Not logged in [Login - Register]
 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Fundamentals » Miscellaneous » can Meth be made without pseudoephedrine? Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Miscellaneous Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication   » References Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues   » Whimsy   » Detritus   » The Moderators' Lounge

Pages:  1
Author: Subject: can Meth be made without pseudoephedrine?
Twospoons
International Hazard

Posts: 720
Registered: 26-7-2004
Location: Middle Earth
Member Is Offline

Mood: Full of B12 - YIPPEE!

can Meth be made without pseudoephedrine?

I'm just curious to know 'yes' or 'no'. I DON"T want to know how, or any links to methods etc.
Reason: govt in NZ is banning pseudoephedrine to stop the meth cooks, and I'm wondering if this is completely futile.

The wife thinks I\'m with the mistress, the mistress thinks I\'m with the wife - so I can go to my workshop and get a few things done!
ammonium isocyanate
Hazard to Others

Posts: 124
Registered: 13-7-2009
Location: USA - Midwest
Member Is Offline

Mood: sick

Yes. I can think of at least half a dozen other ways to go about it, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Psuedoephedrine reduction is just the the easiest way for the average joe to make meth.

Twospoons
International Hazard

Posts: 720
Registered: 26-7-2004
Location: Middle Earth
Member Is Offline

Mood: Full of B12 - YIPPEE!

I thought as much. Typical govt kneejerk reaction will simply move the problem elsewhere, while making life hell for Joe Public.

The wife thinks I\'m with the mistress, the mistress thinks I\'m with the wife - so I can go to my workshop and get a few things done!
Sedit
International Hazard

Posts: 1909
Registered: 23-11-2008
Member Is Offline

Mood: Manic Expressive

Psuedoephedrine is a relativly "new invention" in the manufacturing of amphetamines and yes there efforts are almost futile, but they have stated in microgram papers that they know its futile and there goal is to inhibit production by making it uneconomic as possible to synthesis. This means that even if a "new" synthesis finds its way into main stream they will just go down the list and ban everything or atlest the main parts so that they must extract small amounts here and there raising there cost and time to something that is not a problem for the DEA. The general public is not disillusioned enough with the DEA for this to end anytime soon so its something any chemist will have to get use to.

PS: Not to pry Twospoons but isn't this something that could have been found out with ease elseware without ever asking here?

[Edited on 9-10-2009 by Sedit]

Knowledge is useless to useless people...

"I see a lot of patterns in our behavior as a nation that parallel a lot of other historical processes. The fall of Rome, the fall of Germany — the fall of the ruling country, the people who think they can do whatever they want without anybody else's consent. I've seen this story before."~Maynard James Keenan
entropy51
Gone, but not forgotten

Posts: 1612
Registered: 30-5-2009
Member Is Offline

Mood: Fissile

 Quote: can Meth be made without pseudoephedrine?

Of course. From phenylacetone. But that was made a scheduled controlled substance about 25 years ago.

Of course. From benzaldehyde. But that is listed and watched.

They will go down the list all the way to the bottom. Time and money are no object. Resistance is futile.

Twospoons
International Hazard

Posts: 720
Registered: 26-7-2004
Location: Middle Earth
Member Is Offline

Mood: Full of B12 - YIPPEE!

@ Sedit: I don't know enough about the chemistry involved (i know nothing , in fact, and intend to keep it that way) to ask the right questions of the search engines. There are so many knowledgeable people on this forum I was sure I would get a straight and simple answer here - apologies if I have caused offence to anyone.

Ironically, leaving the pseudo available over the counter I would have thought would actually make it easier to track down the cooks.

[Edited on 9-10-2009 by Twospoons]

The wife thinks I\'m with the mistress, the mistress thinks I\'m with the wife - so I can go to my workshop and get a few things done!
entropy51
Gone, but not forgotten

Posts: 1612
Registered: 30-5-2009
Member Is Offline

Mood: Fissile

 Quote: Originally posted by Twospoons Ironically, leaving the pseudo available over the counter I would have thought would actually make it easier to track down the cooks.
You certainly didn't offend me. I'm sorry if I made you think that. Its a legitimate question.

