Dangerous Stuff

Industry Observer

I Need Pills .You got a common cold today and thought you might stroll down to the neighborhood drug store and buy some Sudafed to clear up your runny nose.  When you get to the area where the pharmacy is located, you search relentlessly for the over the counter medication that fixed what ailed you many times before.  Failing to find any brand name to cure your cold, you stop at the pharmacy counter and park under the sign that says; "Drop Prescriptions Here".  You have no prescription but thought the pharmacist might help you out.  "I'd like some Sudafed please, can you tell me where I can find some tablets " ?    The guy in the white coat across the counter reaches behind him, picks up a clipboard with a form attached to it and hands it to you.  You quickly read the document which advises you to fill in your name, address, telephone number, and instructs you to hand the completed form along with a photo ID to the Pharmacist.  You complete the form, pull out your driver's license and pass it to the pharmacist across the counter.  You then get your Sudafed, pay for it and march out the store disgusted at what you think is unnecessary red tape.


One of the active ingredients in Sudafed is pseudoephedrine which is used to produce methamphetamine.  A number of states have required that stores remove Sudafed or pseudoephedrine from their shelves.  In the month of October, the Federal Government increased the requirements.  It is now necessary for someone wishing to purchase these tablets to sign a log and produce a picture ID.  This is one of many steps being taken to protect innocent people like you and I from becoming an innocent victim.


Common Stuff - When you preview a home with a client the next time, be aware that common everyday ordinary looking ingredients are used for the production of Methamphetamine.  A number of these ingredients, such as Sudafed, combined with common household ingredients are used to create the drug.  An unusual number of tablets (600 are required for one ounce of crystal meth) may be a tip off.  Aluminum foil is sometimes combined with muriatic acid (used in swimming pools) to produce the required hydrogen chloride gas.  Coffee Filters, anti-freeze, high proof drinking alcohol, and Red Devil lye are other ingredients.  Match sticks that have been scraped clean and thrown in the garbage or just left lying around in large quantities may be a giveaway that an active lab may be nearby.  Iodine stains on the carpets or walls are common characteristics you may come across.  Duracell or Energizer batteries are used many times to extract the metal and chemicals found in the batteries.  If you notice a large quantity of batteries sitting in a storage area or broken open, you may want to be concerned.  The waste materials as a by product of the process are also created.  Five to six pounds of hazardous materials are created for every pound of crystal meth.  This waste is frequently buried in a backyard. 


Be Aware . You as a REALTOR need to know that literally thousands of labs go un noticed in the United States and the number is increasing at an alarming rate daily.  A little awareness goes a long way.  If you suspect this activity is or has occurred in a home or in the area, contact local law enforcement immediately.  Depending on you state, you may have additional reporting requirements.

For more information on this illegal activity and what I feel needs to be done about it to protect us as real estate professionals, read my previously  posted  blog at




Ken Spencer
Buckeye, AZ
for Verrado, Buckeye, Sundance

Fellow Realtors.  This is extremely dangerous stuff regardless of whether you encounter anactive lab or come across an inactive site where hazardous materials are disposed of and not propertly remediated. 


Jan 03, 2007 07:22 AM
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

OH MY!  Call me ignorant but I never realized what went into meth!  No wonder the meth lab disclosure exists!

Great read, thanks for taking the time to post.

Jan 03, 2007 01:35 PM
Ken Spencer
Buckeye, AZ
for Verrado, Buckeye, Sundance


Thanks for your comment.  It's not well known that the drug manufacturing business is very lucrative for those that produce it and distribute it.  The portability of the lab operation, the use of common every day chemicals and the return on investment for the drug dealer creates an endless battle for law enforcement.  Little children (infants) are often found crawling around in the area of the active labs with their mom high on meth not far away and the dad cooking the stuff.  A real bad scene.



Jan 03, 2007 03:12 PM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Coldwell Banker Realty
Ken - Thanks for alerting our fellow agents out there to be on the lookout for the "red flags" of meth production.
Jan 04, 2007 02:08 AM
Suzanne Marriott
Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Anthem, AZ
Associate Broker, CLHMS, e-PRO
Ken - Are there any "sniffers" out there that detect the presence of meth or it's byproducts - similar to a smoke alarm?
Jan 04, 2007 02:52 AM
Ken Spencer
Buckeye, AZ
for Verrado, Buckeye, Sundance


You're welcome. Awareness is sometime the best you can hope for but it's the first step in staying safe



Jan 04, 2007 06:11 AM
Ken Spencer
Buckeye, AZ
for Verrado, Buckeye, Sundance


That's very good question  I need to do some research on that. I'll get back to you or do a post.

One thing to remember.  Ten years ago meth labs were in existence.  Today, workers compensation claims are being filed by law enforcement officers, medical personnel and fire fighters for claims from a decade ago because of exposure.  So there are places where labs had existed that were never cleaned up.   That's got me just as concerned as those that have been "Properly" cleaned up.


Jan 04, 2007 06:19 AM