Worlds Most Dangerous Drug
The drug that stops at nothing. It has a dozen names:crystal, ice, tina,crank but most call it meth.
Methamphetamine is most structurally similar to methcathinone and amphetamine. When illicitly produced, it is commonly made by the reduction of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. Most of the necessary chemicals are readily available in household products or over-the-counter cold or allergy medicines. Synthesis is relatively simple, but entails risk with flammable and corrosive chemicals, particularly the solvents used in extraction and purification. Clandestine production is therefore often discovered by fires and explosions caused by the improper handling of volatile or flammable solvents.
Most methods of illicit production involve hydrogenation of the hydroxyl group on the ephedrine or pseudoephedrine molecule. The most common method for small-scale methamphetamine labs in the United States is primarily called the "Red, White, and Blue Process", which involves red phosphorus, pseudoephedrine or ephedrine(white), and blue iodine, from which hydroiodic acid is formed.
This is a fairly dangerous process for amateur chemists, because phosphine gas, a side-product from in situ hydroiodic acid production, is extremely toxic to inhale. An increasingly common method uses the process of Birch reduction, in which metallic lithium (commonly extracted from rechargeable batteries) is substituted for metallic sodium, to circumvent the difficulty of procuring metallic sodium.
The Birch reduction, however, is dangerous because the alkali metal and liquid anhydrous ammonia are both extremely reactive, and the temperature of liquid ammonia makes it susceptible to explosive boiling when reactants are added. Anhydrous ammonia and lithium or sodium (Birch reduction) may be surpassing hydroiodic acid (catalytic hydrogenation) as the most common method of manufacturing methamphetamine in the US and possibly in Mexico. Hydroiodic acid "super lab busts" receive more media attention because the equipment employed is much more complex and visible than the glass jars or coffee carafes commonly used to produce methamphetamine with Birch reduction.
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