In the US, they couldn't track the cooks because the stuff was being stolen off store shelves by the trashbag full.

As far as I know, pseudo is still available here, but not on the open shelves. I think you have to go to the pharmacy and show ID and sign for it; that way they can try to track it.

From what I read, the restriction on sales has cut down drastically on the mom & pop labs; they probably aren't sophisticated enough to make the alternative precursors.
Twospoons
International Hazard

Posts: 720
Registered: 26-7-2004
Location: Middle Earth
Member Is Offline

Mood: Full of B12 - YIPPEE!

Here its changing from "ID and sign" to "prescription only", meaning doctors' waiting rooms full of people with sniffles. The biggest source for the cooks here is pure pseudo thats smuggled in, not over-the-counter cold remedies, so the changes were always going to be rather ineffectual.

The wife thinks I\'m with the mistress, the mistress thinks I\'m with the wife - so I can go to my workshop and get a few things done!
Sedit
International Hazard

Posts: 1909
Registered: 23-11-2008
Member Is Offline

Mood: Manic Expressive

"the restriction on sales has cut down drastically on the mom & pop labs"

Funny thing is they feel this is a good thing... where as the mexican cartels have like 3 or 4 people in the forbes billionare list since then..

Sorry but I feel the war on drugs is counter productive by all means and sending money to the evil in the world instead of the small time cooks, philosphers, weirdos and hippys who will just put it back into the economy anyway. The money gets spent and supply has raised, Thats a fact. Who that money goes to is all that has changed.

Knowledge is useless to useless people...

"I see a lot of patterns in our behavior as a nation that parallel a lot of other historical processes. The fall of Rome, the fall of Germany — the fall of the ruling country, the people who think they can do whatever they want without anybody else's consent. I've seen this story before."~Maynard James Keenan
entropy51
Gone, but not forgotten

Posts: 1612
Registered: 30-5-2009
Member Is Offline

Mood: Fissile

 Quote: ...the mexican cartels have like 3 or 4 people in the forbes billionare...

I just read that the Mexican government had seized something like 30 tons IIRC of precursors. So the scale of that problem is indeed huge.
mr.crow
International Hazard

Posts: 841
Registered: 9-9-2009
Member Is Offline

Mood: 0xFF

The small scale addict operated labs are the most dangerous for the community, law enforcement and the chemistry hobby. Smurfing is also done on a huge scale for so called super labs http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs36/36407/index.htm they have a 5 gallon bucket of pills

I think they should ban single ingredient pseudoephedrine and just sell it in combination with other drugs to treat colds. Cooks aren't going to bother separating 500mg of acetaminophen from 60mg of pseudo because of the losses.
JohnWW
International Hazard

Posts: 2849
Registered: 27-7-2004
Location: New Zealand
Member Is Offline

Yes, I heard that utterly STUPID and dictatorial announcement by the right-wing New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, in the local news media yesterday, about making decongestant pills containing pseudoephedrine available only on pre$cription at a greatly increased co$t to chronic allergic rhinitis sufferers like myself, with a view to banning them entirely. I find that the over-the-counter pharmaceutical alternatives to it, such as phenylephrine and paracetamol (acetaminophen), are practically useless. I intend emailing all New Zealand Members Of Parliament, asking them to oppose Key's madness.

Key was just "grandstanding", in a bid to (so he thinks) win cheap votes by playing the "law 'n' order" card, which is hard for political opponents to buck because of the "peer pressure" that is brought upon New Zealand Members of Parliament to appear to be "tough on crime", and (despite recent courtroom disclosures of rampant corruption in their ranks such as the Bain and Haig and Dougherty cases) pro-Pig. If he really thinks that he is going to fool people by this means, making essential medications hard to come by in the process, and by such related things as promising more and more (thoroughly corrupt) NZ Pigs and harsher and harsher jail sentences, he is deluding himself. Key's jackbooted and ham-fisted NZ National (Nazi) Party got into power by fraud and deceit, and it will be booted out in the next election in 2011, if not before.

