatly from one lab to the next.  The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has found the following substances in illicit meth: battery acid, drain cleaner, acetone, rock salt, lye, antifreeze, kitty litter, lithium batteries, and toluene.