The greatest number of meth labs in NSW this year was found around Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay and Tweed Heads, according to police this week. As with our tourist destination status, it appears we are tops in this field too. With nearly 100 meth labs discovered in NSW alone, police say it indicates an increase of almost 40 per cent on previous years.
Meth – or Crystal Methamphetamine – is highly dangerous to manufacture, and leaves a toxic residue that needs chemical hazard materials experts (HazMat) to clean up. The dangers are amusingly portrayed in the US TV series Breaking Bad and the film Spun, along with the gradual brain meltdown experienced by users.
It’s also called ‘Ice’, and can be highly addictive – it activates the psychological reward system by triggering dopamine and norepinephrine production in the brain. It can also cause psychotic aggro behaviour, which in turn makes the job of an ambo, medic or police officer just that bit harder.
Apart from that, meth can also cause ‘meth mouth’, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, tension headache, muscle breakdown, kidney damage or failure, stroke, cardiac arrest and death.
There is little good that can be said of those who cook meth for profit; this drug is about as destructive as you can get.
Unlike other drugs such as MDMA, meth has no benefits whatsoever and turns users into zombies.
You can acquire a fact sheet on meth from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre www.med.unsw.edu.au/NDARCWeb.nsf.w