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Social Services

Methamphetamine Information 2

Recognizing a Meth Lab
Although not in and of themselves conclusive evidence, the following could signal the presence of a meth lab.

  • Unusual, strong odors (like cat urine, ether, ammonia, or acetone) coming from sheds, outbuildings, other structures, fields, orchards, campsites, or especially vehicles (older model cars, vans) etc.
  • Possession of large amounts of over-the-counter cold/allergy medications containing ephedrine or pseudo-ephedrine, or large quantities of solvents such as Acetone, Coleman Fuel, Toluene, etc.
  • Discarded cold medicine/ephedrine bottles, coffee filters with oddly-colored stains, lithium batteries, antifreeze containers, lantern fuel cans, propane tanks.
  • The mixing of unusual chemicals in a house, garage, or barn, or the possession f chemical glassware by persons not involved in the chemical industry.
  • Heavy traffic during late night hours.
  • Residences with fans in windows in cold weather, or blacked-out windows.

If You Suspect a Meth Lab
Seventy-five percent of meth labs found in North Carolina have been “stumbled upon.” If you suspect a meth lab take these steps:

  • Remain calm. Give yourself time to think.
  • Do NOT approach suspects. They are often armed and may be dangerous.
  • Do NOT enter the lab area. Do not try to clean up the area. Evidence should remain undisturbed for investigation by law enforcement.
  • If you are in the lab already, find an excuse to leave immediately.
  • Never try to identify unknown substances by smelling or touching them.
  • Keep a safe distance. Hazardous materials may ignite or the fumes may overcome you.
  • Promptly notify local law enforcement.

Because some effects of chemical exposure can develop slowly, one should seek immediate medical attention if he/she notice the following :

  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Unusual movements such as tremors, shaking, jumpiness, agitation, or seizures
  • Trouble breathing, coughing, or poor color
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations or mental confusion
  • Any other unusual symptom that seems severe

More about Meth and Meth Labs in North Carolina
Meth lab seizures in North Carolina increased twenty-fold in the last four years. In 2001, 34 meth labs were found; in 2002 there were 98; in 2003 there were 177; in 2004 there were 322. North Carolina is doing what it can to combat this trend because it can get much worse: some states seize more than 2,000 meth labs a year.Rural communities are particularly at risk. Teens aged 12 to 14 who live in smaller towns are 104% more likely to use meth than those who live in larger cities. Meth “cooks” often site their labs in rural areas to hide the odors produced during manufacture. The trend is for labs to spread from rural to suburban to urban areas. Relatively few labs have been found in larger cities such as Charlotte and Raleigh, but they are becoming more common in small towns in western and eastern North Carolina.

Meth FAQ - Chemicals and Adult Exposure, page 3

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Department of Social Services
80 Academy Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

Mailing Address
PO Box 610
Bryson City, NC 28713


Sheila Sutton, Director
Phone 828-488-6921
Fax 828-488-8271

Office Hours