So You Rented Out a Meth House
February 1, 2020 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Having been in the business of meth-detection for more than 10 years, Stiles is an authority on what can and can’t be cleaned.

Ah yes. Methbusters.
posted by mattdidthat at 11:57 AM on February 1 [16 favorites]

This was fascinating. I never knew about residual contamination or the hazards it can cause. I only have heard that it smells bad, though I don't know what kind of "bad" is meant by that. Anyone know what a bad meth-smell is like?
posted by SoberHighland at 12:03 PM on February 1

Houses have histories. A person I once knew bought a fixer that happened to be a former meth lab. They were able to financially settle and get into a different place, but only after spending a few months getting exposed to meth-related chemicals and wondering why they and their child were getting so sick.

There were apparently no official drug-related arrests at that address, so there was nothing to suspect on the part of the bank that sold it at foreclosure/auction. Except, of course, For the neighborhood-level knowledge that it was definitely a drug house. I certainly don’t want to live in a world where I’m being policed by my neighbors, but in situations like that, you’d really hope there was some way to communicate health risks to potential buyers.
posted by klausman at 12:15 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]

Amphetamines are prescribed for treating ADHD and related disorders. The usual starting dose is 5 milligrams once or twice a day. According to the article Colorado prohibits levels of residual amphetamines higher than .5 micrograms per 100 square centimetres, which is 50 micrograms per square meter - 1/100th of a clinical dose.

To put this in perspective, a smallish bedroom might be 3x3 metres in size with a 2.4 metre high ceiling. That room has less than 50 square metres of surface. Colorado is saying that just over a single minimal dose evenly spread across the walls, floor, and ceiling of two such rooms would make them unsafe for human habitation.

How much could someone absorb by being in a room contaminated at that level? I think the answer is approximately zero doses per day. Colorado's law doesn't seem to be based on a realistic fear of contamination; it looks more like a magical fear of impurity.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:30 PM on February 1 [55 favorites]

magical fear of impurity

perhaps also some sort of veiled attempt at keeping the 'bad' neighborhoods 'bad' and the 'good' neighborhoods 'good' for real estate prices and whatnot?

I did not follow through the article completely though. I turned it off at the sympathy building for the rich (but not too rich!) hard working people building their dream ranch project and running into litigious tenants (baddies!) who found a pipe. There is something about pieces like this that is starting to turn me off because they read a little bit like fiction for rich people and their super serious problems of not getting all of the things that all the much richer people have.
posted by mit5urugi at 1:10 PM on February 1 [29 favorites]

How much could someone absorb by being in a room contaminated at that level?

This is most definitely not my area of expertise, but some issues that I think might be relevant to an analysis of this question include:

* What is a therapeutic dose of a drug for some people may be a harmful dose for others. Individual reactions to different levels of medications for treating anxiety, depression, psychosis, etc. are highly variable, for example. What does 5 mg of ritalin or such do to someone who does not have ADHD? Does the effect vary between adults and 3 year olds? Do the chemical differences between amphetamine (in particular, the formulations used in ADHD medications) and methamphetamine lead to different potencies?

* From what I have read, one of the concerns around houses that have been used in meth production is not necessarily leftover traces of the final product of methamphetamine, but other chemical reactants or byproducts that can be significantly more toxic. At least, from what I read, the actual production of meth can be dangerous and lead to negative health effects for people living in a house where meth is currently being produced. Is testing for traces of meth used as an easy proxy, when the concern is actually these other potential contaminants? What are the other chemicals that might be of concern, and what are their effects? What is the likelihood that they could be present after actual meth production has stopped in a house, and what is the potential for new residents to experience negative symptoms from other leftover reactants or byproducts to meth production? It sounds like this may be partly the case:
There were also meth-related health hazards to be concerned about at the house. Unless someone has cooked meth, or smoked it in extreme excess, residuals can go completely unnoticed but can lead to toxic chemicals — like red phosphorous, ephedrine, hydrochloric or muriatic acid, and sodium hydroxide — finding their way into the walls, furniture, and appliances. Children and the elderly are more susceptible to the effects of third-hand meth exposure, which can include recurring headaches, respiratory, skin and eye irritation, nausea, and vomiting.
The fpp article also makes it sound a lot like mold, which can also get into carpet or drywall in ways that, above certain levels, can't really be effectively cleaned. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Colorado's laws around cleaning homes for traces of meth are far stronger than their laws around mold remediation, though, for the various reasons cited in the above comments.
posted by eviemath at 1:14 PM on February 1 [20 favorites]