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoephedrine (which is also known as (+)-pseudoephedrine and D-pseudoephedrine or (1S,2S)-2-methylamino-1-phenylpropan-1-ol), its optical isomer, L-Pseudoephedrine, also known as (-)-(1R,2R)-pseudoephedrine or (-)-pseudoephedrine, has less unwanted side-effects, cannot be used to synthesize D-methamphetamine, yet it has the same decongestant effect; but Pfizer-Warner-Lambert, which holds the patent for it, has not (yet) sought approval to sell it to the public as a legal medicine in any country. However, this will be taken out of their hands in less than 20 years, when their patent expires.

And what about ephedrine (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephedrine ) , of which pseudoephedrine is a diastereomer, but which did not seem to have been mentioned in the above news item along with pseudoephedrine? However, it was mentioned in the internet release http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/regulatory/Guideline/ephedrineAnd... . The enantiomer which is marketed is (-)-(1R,2S)-ephedrine. It has the same medical use, although possibly not quite as effective, but can also be used for making D-methamphetamine ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methamphetamine ), the enantiomer used by drug addicts.

Another reason why making pseudoephedrine prescription-only or banning it will be futile is that most of the stuff used locally by drug cooks (mostly working for gangs) to make methamphetamine does not come from ordinary "cold and 'flu" tablets, but is (at least 70%) imported, often in bulk in pure powder form, by smugglers, mostly from China where (along with ephedrine) it is manufactured on a very large scale and is perfectly legal to possess. The stuff can be easily disguised or concealed, and drug-sniffing dogs used by NZ Customs seem to be unable to detect it. Besides, there are other substituted amphetamine derivatives besides methamphetamine which can be used by addicts to obtain "highs", and these may be synthesizable by different methods.

It looks as if I will have to look at making my own pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, to treat my rhinitis. As yet, their possession and manufacture does not seem to be illegal in New Zealand, except possibly that possession of large (non-prescription) quantities of them may become contrary to the Medicines Act (as distinct from the [Alleged] Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, passed in that year due to a gullible Labor Govt being deceived by the NZ Pigs), if they became prescription-only. Can anyone think of efficient and cost-effective methods of making them?

