Methamphetamine is one of the more dangerous drugs out there right now, for several reasons. It usually looks like crystals or glass, or maybe a chunk of hard plastic, but can come in powder and pill form as well. It’s created through a chemical reaction, sometimes using common household ingredients.
What Is Meth, And Why Is It So Dangerous?
Meth is a drug that is produced in a chemical process and is a stimulant that directly affects a person’s central nervous system. Because it’s a stimulant, it produces short term effects like surges of energy and alertness, rapid breathing, rapid and/or irregular heart rate, and potentially decreased appetite.
One of the reasons it’s so dangerous is how addictive it is, and another is how short its effects are (which plays into how addictive it is). Another reason, though, is how easy it is for people to make the drug at home, in a small garage, or even in their car, but also because of how toxic the process and its waste is.
Since the ingredients for making some forms of meth are available at the grocery store or a gas station it can be a difficult drug to stop from spreading. That led to the United States creating strict laws for the sale of one ingredient, pseudoephedrine, which is in some decongestants and diet pills.
On top of all those things, though, there is a specific method called “shake and bake” that is even quicker and more mobile, one that creates smaller batches of meth. It’s incredibly dangerous and not just because it produces an addictive substance.
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What Is Shake And Bake Meth?
The “shake and bake” method simplifies the process of making meth and makes it a lot more mobile than other processes. When not using this method, someone producing meth needs quite a bit of equipment: things that it is difficult to hide the purchase of, including specific chemicals.
The reason it’s called “shake and bake” is the chemical processes that are used to create meth are generally taking place inside a two-liter bottle, the kind that is most commonly sold containing carbonated drinks. Someone puts the ingredients inside, shakes the bottle, and lets it “bake” for a certain length of time. When they shake the bottle, it is combining the ingredients.
Once that process finishes, the bottle will end up with a small amount of meth inside. Even though this method produces a much smaller amount of the drug than other methods, there are other factors that make it a commonly used production method.
Mobile Meth Lab
Taking the complex process of creating meth and shrinking it to the sizes of a pop bottle means it can go nearly anywhere a person can. Authorities struggle to keep the shake and bake method under control for that obvious reason, but also because the “tools” so to speak are so ordinary.
As reported by NPR, the mobility of the process is only part of what makes it so appealing to those who want to “shake and bake” some meth. Another, however, is the speed. It can be done quickly, and since it requires much less measuring or difficult chemistry, it’s an ideal method for someone looking to get the drug quickly.
“It’s so easy,” Dennis Potter, a man interviewed for the NPR story said. It only takes close to an hour, and when it’s done the bottle will have “at least several grams of meth.” In that same story, however, Potter is an example of the dangers that can result when the “shake and bake” process when it goes wrong.
Shake And Bake Meth Could Lead To Death
Meth is a product of a chemical process, like we already mentioned up top. Not only is it using dangerous chemicals to break down substances, but in the process, it is producing dangerous chemicals as well. A larger meth lab, one that isn’t in a pop bottle, can sometimes be recognizable from a distance due to these chemicals.
The Nevada State Attorney General says meth labs can often be discovered due to the smells they are producing, which can be similar to rotten eggs or even cat urine. This is because two of the smells often associated/produced with meth labs are ammonia and ether.
Houses that contain meth labs, therefore, need strong and/or unusual ventilation to ensure the chemicals are being filtered/vented out, rather than staying inside. So imagine putting a version of that process, one that is capable of killing you, into a bottle that you shake up.
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Burns And Blindness And Lethal Meth Labs
“The bottle took on an orange glow, and within seconds an explosion blew the walls off the room and set [him] on fire.”
That’s what happened to David Potter when he tried to make shake and bake meth. He spent over a month recovering from the extensive burns he suffered when a bottle exploded while making shake and bake meth. He had to get multiple skin grafts, and was lucky to survive.
The Oregon State Health Authority says, no matter the method, every version of meth will contain chemicals falling into three categories:
- metals and salts
- strong acids or bases
All the chemicals that fit into these categories can cause an extensive amount of damage, from something as light as eye irritation to the extreme burns David Potter experienced—and yes, even death.
Another danger, however, are the toxic leftovers from when meth is made. It’s possible for someone who wasn’t involved in the meth production to be affected by it, especially in a situation where someone has made meth with the shake and bake method and discarded the container they used.
There is still more to worry about, though. Producing meth also produces at least between five and seven pounds of “chemical waste,” which can find its way into water and other situations that can impact the environment. Since the shake and bake method is even more mobile than other methods, these risks are heightened.
If you see a discarded plastic bottle and think it may have been used to produce meth, do not touch it. Call the police and explain the situation to them, or even call your local board of health to get information about someone who can dispose of it safely.
Getting Treatment For Meth
Meth can take hold of you quickly due to how short its effects last, only because this can lead to a cycle of crashing and bingeing. Since meth affects a person’s central nervous system so quickly, but only produces a euphoric effect for 30 or so minutes, the urge to use more can hit quickly.
One of the ways to break this cycle is to enroll in a treatment and detox facility. Getting treatment for substance use is an important first step toward recovery, and specifically getting treatment for meth use is important due to the possible difficulties of detox. But those difficulties don’t have to be faced alone or dealt with by quitting “cold turkey,” which can be extremely dangerous for detoxing from certain substances.
If you or someone you know is struggling with meth and in need of meth rehab, please keep in mind there is a way forward. There are ways to spot symptoms of meth use, and Vertava Health of Mississippi is here with evidence-based treatment options that can help get recovery from meth started, but also prepare for maintaining long-term recovery.
We specialize in one very important area: you. That means we assess every client individually, create a treatment plan for each person based on the specific needs they have. But also, it means we use the strength, dedication, and resilience inside of the people we’re honored to help. You aren’t alone and can call us at 844-551-7335 to talk with someone right now.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does Shake And Bake Meth Look Like?
Like most meth produced in small or makeshift labs, it will look like chunks of jagged glass or plastic, maybe clear or maybe cloudy white. You could also see a cloudy and dirty plastic bottle, one that would normally have some kind of carbonated drink inside, or maybe some boxes of medications that contain pseudoephedrine, the sale of which has been limited by the U.S. government in order to curb the production and distribution of meth.
What Is In Shake And Bake Meth?
A lot of different chemicals, nearly all corrosive and dangerous on their own, but even more dangerous when combined. There are considerable amounts of acidic chemicals that can burn you, blind you, and even kill you if inhaled. Shake and bake meth is extremely dangerous due to how volatile it is while the chemical reaction is taking place inside the bottle. The chemicals can cause an explosion, which has been proven to burn people severely and sometimes result in death. The contents remain toxic even after the meth is produced and can still cause harm even if just in a discarded bottle or any type of container.