I just read about 10,000 words worth of news stories about these situations. The science is inconclusive at best, nonexistent at worst, and frankly it sounds like rent-seeking for expensive cleaning companies via unscientifically-tiny exposure standards. Even the stories that promote the remediation process say that nobody knows how harmful these residues are, if at all. In one story, a cleaner was talking about multiple times where they threw out the entire life's worth of mementos of elderly people (kids on drugs, you see). I can't imagine that's motivated by real science.
posted by rhizome at 1:20 PM on February 1 [29 favorites]

This is bullshit, utter bullshit.

New Zealand homeowners and tenants were taken for a $100 million scam, by "meth contamination" companies who were offering testing and cleaning. These companies were unregulated and full of bollocks.

When our government finally got of its arse and commissioned our Chief Science Advisor to look into the evidence, the bullshit was revealed. The levels of residue are nowhere near any health risks. There has never been a case of someone getting sick from this. It's hysteria and a fucking scandal, pushed by dodgy fuckers who got away scot-free.


The meth house is a myth: There's 'no risk' from drug smoking residue, Govt report finds
The great meth testing scam
Housing NZ meth testing exposed 'as the scam it was', but still impacting tenants

And the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor's report itself:
Methamphetamine contamination in residential properties: Exposures, risk levels, and interpretation of standards

As for contaminants from manufacture, let's quote the report itself:
"It is important to note that in recent years, the most common method for methamphetamine
manufacture in New Zealand does not involve solvents and is performed using small, purpose
built metal cylinders. Various chemical reactions that occur during manufacture are
contained within this sealed pressure vessel, which, unlike traditional glassware setups,
prevents the release of associated fumes and contaminants. This method of manufacture only
releases methamphetamine and very small amounts of various by-products during the later
phases of the manufacturing process... Hence from a health risk perspective, if methamphetamine levels are low, it is likely to be immaterial whether a dwelling was used as a meth lab or not. "

So that's a nope about risks from manufacture.
posted by happyinmotion at 1:22 PM on February 1 [74 favorites]

Surprised and disappointed that this wasn't set in JeffCoMo.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:25 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]

I'm sure you can find one. I was trying to find the common thread in the stories, like some National Meth Cleaner's Association, but the only commonality was that they were always in the heartland. Utah, Colorado, Indiana, Texas. Maybe the journalists there are starving a bit more and will bite without asking too many questions, because the "actual harm" part of the stories was always just a sentence or two 3/4 the way down.
posted by rhizome at 1:29 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]

I feel like the framing on this too is also a little sympathetic to the landlords. Good people who just wanted to do rent out a second house etc etc. It kind of leaves out the millions of fucking slumlords across the country that wouldn't give two shits about a heap of asbestos and meth residue if the state didn't make them.
posted by Ferreous at 1:37 PM on February 1 [16 favorites]

What’s frustrating is that there is a real, very widespread contaminant with real science behind it showing how dangerous it is and the benefits of cleanup: lead. However, there are only a few states (Massachusetts is one, not sure if there are others) that have residential deleading laws with teeth.
posted by rockindata at 1:54 PM on February 1 [39 favorites]

The EPA publication covering voluntary meth lab cleanup guidelines admits that most state standards for meth lab remediation aren't grounded in any scientific basis about harm, just detectability:

