Methamphetamine has become a scourge, ruining communities and lives. For most people, however, the dangers seem far away, but police in one jurisdiction are warning that the risks from meth production could be very close to home.
On Monday, police in Keene, New Hampshire, posted photos of innocent-looking soda bottles discarded along the side of the road.
But take a closer look: The containers were recovered from mobile meth operations, and officials say they could put the public at serious risk.
“Once again we are starting to hear about ‘one pot meth labs’ in the state, the Keene Police Department posted.
“These are plastic bottles that are used to mix chemicals and make Methamphetamine. Usually these bottles contain a sludge material or a white residue.”
Meth labs of any sort, as you probably know, involve toxic chemicals that can overwhelm people if inhaled or even explode if improperly mixed. That’s why these plastic bottles can be so dangerous if found by the wrong people.
“A person finding the discarded bottle can be badly burned if they remove the cap allowing oxygen to mix with the ingredients. When oxygen mixes too quickly with the chemicals it explodes,” the police department cautioned.
“The explosion often happens while the person is holding the bottle. It can turn into a fireball of chemicals and flames leaving the holder and those around him badly burned,” authorities continued.
So what’s the best thing to do? While treating every discarded bottle as a bomb may be overkill, officials are urging people to be cautious, especially when a bottle appears to hold a foreign liquid.
“Plastic bottles with unidentified contents should be referred to local law enforcement and under no circumstances touched,” police said.
The social media post is yet another reminder of the rising problem with methamphetamine, which was once a fairly unknown drug before becoming one of the top illicit drugs in our country.
Amphetamine is the second most abused drug in the world, according to the University of Arizona.
A significant amount of methamphetamine is produced in Mexico and smuggled across the border — yet another reason to take border enforcement seriously.
As the drug’s popularity increased, so has the number of people in the United States who have tried to cash in on its production.
“In 2014, there were 9,338 meth incidents in the U.S., including laboratories, dumpsites, and seizures of chemicals and glassware,” DrugAbuse.com explained. The number of meth users is of course much higher.
“We’ve seen a very high increase in mobile meth labs,” Alonzo Bell of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division previously told WRDW News.
Bell confirmed that the risks of normal people stumbling onto an abandoned meth container are very real.
“When they think the law enforcement personnel is after them, they usually either throw it in the woods, or they throw it on the side of the road,” he said.
“We’ve had people who are doing community service, or the Boy Scouts, actually run up on the mobile meth labs — they’re just tossed on the side of the road.”
It’s sad and frustrating that those dangerous chemicals are now so common throughout our nation, but hopefully by increasing awareness the number of people impacted by meth can be minimized.
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