The Meth Mess: Ingredients easy to find, manufacturing process quick

Pseudoephedrine is one of the ingredients needed to make meth. (H-W Photo/Steve Bohnstedt)
Posted: Jan. 10, 2014 3:52 pm Updated: Jan. 26, 2015 2:56 pm

It doesn't take long to gather everything needed to make methamphetamine and have the finished drug ready to use.

Patrick Frazier, who heads the West Central Illinois Task Force, says someone could drive along Broadway in Quincy to buy the ingredients and manufacture a finished product in a three-hour span.

The key ingredients for any meth cook are pseudoephedrine pills, lithium metal and nitrogen. A few cold pills, lithium batteries and fertilizer spikes or cold packs, Frazier said, is all it takes to get going.

"When you put those three things together, it alters the molecule," he said.

Frazier said lye and Coleman fuel are used to help with the conversion process. After shaking those ingredients together for 45 minutes to an hour, sulfuric acid and salt are added to help the meth crystallize. After the meth dries, it's ready to be used.

The drug can be smoked, injected, ingested and even eaten or dissolved in a drink, Frazier said. The drug attacks a user's central nervous system.

"It gives a first-time user a euphoric rush that they can never really achieve again," Frazier said.

He said the user then crashes hard after that first rush. The challenge to achieve that high again leads users to getting hooked on the drug.