Most state remediation standards are based on analytical detection limits and feasibility—they are not health-based standards. It is important to note, however, that these standards are believed to be set at sufficiently conservative levels to still be health-protective. In other words, remediation standards are believed to account for the scientific uncertainty involved in meth lab remediation in the interest of protecting human health and the environment.
posted by Graygorey at 2:07 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]

i.e. we razed your house out of an abundance of caution
posted by ryanrs at 2:23 PM on February 1 [13 favorites]

'Minick told me that he believes Colorado needs to change its laws “so that real estate inspectors, rather than industrial hygienists, can be trained and certified to do meth screening tests. That would bring the price of the test down to where most people would consider it.”'

Bourgeois state makes cottage industries out of disfavored behavior, volume 23,849.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 2:35 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]

The NZ links posted above by Happyinmotion are really important because they show the tradeoff in making decisions like this. The government evicted "hundreds of families" from public housing because of its reliance on a standard of 15 micrograms per 100 square cm., thirty times Colorado's limit, but their own advisors say that there have been no documented cases of harm from people exposed to methamphetamine residue. How much harm was caused by the evictions? A lot, I suppose: that would be stressful even for people with plenty of resources, but by definition public tenants are already vulnerable because of health or poverty or whatever.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:36 PM on February 1 [19 favorites]

Okay, but, I SUPER don't recommend living in/near a meth lab, folks. I'm not a scientist, but we have up the world's most affordable apartment seven years ago because the dude below us was cooking meth in his spare room (it has a weird astringent plasticky smell, for those wondering), and it was making us sick. My husband had constant headaches. People blow their houses up making this stuff. Let's not pretend amateur drug labs are harmless for the uninvolved people around them.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 3:15 PM on February 1 [17 favorites]

Let's not pretend amateur drug labs are harmless for the uninvolved people around them.

I don't see anyone pretending that. I see people questioning the level of evidence required to demonstrate that the harm has been remedied.
posted by PMdixon at 3:18 PM on February 1 [17 favorites]

Idea for needlepoint decoration in living room: "God bleth this meth".
posted by Paul Slade at 3:21 PM on February 1 [20 favorites]

Because of the absurdly low threshold quantities, this is an obvious scam entirely unrelated to legitimate toxicology. In terms of acquired pollutants (ie, excluding lead, asbestos, PCBs etc used during construction), I'd be more worried about tobacco smoke residue.
posted by meehawl at 3:22 PM on February 1 [10 favorites]

I can believe heavy or sloppy manufacture sites can be a legitimate contamination issue but yeah - when you're talking about residue from use I'm not buying it.

It makes me wonder what sort of residues from other activities one could find if one went looking for them with a similar threshold.
posted by atoxyl at 3:28 PM on February 1 [5 favorites]

So that's a nope about risks from manufacture.

The very next paragraph from that same report says:

Nevertheless, manufacture in general results in greater methamphetamine residue levels than those caused by smoking alone [21].

Which links to another paper, discussing “simulated smoking events” where meth was ignited and levels were taken on surfaces. There they say: In those cases in which we have been
involved, residences where methamphetamine has only been smoked have much lower
residuals of the drug on environmental surfaces than do residences where cooking has
been conducted.

posted by klausman at 3:34 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]

For former lab sites I feel like some of the intermediate organic products or byproducts could be an issue. But when they list all the stuff that goes into it, some of those things are scarier than others. I mean, if your walls were somehow coated with sodium hydroxide couldn't you basically just wipe them down with vinegar and be done?
posted by atoxyl at 3:35 PM on February 1 [6 favorites]

Okay, so to recap from the article's non-methamphetamine list of terror chemical residue at microgram-level exposure:

Ephedrine = Bronk-Aid (OTC bronchodilator in the US)

Sodium hydroxide = lye, the active ingredient in Drano, and some oven cleaners.

