Reports have surfaced that meth users across the U.S. have begun to make “shake and bake” meth. Named for the simplicity in which it is prepared, this method of making methamphetamine is easy and quick, but also extremely dangerous. Using the typical method, the process for producing meth includes cooking the ingredients to extremely high temperatures. The “shake and bake” process doesn’t require any heat, however. Also, to create a useful and profitable batch of meth, the makes would need to buy many packages of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine. Buyers would have to visit a multitude of stores to evade the federal regulations on how many products an individual may purchase. The “shake and bake” method uses much less pseudoephedrine, so a meth producer can buy it without drawing attention to themselves.
The Risks of “Shake and Bake”
In conventional production labs, the risks of making meth include explosion and fire. This new method poses an even greater risk of life-threatening fires and burns due to the way that it is mixed. The toxic chemicals and pseudoephedrine used to make meth are placed in a two-liter plastic soda bottle. The ingredients are then shaken instead of being cooked to produce a crystalline powder that can be used in the same way regular meth is used. If you have ever shaken a bottle of soda by mistake, you would know that when you open the lid, the pressure inside produces an explosion of foam. The same physics applies to “shake and bake” meth. Pressure inside the bottle accumulates as the chemical reactions occur, and dangerous effects that are possible. If oxygen gets inside the bottle, the contents may explode. This can happen if the lid is removed too soon or too rapidly or the plastic is perforated, and it can cause a potentially lethal reaction. In addition to the possibility of injury or death caused by the chemical reactions, the residual materials from successful batches of meth are considered to be poisonous. Instead of disposing of them, drug users often leave these toxic residues where anyone (even children) can be exposed to them without being aware of it.
The Ultimate Price of Using Shake and Bake Meth
The ingredients and method employed to produce shake and bake meth are incredibly dangerous, and many individuals have been injured. According to a 2012 report from NBC News, medical treatment for severe burns that a person can sustain from one these them explosions is upwards of $6,000 per day. Depending on the duration of the stay, a patient may incur $130,000 in treatments, which is much greater than the amount that other burn victims’ treatments cost. From the report: “It is filling hospitals with thousands of uninsured burn patients requiring millions of dollars in advanced treatment—a burden so costly that it’s contributing to the closure of some burn units.” In addition to the cost of medical care to the oft uninsured meth makers, there is the cost of combatting the illicit activity and removing the noxious mess that is leftover. According to reports, unfortunately, the number of meth labs is growing throughout the U.S., and many of them are adopting the shake-and-bake method. Burn experts report that the yearly cost to taxpayers is into the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars. However, it is not possible to determine an exact number due to so many meth users and producers lying about the circumstances that caused their burns.
Symptoms of Meth Use
Regardless of the method used, meth abusers may exhibit many different physical or behavioral symptoms. The most common signs of meth abuse include the following:
- Dilated pupils
- Facial tics and twitching
- Jerky movements
- Skin sores
- Rapid eye movement
- Loss of appetite
- Burns on lips or fingers
- Odd sleeping patterns
- Rotting teeth or “meth mouth”
- Mood swings
- Extreme weight loss
Treatment Is Available for Meth Addiction
No matter how much or how long a person has been using meth, help is available. You or your loved one can halt the impact of meth on your life, even if you have not hit “rock bottom”—you must do this before it’s too late. Harmony Recovery Center is a specialized treatment facility dedicated to helping people break free from the chains of addiction and foster healthier, more satisfying lives. Treatment can be challenging, but it is worth the effort to ensure that you or your loved one is safe and healthy after overcoming this horrible disease. We are dedicated to providing our clients with the tools and support they need to recover and maintain long-lasting sobriety. If you or your loved one are prepared to take the first step in reclaiming your life, contact us as soon as possible. We can help you break free from the cycle of addiction and steer you toward a more fulfilling life!