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Does a Meth House Smell?

Clandestine drug labs are found throughout the country. Methamphetamine is "cooked" in storage units, homes, hotel/motel rooms, apartments, boats, and mobile homes. After a drug laboratory bust, law enforcement and the DEA work to remove bulk chemicals and apparatus from the production site. However, residual contamination will likely remain because the hazardous chemicals that are used to make meth can cause contamination of porous surfaces, heating units and furnishings. In many cases, new occupants moving into former drug labs are unaware of the problem. 

Methamphetamine smells heavy and sickeningly sweet.  Once you smell it, you likely won't forget it. The residual smell has been compared to nail polish remover (acetone), burning plastic, dead animals (stays in your nose), rotten eggs and of course, cat urine.  The smell differs because there are several different methods to cook meth each using different hazardous chemicals.  Please note:  meth production or meth use doesn’t always leave smells behind. It depends on the type of cook, duration, amount of cooking or meth use, and property ventilation. 

Meth Smoke

Can you see meth residue?  You may witness dark red phosphorous stains in the toilets, sinks, bathtubs, or red staining on the counters, walls and floors.  You may also may also see signs of chemical burns and spills. 

The only way to know if a home is contaminated is to test; stains and smells are not always evident!

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