Hydrochloric acid= the active ingredient in cheap toilet cleaner. (An aqueous solution of HCl.)

Red phosphorus=red match heads. Not to mention fucking home fireworks (which...we can debate the wisdom of storing fireworks in your basement, but I live in a state with incredibly lax fireworks laws, much to my dismay).

So the other terrifying residues that could be present and cost 30k to ameliorate in your appliances and walls are chemicals used on appliances and are often splashed inadvertently during household use. And things that you could easily get mcg of direct skin exposure just from rummaging around in your medicine cabinet or your kitchen junk drawer?

On preview: yeah, exactly, atoxyl.
posted by Laetiporus at 3:51 PM on February 1 [13 favorites]

Meth in production may smell like plastic, but the smell after production is more of an intense cat-urine scent. Under_petticoat_rule and I were shown a house in the Monterey area that we later learned had been a meth lab. The cat urine smell was overwhelming. Pity, it was a gorgeous modernist home.
posted by rednikki at 4:06 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]

Hmmm. Well, I was the second person to post a comment here after reading the article. And it turned out—once again—that I was just not skeptical enough about stuff I read on the internet.

Off to play video games. Which never lie.
posted by SoberHighland at 4:36 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]

You are in a maze of bureaucratic drug-house remediation laws, all alike.
posted by rhizome at 5:01 PM on February 1 [10 favorites]

I feel like the framing on this too is also a little sympathetic to the landlords. Good people who just wanted to do rent out a second house etc etc. It kind of leaves out the millions of fucking slumlords across the country that wouldn't give two shits about a heap of asbestos and meth residue if the state didn't make them.

I fail to see how this one, narrow issue has anything to do with your complaints--legitimate in some cases--about the Jared Kushner types that exist around the country (usually in big cities, from what I can see), overcharging for horribly maintained apartment buildings. I see this story moving along, pointing out the costs but not particularly in a bleeding heart way. To me, both the couple and the tenants are victims of a drug addict and a system far too willing to set inappropriate standards and charge way too much money for their services.

You can be sympathetic to this one couple, or not, without defending scum.
posted by etaoin at 5:30 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]

I don't see any reason to think it couldn't have been a meth lab with an inadequate litter box situation . . .
posted by aspersioncast at 5:31 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]

Let's also talk about the politics here, coz they are relevant.

The NZ meth panic came about under a right-wing government and that panic met the expectations of that government.

1. Ministers were looking to blame poor people for personal and moral failings rather than admit that drug addiction is driven by dysfunctional societies and economies.
2. Plenty of people suspected that the meth-testing industry was full of cowboys, but the government didn't intervene because they believed that government intervention was bad and industries would self-regulate.
3. The industry was full of cowboys who were too busy raking in the cash to give a shit, with a moralising side-helping of tenants are bad people and OMG meth! In 2016, one-third of houses tested for meth were coming up positive and if you believe that, I've a bridge to sell you.
4. The media was happy to run stories about landlords facing huge bills because of illegal behaviour by tenants and only very quietly ran stories from scientists questioning the huge money-go-round.

This turned into a big panic with ministers prioritising the interests of property owners and being down-right vindictive. About 800 Housing NZ tenants who were kicked out into the street. If a contamination test came back positive, those people were booted with no due process and then billed for decontamination costs, losing both their homes and their possessions. These tenants included old ladies who had never smoked meth, but someone else in that house had, possibly before said old ladies moved in. The housing minister considered this getting tough on drugs.

When journalists finally started looking into this, it turned out that Housing NZ were mis-using the Ministry of Health's own guidelines, guidelines which had no credible science behind them. The government then set up the Methamphetamine Standards Committee to review the contamination standards. This was populated by industry players who were making bank, so of fucking course they came back with a report saying that meth was a huge problem and contamination was awful and the massive costs were justified.

