The Dangers of Methamphetamine Manufacturing in Northwest Florida

Drugs are a serious danger to our society, inspiring countless anti-drug use education efforts. Many of these dangers are to the user, including the risk of overdose and addiction-related death. There are also, of course, risks to the general public such as dangers related to the violent drug trade or accidents caused by users (including traffic crashes). Additionally, there is the continually-growing problem of methamphetamine use and the danger methamphetamine explosions pose to manufacturers, users, and innocent bystanders. Our Panama City drug injury lawyer is dedicated to using the civil law system to help the latter group recover compensation for their injuries.

Calhoun County Meth Bust

This Valentine's Day, WMBB reported on an arrest related to methamphetamine (aka "meth") manufacture in our region. On that day, the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office of Criminal Investigations Division ("CID") placed Grady Randal Roberson under arrest for manufacturing and possessing meth and for possessing drug paraphernalia. CID officers had received repeated complaints regarding the making and use of meth at Roberson's residence. After the arrest, they discovered meth in various stages of manufacture using the "one pot" process. Calhoun County's CID asks that anyone with knowledge about manufacturing and/or use of meth in the county call the Sheriff's Office 850-674-5049 or Chipola Crime Stoppers at 1-888-804-8494.

Overview of "Shake and Bake" Manufacturing and Its Risks

An article published on About.com in 2012 warned of an emerging method of making meth designed to get around restrictions on the sale of ingredients. The "shake and bake" or "one pot" method involves making meth in a two-liter soda bottle using just a few cold pills and common household chemicals. While it only makes a small amount of meth, enough for a few hits, the method is easier to conceal than larger labs, avoids the need for large amounts of cold medicine (which became hard to obtain), and the needed items fit in a backpack. Users often make meth while driving ("mobile meth labs") and the toss the used bottles out the window, leaving a poisonous sludge on the highway.

In addition to being simple and highly mobile, the shake and bake method is exceptionally dangerous. If the manufacturer shakes the bottle the wrong way, if oxygen manages to get inside, or if the cap is opened too quickly, the entire bottle can explode in a massive fireball. When the old labs caught fire, the makers could run away. With the new method, the explosion occurs while the maker is holding the bottle. It can also injure bystanders, lead to car accidents when explosions occur in vehicles, and can kill police officers who unknowingly open what appears to be a typical bottle (there have been extensive efforts to train officers to prevent this problem). Civilians should also avoid touching discarded soda bottles, and children should be taught to avoid such debris. A Tennessee news station carried a video of a mobile meth lab exploding in a hospital parking lot that killed the maker and, while no one else was hurt, the explosion shut down the ER for a time.

Danger to Bystanders and Official Responder from Meth Manufacture

While some people think of drugs as a "Big City" problem, meth use and manufacturer is widespread, including many small towns and rural areas. Public Health Reports, a journal for the U.S. Public Health Service, found that most meth lab events occurred in residential areas. The study also found that 61% of meth lab victims (defined as people who had at least one adverse health response or died as a result of a chemical incident at a meth lab) were official responders, and 33% were members of the general public.

Meth is a serious problem. Users can experience severe dental problems, hallucinations, memory loss, paranoia, and violent/aggressive behavior. It also poses dangers to non-users, including dangers associated with the manufacturing process. If you or a loved one has been injured because of someone else's drug use or drug manufacturing error, our Panama City injury law firm can help you recover compensation for your injuries and/or economic loss.

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