Methamphetamine use is widespread across NZ, and it’s a cheap and accessible drug. As well as being harmful to individuals and communities, there is a considerable cost to homeowners or landlords who buy a meth house.
What is methamphetamine and why is it dangerous?
Methamphetamine is a synthetic drug. It comes in a white powder, which is generally smoked in order to experience a ‘rush’. Smoking results in an immediate, but short-lived high which is extremely pleasurable and highly addictive. Snorting it takes a few minutes to take effect.
While it’s dangerous to the user due to its highly addictive nature, meth contamination health effects from long term use can result in anxiety, violence, paranoia and hallucinations. It can cause problems in memory, emotion, and physical issues such as weight loss, tooth decay, and skin sores.
If your home or rental property has been used in the ‘cooking’ of the meth, the danger to you or future tenants is due to the long term exposure to toxic chemicals used in production of the drug. These chemicals can become embedded in walls, ceilings and soft furnishings, as well as causing corrosion and damage to plumbing. The effect of the chemicals on occupants is much the same as for a user: emotional disturbances, as well as breathing problems, especially in small children.
What are the signs your home was used to smoke meth?
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to tell if your home was used as a place to smoke meth. All it takes is a party where someone lights up—and there’s no sign of that even a few hours later. The only way to truly tell is testing for residue. At TechClean, if you suspect a property had meth use, contact us and we can conduct testing and advise what scale of clean-up is required.
It may not be an expensive decontamination process, especially if the drug was only used a few times—it could be as simple as advising you to wash down your walls, windows, ceiling, and wash your carpets.
What are the signs your home or rental property may have been a meth lab?
If you think your property was used in creation of methamphetamines, there can be a few reasons why you think so.
- Tenants who pay in cash
- Windows are covered or permanently blacked out/ reinforced
- Odd traffic patterns, with few visitors during the day but frequent short visits at night
- Installation of extractor fans in sheds or a garage
- Fan/ pump noise constantly from the premises
- Hoses and pipes coming from windows or doors
- A strong chemical smell, but during occupation and afterwards. In particular, ammonia, rotten egg/ sulphuric or solvent smells are common
- Excessive rubbish, sometimes resulting in the tenant burning waste. Especially, batteries that have been broken open, packages for cold and flu medication, coffee filters, and a range of hoses and empty chemical containers.
- A very dirty property and lack of care in housekeeping
- Laundry/ dishes frequently not done (this does not always signify a meth house!)
- Burn marks on floors, walls and ceilings
- Lawns/ gardens with dead spots where toxic waste has been dumped
- Yellow discolouration of walls, sinks, showers, drains
- Fire detectors removed or taped off
- Itchy, irritated eyes when inside the house, a metallic taste or breathing problems
If you don’t know yourself, often a quick chat to the neighbours will elicit information. Most Kiwis will be happy to chat and help with any information they have. While they may not have enough information to go to the police or worry about their safety, they may have noticed unusual patterns of behaviour or chemical smells.
What do you do if you suspect the home was used as a meth lab?
If you think your property, or a property you’re looking at buying, has been used for smoking or cooking meth, then contact us at TechClean. We can test properties in the Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Marlborough areas. This methamphetamine testing happens room by room, and not only tells you there is a presence of methamphetamine, but also how much is present.
This allows us to advise you on the best course of action. Not every house requires substantial cleaning or wall linings to be removed; and not always throughout the entire house. It also does not mean that we have to carry out the decontamination; if the use was minor, we can advise you on the best course of action. Contact us today for testing and a quote to decontaminate your home or rental property.