In 2018 we had a change of government. The Labour government asked the Chief Science Advisor to look at the evidence. The advisor, Sir Peter Gluckman, has his flaws. I've worked with him previously and he's not on my Xmas card list, but I respect his ability to assess evidence and to resist political pressure. He's not the kind of person who can be bought. He finally looked at the evidence, called bullshit and the whole palaver came to a juddering halt.

The damage:
$100 million plus paid by property-owners for testing and decontamination that wasn't needed
800 Housing NZ tenants now being paid (some) compensation after losing their homes, property, and social support
Untold more private tenants being charged for bogus cleaning

Everyone in the meth-testing industry is a swindler and the relevant Ministers in the previous government were all-too-happy to ignore scientific concerns if it meant that they could carry on being vindictive motherfuckers.

Now, I don't know anything about the politics of this issue in Colorado. Do the themes from NZ resonate there? Is the government putting moralistic judgments ahead of evidence? Is there an industry making bank? Are tenants seen as drug-using wastrels to blame for their circumstances? Are landlords easy prey for this kind of moralising scam?
posted by happyinmotion at 6:25 PM on February 1 [23 favorites]

What is a therapeutic dose of a drug for some people may be a harmful dose for others. Individual reactions to different levels of medications for treating anxiety, depression, psychosis, etc. are highly variable, for example. What does 5 mg of ritalin or such do to someone who does not have ADHD? Does the effect vary between adults and 3 year olds? Do the chemical differences between amphetamine (in particular, the formulations used in ADHD medications) and methamphetamine lead to different potencies?

The fact remains though that a single dose spread out over the entirety of two rooms that is so well bonded to the room surfaces it requires three intensive cleanings (to the point cleaning damages finished surfaces) to remove is not going to present a hazard to anyone even if they spend 24x7x365 in the room. IE: if you somehow managed to eat all the drywall and flooring in those rooms in a single day (good luck) you still would only get exposed to within the ball park of a single therapeutic dose. I mean realistically how much could you absorb? 1/1000 of a dose (in which case the place would be clean in three years just by people living there).

Like others have said I be a heck of a lot more worried about lead paint, lead present in plumbing fittings, nicotine and carcinogenic residues from smokers, asbestos in tile and insulation and wall treatments, radon, and 0.5 micron dust particulate.

We had a similar situation here in BC re grow houses (I say had because I'm not sure if things have changed now that recreational grow is permitted). The law required grow houses to be have all electrical to be replaced. But that meant that a person who was arrested for growing a few plants had their residence condemned even if there was no evidence of defective electrical work. I did one house where we ripped out all the perfectly good electrical and replaced it. A couple of the guys took the used stuff home for side jobs. The whole situation was looney.

PS: you can do a shit ton of drywalling and painting for 30K; I'm really surprised they didn't just strip it to the studs and reboard. I wonder if the inspector or abatement companies were too, um, optimistic about the success rates of abatement in the initial stages.
posted by Mitheral at 6:32 PM on February 1 [14 favorites]

My before RTFA was that there's a simple way to clean a meth house... find some tweakers and tell them they can keep whatever they find. Done. And yeah, not so good meth smells of cat piss, but there's another rather particular smell that's hard to remember/describe of what a meth user smells like...

I crashed with some meth head tweakers for a while and other random crackheads, heroin junkies, etc. during my homeless years.

Total BS after RTFA.
posted by zengargoyle at 7:12 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]

I also almost made the joke that you just have to tell a tweaker that there's meth in the carpet and he'll find it. But I thought that might be too much of an old druggie insider joke for a general audience.
posted by atoxyl at 7:24 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]

I don't know how it works in NZ, but in Australia the homes of many public tenants have been rented from private landlords by the government. A friend of mine is a real estate agent and he was pushing one on me as an investment because the government is basically the best tenant you can have: it pays on time and covers any damage without making you fight your insurer. I didn't go in for it, but it now occurs to me that, for a landlord, having your property stripped and refurbished (while you continue to receive rent!) is a fantastic deal. New carpet, new drywall, new everything at the government's expense. And you've still got the government as a tenant, if you want, or you can run out the lease and then rent your refurbished flat to a private tenant at a higher price. There's got to be a degree of moral risk there.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:41 PM on February 1 [6 favorites]

There is a big difference between being exposed to high levels of toxic fumes from amateur cooking and being exposed to slight residue that takes a mass spectrometer to detect. The former can and does make people (temporarily, except in the most extreme cases) ill and is a reasonable concern. The latter, not so much.