Ephedrine occurs naturally in Ephedra species plants, which are used in Chinese herbal medicine, but they are somewhat difficult to grow. In China, firms producing it for export extract US$13 million worth of ephedrine from 30,000 tons of ephedra annually, 10 times the amount that is used in traditional Chinese medicine, - which suggests that the stuff is cheaper to grow instead of synthesize. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephedra , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephedraceae , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephedra_sinica , and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephedra_distachya . [Edited on 10-10-09 by JohnWW] entropy51 Gone, but not forgotten Posts: 1612 Registered: 30-5-2009 Member Is Offline Mood: Fissile  Quote: ....pseudoephedrine available only on pre$cription at a greatly increased co$t to chronic allergic rhinitis sufferers like myself, with a view to banning them entirely. I find that the over-the-counter pharmaceutical alternatives to it, such as phenylephrine and paracetamol, are practically useless OTC non-sedating antihistamines such as Claritin work much better, JohnWW. watson.fawkes International Hazard Posts: 2793 Registered: 16-8-2008 Member Is Offline Cheap meth makes industrial waste There's a solid reason to disallow cheap meth production that has nothing to do with a larger policy of drug prohibition, and that's the issue of industrial waste. Incompetent cooks don't clean up after themselves, as a rule, have poor yields, and leave behind a cocktail of toxicity that's astonishingly expensive to clean up. I have a friend in town who's done this work. He told me about a property that was just a complete disaster. I'm sure I'm going to get details wrong, but here's the jist. The original owner had a tenant that operated a cook house. That owner abandoned the mortgage. The bank made a cursory cleanup, before they knew the extent of the damage, put up a second layer of drywall over all the existing surfaces. The bank sold it to a public housing agency that was operating as rent-subsidized unit. A few months in, they had a vacant unit with toxicity level too high for habitation. My friend was in there taking out two layers of drywall, in the summer, in a hazmat suit. I think they even replaced the subfloor. I don't know how the liability ended up falling, but it doesn't matter for the purpose of this story. What matters is that there was a dead economic loss of something in the low six figures (USD), barely better than scraping the house off the lot and rebuilding. This cost is an externalized cost of cheap meth production. The perpetrators of the property damage don't have assets to recover, so it's impossible to hold them economically responsible. Therefore, while this was not the original motivation for criminalizing small-scale synthesis, it has become a reason for continuing it. If you're interested in changing the policy about synthesis, this is a fact that has to be dealt with, and by some method other than "let it happen". From a purely political point of view, there's a class of people that don't want such property damage to happen, even if they don't care about the drug issue as such. This is a real problem for figuring out what to do. Going after small-scale manufacturers has only resulted in concentrations in large-scale ones, which have all the problems of militarization and corrupting governments. Surely, since it seems inevitable that the supply will always be there, it's better to have small-scale manufacturers than large ones. The problem is how you enable this without, at the same time, promoting an increase in this kind of property damage. What seems certain is that the answer is going to involve some kind of license, some kind of monitoring, and some kind of zoning or facilities inspection. My advice to the people here that want to change this policy is to come up with some solid policy ideas about how to license, monitor, and inspect in a manner that's least intrusive. The problem, as I see it, needs to deal with external interests to a property. The three most common such interests are neighbors, mortgage holders, and insurers. Each has a legitimate concern about toxicity. Dealing with these interests holds the key to figuring out what to do. 497 International Hazard Posts: 778 Registered: 6-10-2007 Member Is Offline Mood: HSbF6 Trying not to be too OT here, but I'm curious what exactly the property was contaminated with? Like solvents or what? Magpie lab constructor Posts: 4336 Registered: 1-11-2003 Location: USA Member Is Offline Mood: pumped I have always argued (tongue-in-cheek) that these meth cooks could really benefit from some classes in organic chemistry.  Quote: Trying not to be too OT here, but I'm curious what exactly the property was contaminated with? Like solvents or what? This is something I've always wondered about also. The cleanup crews go in in moon suits and spend thousands of taxpayer dollar$ cleaning up a meth lab. How is their contamination so different than what you and I would leave if we didn't clean up properly?

Knowing that I can buy good quality NaOH, HCl, and H2SO4 locally gives me great peace of mind.
497
International Hazard

Posts: 778
Registered: 6-10-2007
Member Is Offline

Mood: HSbF6

 Quote: How is their contamination so different than what you and I would leave if we didn't clean up properly?

I doubt it is, in most cases.. Besides maybe being in larger quantity. But it seems they have to take everything extremely carefully, no matter how inconsequential it may be in reality. They don't actually know what's there, so I'm sure they assume the worst. And when they do, they're probably looking at MSDS's after all (shudder...) And why shouldn't they take every possible (extremely expensive) precaution when they have been given a blank check to clean it up?..
psychokinetic
International Hazard

Posts: 558
Registered: 30-8-2009
Location: Nouveau Sheepelande.
Member Is Offline

Mood: Constantly missing equilibrium

 Quote: Originally posted by Twospoons Here its changing from "ID and sign" to "prescription only", meaning doctors' waiting rooms full of people with sniffles. The biggest source for the cooks here is pure pseudo thats smuggled in, not over-the-counter cold remedies, so the changes were always going to be rather ineffectual.

“If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search.
I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.”
-Tesla
zed
International Hazard

Posts: 901
Registered: 6-9-2008
Location: Great State of Jefferson, City of Portland
Member Is Offline

Mood: Semi-repentant Sith Lord

Lots of ways to make Methamphetamine. It would be quite difficult to prevent a skilled and motivated Chemist from making it. Most, simply choose not to do so.

