Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and dangerous drug. It is easy to see how methamphetamine use damages the body so severely when taking a look at the ingredients that are used in manufacturing this illegal drug. Most of these ingredients should not come in contact with the outside of the human body, let alone be brought inside the body through drug use. Users may believe that the harmful chemicals are left behind in the manufacturing process, but this is just wishful thinking and not at all accurate.
Matches are needed for the red phosphorous contained on the tips that helps to create a flame. Red phosphorous is needed to mix with iodine in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. On its own, red phosphorous is found to be harmless. However, it takes a lot of work, effort, and other ingredients to remove the red phosphorous from the matchsticks.
Iodine is a naturally occurring element. The body needs small amounts of this mineral to function properly, especially the thyroid gland. Iodine can be toxic in large amounts. Symptoms of iodine toxicity in the body include:
- Burning in the respirator and digestive tracts
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weak pulse
- Coma or death
Liquid ether has damaging effects on the body. Even ether’s vapors, once used as anesthesia, can lead to death. Liquid ether can cause burning and irritation as it slowly eats away at cells. When swallowed, it induces vomiting. Ether evaporates quickly, but even the vapors are irritating to the lungs and nasal passages. At first, ether’s effects are stimulating causing increased heart rate and respiration and excitability in the user. However, that is soon replaced by depressant effects on the central nervous system, which eventually lead to unconsciousness. There is a fine line between the dose that is enough to cause anesthesia and that which causes death, leading infrequent overdose when using ether even for surgical purposes.
Pseudoephedrine is typically found in cold and decongestant medications. Changes in federal regulations now limit the amount of these over- the-counter preparations that can be sold to individuals in the United States. Often an ID and signature are required when purchasing these remedies. Pseudoephedrine is what causes a spike in dopamine levels in the brain creating a feeling of euphoria in the user as a positive effect of methamphetamine. Side effects of pseudoephedrine include:
- Fast or uneven heart beat
- High blood pressure
- Trouble breathing
Hydrochloric acid is found naturally in the digestive system of humans in diluted form. However, when purchased, it is a liquid that is highly corrosive and is often used to remove rust and other oxidation from steel. When found in higher concentrations, it can literally dissolve human flesh.
It is well known that spilling brake fluid on a car can eat away at the paint. Other ingredients found in brake fluid can become highly flammable when mixed with other chemicals. When ingested, brake fluid can lead to heart failure or kidney failure.
Paint thinner can cause damage to the lungs, heart, and kidneys. When the chemicals are brought into the body over a long period of time, this can cause changes in the blood leading to anemia or even leukemia.
Drain cleaner is a caustic substance that can eat away at most biological and some non-biological materials. The chemicals in this product can dissolve hair in the drain, imagine what it can do to the rest of the body. Effects of drain cleaner on the body can include:
- Abdominal pain and vomiting
- Swelling in the throat
- Drop in blood pressure
- Severe burns
- Tissue damage
Lighter fluid contains many hazardous hydrocarbons, including butane, naptha, and propane. Exposure to these chemicals can affect all areas of the body. This product can cause tissue death, heart collapse, vomiting of blood, swelling of the throat, hallucinations, coma, and death. It is also highly flammable.
Batteries are used for the acid and lithium found inside. Battery acid is dangerously corrosive. It dissolves cells and tissues, leaving small gaps or holes in tissues and organs including the brain. This can eventually lead to organs and systems in the body shutting down with long-term use. Lithium affects how the body uses sodium. Lithium can be toxic in large amounts and can lead to hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, and seizures.
Anhydrous ammonia is used as a highly effective and relatively cheap fertilizer on many farms. However, it is compressed into a liquid for farm use and must be stored under very high pressure. Farm workers must use protective gear to use this product. It evaporates quickly and is injected into the ground. This chemical is highly corrosive and can freeze tissue on contact. It reacts quickly when it comes in contact with water causing severe chemical burns. It can also eat away certain metals. The human body is made mostly of water, so when this chemical enters the body, severe damage can be expected.
Lye, or sodium hydroxide, is used by ranchers and road crews to dispose of animal carcasses and road kill. When mixed with liquid and put into a sealed container, lye effectively dissolves a body. The inside of the body can be considered a sealed container and contains high amounts of water. Imagine even small amounts of lye entering the body and the effects of long- term use on the organs and systems of the body.
Ingredients in Methamphetamine
Although all of these chemicals are not found in the finished methamphetamine product as many of them are used in the production of the drug, trace amounts of these chemicals can still be found and can cause serious health consequences. The negative effect of methamphetamine on the body and damage to the body’s system is caused due to the dangerous methamphetamine ingredients.
- Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: Iodine
- Lynn Police Department: Ingredients of Meth