That's not to say I'd be happy with someone making a batch next door or anything. The risk of fire is quite real, and does actually kill people on occasion, including innocent bystanders from time to time. Fewer than are getting caught in the crossfire when the cartels that now dominate the business have their disagreements, but it is a thing that happens.

If you remain concerned about the levels of exposure to meth one might get from dilute residue in your home, I suggest you should also refuse to handle cash without gloves and store any that you have in a sealed container.
posted by wierdo at 8:02 PM on February 1 [7 favorites]

My understanding of how it works in NZ is that public tenants go into Kāinga Ora (previously known as Housing NZ) houses, which are owned by the state. There is also a benefit called Accommodation Supplement for tenants in private housing.

Private housing is rented to benefit-supported tenants on the same terms as privately-supported tenants. So from a landlord's point of view, there should be no difference in renting to either group.

One of the best things that the current government has done is to limit tenants liability to the lower of four week's rent or the landlord's insurance excess. This has been a very quiet change that has drastically altered how tenants and landlords interact. There's much less incentive for landlords to try to screw over their tenants (although some still will) and landlords are required to have insurance to keep their investments safe no matter what tenants do. This reduces the conflict substantially. Plus Tenancy Services to keep everyone informed of their rights, to provide mediation, and to run the Tenancy Tribunal if tenants and landlords can't resolve issues amicably.

It mostly works pretty well, when compared to setups overseas.
posted by happyinmotion at 8:03 PM on February 1 [7 favorites]

"Sells his hardwood timber to the chippin' mill,
Cooks that crystal meth 'cos his shine don't sell,
He cooks that crystal meth 'cos his shine don't sell,
He likes that money, he don't mind the smell."

- James McMurtry, Choctaw Bingo.
posted by Paul Slade at 1:36 AM on February 2 [5 favorites]

There was one important takeaway in this article: Don't buy a house in Colorado.

« Colorado’s laws concerning meth residue are fairly strict. Anything above 0.5 micrograms is considered unsafe and requires cleaning. »

Utterly asinine.
posted by Belostomatidae at 5:37 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]

I only have heard that it smells bad, though I don't know what kind of "bad" is meant by that. Anyone know what a bad meth-smell is like?

Like chemically laced cat urine.
posted by Young Kullervo at 6:10 AM on February 2

Some years back we had a next door neighbor who was cooking for a while; mostly it wasn't so bad but every so often it would stink pretty powerfully. (It was a short-lived situation; he got busted shortly after chasing a guy down the street with a hammer.) My worry at the time was more explosions than contamination, but that is not a house that I would ever want to buy and own that kind of possible liability. He wasn't the kind of guy who would have been using the latest and cleanest of meth-making techniques or would have much attention to safety protocol.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:57 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]

I've been browsing a real estate app for dilapidated rural Ontario properties and thinking that I'd take a meth lab over the mouldy racoon poop/hantavirus shacks I've been seeing so far. Housecreep is a database of "stigmatized" properties. I don’t know how complete or current it is but Jesus, it's a rabbit hole if you start clicking on the murder stories.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:36 AM on February 2 [4 favorites]

I love this juxtaposition in Housecreep's top homicide listing: "The grisly murder rocked the community and remains unsolved.The hardwood floors have been refinished, the roof is newer and the windows have been replaced."

