This online audio podcast from the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) "Just Science" series is an interview with Dr. Jarrad Wagner from Oklahoma State University regarding his research team's study of the feasibility of detecting methamphetamine clandestine laboratories by monitoring waste water effluents.
The priority of such research stems from the One Pot methamphetamine production method having become the primary method of choice used by clandestine drug laboratories across the United States. The appeal of this method is its simplicity and the availability of required materials; however, it poses the risks of flammability and toxicity to those in the vicinity of the clandestine lab. The research conducted by Dr. Wagner's team indicates the possibility and potential for analyzing waste water to monitor and detect clandestine One Pot methamphetamine labs in a community. The project produced methamphetamine using the One Pot method, and the methamphetamine hydrochloride product was filtered out. The remaining materials were introduced into a local waste water system in a controlled setting, simulating the disposal of unwanted production products of the One Pot method. Water samples were collected after the distribution to determine a time course. The waste water was analyzed using solid phase extraction with liquid chromatograph-tandem mass spectrometry. Methamphetamine, pseudoephedrine, and ephedrine were detectable in the waste water. Also, an over-reduced product characteristic of the One Pot synthesis, CMP [1-(1',4'-Cyclohexadienyl)-2-methyl-amino propane] was detected.