Currently, Mexican Organized Crime is reputed to produce most of the Meth, that is distributed in the US. These boys buy ephedrine and pseudoephedrine by the ton in Asia and India, and they then have it shipped into Mexico......Where they control some of the local governments.

Unfortunately, during the last generation or so, several very simple methods have been developed for converting ephedrines to methamphetamine. The methods are not hard to utilize, and common criminals with a little training, can pull off the transformation.

Bingo! Suddenly, after generations of relatively low supply, Meth is once again abundantly available.

Great high. Lots of fun. Exhilarating. Kills you, or completely screws you up, if you use too much of it. And, generally speaking, folks that like it, and have easy access to it.....Always use too much of it.

Nasty business. The old scourge has returned.
Mossydie
National Hazard

Posts: 312
Registered: 15-5-2009
Member Is Offline

Mood: Nitrated

Beyond the economic problems, surely there's an argument that the government should do everything in its power to eradicate Meth production on moral grounds?
entropy51
Gone, but not forgotten

Posts: 1612
Registered: 30-5-2009
Member Is Offline

Mood: Fissile

 Quote: Originally posted by Magpie This is something I've always wondered about also. The cleanup crews go in in moon suits and spend thousands of taxpayer dollar\$ cleaning up a meth lab. How is their contamination so different than what you and I would leave if we didn't clean up properly?

They essentially consider any detectable traces of product on surfaces as a deadly poison, and there are usually tests for Pb or Hg if one of those processes had been used.

One state's cleanup standard is here
watson.fawkes
International Hazard

Posts: 2793
Registered: 16-8-2008
Member Is Offline

 Quote: Originally posted by 497 Trying not to be too OT here, but I'm curious what exactly the property was contaminated with? Like solvents or what?
Unfortunately, I don't know. My friend was just doing cleanup, which means, in this case, interior demolition. I don't think they told him exactly.

I do have the impression, though, that the solvents aren't the problematic contaminants. If I were pressed to guess, I'd say that there were some organo-phosphorus byproducts that were the real problem. Whatever it is, it seems to form hot, go into vapor, exit the reaction vessel, and absorb into the room surfaces. This model should give a ballpark figure for molecular weights.
watson.fawkes
International Hazard

Posts: 2793
Registered: 16-8-2008
Member Is Offline

 Quote: Originally posted by Mossydie Beyond the economic problems, surely there's an argument that the government should do everything in its power to eradicate Meth production on moral grounds?
There are other arguments, founded on the morality of avoiding tyranny, that the government should do nothing based on grounds of liberty and freedom. In other word, morality does not yield a unique political perspective.

The trade-offs between these two poles are the veritable substance of political debate, which would, indeed be out of bounds for this forum. I won't argue either side here.
watson.fawkes
International Hazard

Posts: 2793
Registered: 16-8-2008
Member Is Offline

Contamination is not a phantasm

Several people have brought up the over-zealousness of clean-up as a way of diminishing the problem of contamination. Instruments, however, are not the initial detectors of contamination. Humans are. The typical pattern is that a cook operation moves out, the landlord doesn't know (or turns a blind eye) and rents out the property to an ignorant tenant. The tenant gets ill within months. (The much less typical pattern is that a cook house gets busted.) At this point the landlord has initial liability to the tenants, and it's this liability which is the origin of the economic losses. Now "ill within months" is a huge level of contamination, far above any kind of permissible exposure level in an industrial context.

Where contamination levels do come into play is the amount of effort that goes into clean up. In the typical case, these figures do not enter into the decision about whether to clean up or not. So the economic measure of over-zealous standards is the difference between two clean up projects. This difference is modest. Once you need to clean up, cleaning up a little more extensively is not a lot of money on top of what you'd have to do anyway.
entropy51
Gone, but not forgotten

Posts: 1612
Registered: 30-5-2009
Member Is Offline

Mood: Fissile