"See, honey? It's not all bad news..."
posted by Paul Slade at 9:54 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]

Some of this reminds me of how cops always claim they're ODing when they stumble over some pre-packaged heroin with 0.001% fentanyl.
posted by praemunire at 11:21 AM on February 2 [4 favorites]

Skin/air contact fentanyl has been absolutely debunked, so yeah, I'll give you a couple minutes to find the common thread.
posted by rhizome at 12:44 PM on February 2 [2 favorites]

Do the chemical differences between amphetamine (in particular, the formulations used in ADHD medications) and methamphetamine lead to different potencies?

Important to note here that methamphetamine *is* used as an ADHD medication, under the name Desoxyn. It's also prescribed for treatment of some sleep disorders. I believe it's not smoked, which is going to limit the amount that shows up as residue, but that's certainly another route by which trace amounts show up in a house.

Like, say you have a prescription for Desoxyn, and you're using a pill splitter to cut down to the right dosage, as is pretty common for a variety of medications. That generates some dust from the pill, at least some of which is going to get in the air. How long do you have to be doing that before it starts showing up on the wall in your kitchen (or wherever you split your pills) in a test like this?

Is there a requirement to disclose that a house has a history of a Desoxyn prescription? How far down the rabbit hole of absurdities can we go here?
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:48 PM on February 2 [9 favorites]

Skin/air contact fentanyl has been absolutely debunked, so yeah, I'll give you a couple minutes to find the common thread

To be fair, an effective dose of carfentanyl is in fact in the microgram range. That's not to say that the claimed risks are real, of course. Cops have been wearing gloves as a matter of course for a couple of decades at this point, after all.

At least in that particular case the alarmism can lead to a positive outcome by encouraging departments to issue naloxone as a standard carry item and train their officers on its use.
posted by wierdo at 2:30 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]

"The worst case he’s ever seen, he said, was of a detached garage that had served as a meth lab shortly before he tested it — the reading came back so high that he recommended the garage be demolished."

So, thirty years ago my spouse and I — very poor at the time and willing to live in the least expensive housing in any neighborhood lacking iron bars on windows — rented a one-room detached garage that had been a meth lab. We knew this because the landlord mentioned it ... also the sturdily constructed eight-foot long workbench and the sheet-aluminum removable barrier hiding a quick exit through a side wall were clues. As was the repaired door-frame and new door replacing what had been destroyed by police forced entry.

It didn't smell and we didn't get sick.

In fact, I would have welcomed a saturation of toxic chemicals if they'd have kept the vast, seething masses of cockroaches at bay.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:38 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]

I’m kind of reminded of the initial furor about CFL breakage, triggered when an overzealous DEP employee suggested someone who broke a CFL call a hazmat team.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:46 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]

To be fair, an effective dose of carfentanyl is in fact in the microgram range.

Oh sure, it's harmful in and of itself, but there's no way you're going to suffer that harm via skin or air contact.
posted by rhizome at 6:11 PM on February 3

It could be a problem if there were as much dust in the air as there was in that coke packaging "factory" scene in RoboCop. Given that the film looks less and less satirical with each passing year, I can imagine that some freak incident could cause an inhalation hazard at some point, assuming that it's even possible for inhaled dust to get into the blood stream.

Still, like most of the dangers the police use to deflect from their brutality and misbehavior, it lies at worst somewhere between manufactured entirely and overblown beyond all sense of proportion, inclusive.
posted by wierdo at 7:09 PM on February 3

Idea for needlepoint decoration in living room: "God bleth this meth".

My wife got a signboard where you push in removable letters. 2-3 weeks ago I was making a sign for my kids telling them "KID1 AND KID 2 DO SOMETHING NEW TODAY". Each word on a new line and centred. To keep the words centred I was starting from the middle of each one. My older kid, who is 8, comes up and asks what meth is because at that moment the sign said "KID1 AND KID2 DO METH". So I had a good laugh and told her not to do meth under any circumstances. And then I completed the sign as intended.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:24 PM on February 4

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