You Smell a Strange Ammonia or Acetone Odor? That Might Be a Meth Lab


Methamphetamine Crystals (meth crystals) photo from the Department of Justice.

Meth labs often produce strong odors that smell like ammonia, acetone, or cat urine. They are often setup in secluded areas, such as remote areas in forest preserves, abandoned buildings, and automobile trunks, but are sometimes found in apartments or occupied homes.

Meth labs also produce large amounts of trash including:
Antifreeze containers, stained coffee filters (from chemicals), empty boxes of allergy tablets, drain cleaner product, cans and containers, battery casings, lantern fuel cans, standard grill propane tanks (have blue coloring around the valve and handles).

What is Meth?
Meth or methamphetamine is a drug with immense abuse potential. Methamphetamine (known on the street as “speed,” “meth,” “crank,” “crystal-meth,” and “glass”) is a central nervous system stimulant of the amphetamine family. Like cocaine, it is a powerful “upper” that produces alertness, and elation, along with a variety of adverse reactions. The effects of methamphetamine last much longer than the effects of cocaine for about the same cost. For that economics, methamphetamine is also known as the “poor man’s cocaine.”

What to do if you suspect a meth lab …
Call 911, but don’t make it obvious that you are being nosey. Don’t use your cell phone while you are in sight of the suspects, especially in a remote area, for example, where you might be hiking. You don’t want to be the suspected caller, in case of retaliation. Additionally, the cell phone might not have coverage in the remote area.

Do not approach or confront anyone about the discovery, except the police.

Meth labs also pose a fire risk and are dangerous in residential neighborhoods.


A major fire after a Meth Lab exploded in Shreveport, Louisiana on January 15, 1992.

lifeormeth.org