(Cushing, Okla.)   Approximately 75 people gathered at the Cushing Youth Center Tuesday night to learn the warning signs of meth-making, its use and effect on lives and communities.  Cushing Police Chief Terry Brannon introduced Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics agent Dub Turner who attributes his knowledge of meth labs to the 600 labs he has worked.  “I’ve spent a lot of time talking to meth addicts and meth cooks,” Turner said.  “I’m kind of weird, I guess, I like to sit down and talk to them and ask them ‘how did you do that?"” 

Unfortunately, meth-making is easy.  “If you can bake a cake,” Turner said, “you can cook meth.  I could probably go into any one of your houses and find the ingredients for meth.” 

Turner shared some alarming statistics about meth labs in Oklahoma.  In 1994 the state of Oklahoma had less than 10 meth labs.  By 2002 that number had increased to 1254.  “We were working three labs a day where I was stationed,” Turner said.  In 2004 legislators passed HB2176 controlling the sale of psuedoephedrine – which led to a significant drop to 149 labs in 2007.  That drop was short-lived, however.  Since 2008 the number of labs has increased each year.  Turner attributed the trend to the “driven addiction” and the new “one pot” method  “People have learned how to manipulate the system,” he said.

The one pot method is especially appalling because “it’s cheap, it’s easy, the recipe is simple with no heat involved and you can do it anywhere.  It can be done in your house, in a motel room or in a car driving down the road,” Turner said.  “And then they just throw the by products away.”

Here are some warning signs of possible meth making:

Unusual odors likened to nail polish remover, ammonia, cat urine or rotten eggs

Elaborate security

Dead Vegetation: Meth makers sometimes dump toxic substance in their yards, leaving burn spots or dead spots in the grass or vegetation.

Excessive or unusual trash such as:

   *numerous blister packs from cold medicine

   *lithium batteries that have been torn apart

   *used coffee filters with colored stains or powdery residue

   *empty containers of antifreeze, ether, starting fluids, lye, drain opener, acetone or other chemicals

   *plastic soda bottles with holes near the top, often with tubes coming out

   *plastic or rubber hoses

Turner emphasized the importance of “knowing your renters” with photos of a rental destroyed by meth-making.  “He didn’t know his renters.”

He also warned that if you find trash bags “dumped” on to your property you should contact the police.  “Some of these things used in making meth may lie dormant and reactivate when moved.”

What can you do?  Educate yourself.  Be Observant.  And if you run across something suspicious, contact law enforcement.  Do NOT take matters into your own hands.

To make an anonymous tip to the Cushing Police Department, visit their website: www.cushingpd.com and click on “Crime Tips.” 

For more information or to request a presentation by the OBN call 1-800-522-8031 or email obnstate.ok.us