Never once not in any TDG/Hazmat or GHS or WHMIS 2015 class will any instructor bring up the use of NARCOTICS and THEFT risks of chemical in Class! And in law enforcement it is seldom brought up not unless you are Narcotics officer, and Occupational Health and Safety will say were they trained, trained in what, chemicals or narcotic detection and prevention!
But wait even Health Canada in June 2016, ( you know the agency that talks about WHMIS2015) is talking about and is concerned about this topic. The diversion of controlled substances and precursor chemicals frequently used in the production of illegal drugs is a worldwide problem that requires a global solution. Health Canada is an active team player in the fight to control the illicit use of these controlled substances and precursor chemicals.
Health Canada’s Role
- Develop regulations for the import, export, production, distribution, possession and sale of controlled substances and precursor chemicals,
- Administer legislation and activities related to controlled drugs and substances through the Office of Controlled Substances,
- Work in collaboration with Canadian and international stakeholders to ensure that controlled substances and precursor chemicals are handled effectively and remain in legal distribution channels, and
- Analyze, through the Drug Analysis Service, suspected illegal drugs that are seized by Canadian police forces (RCMP, provincial, regional and municipal) and Canada Customs.
What Are Controlled Substances?
A controlled substance is any type of drug that the federal government has categorized as having a higher-than-average potential for abuse or addiction. Such drugs are divided into categories based on their potential for abuse or addiction. Controlled substances range from illegal street drugs to prescription medications.
Even the United Nations is weighting down on precursors and chemicals frequently used in the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. You remember the United Nations in your safety training they are the folks that brought you GHS and TDG standards world! The CND is the central policy-making body within the U.N. system dealing with drug-related matters. The INCB is a quasi-judicial independent body that monitors the implementation of the three U.N. international drug control conventions. The harmless desire of man which commenced as a curious pursuit to explore and then synthesize certain hidden treasures of Mother Nature consisting of strange chemical compositions, which she herself produces niggardly has today gained monstrous propositions. It has become a curse spoiling generations and crippling nations. The illicit production, trafficking, consumption and abuse of drugs is a major global challenge eating into the fabrics of society, fuelling divisions along ethnic and religious lines, violating values of human dignity, harbouring crime and creating psychological wrecks. It spreads senseless violence, damaging fragile economy of developing nations, creating a climate of hate, fear and mistrust between neighbouring countries and last but not the least providing skeletal financial seamless support to transcontinental terrorism termed aptly as “Narcoterrorism”
“Precursor” and “essential” chemicals play two critical roles in the production of illegal drugs: as compounds required in the production of synthetic drugs or as refining agents and solvents for processing plant-based materials such as coca into cocaine and opium poppy into heroin. Chemicals used in synthetic drug production are known as “precursor” chemicals because they are incorporated into the drug product and are less likely to be substituted by other chemicals. Chemicals used to refine and process plant-based drugs are referred to as “essential” or “precursor” chemicals and can be readily replaced by other chemicals with similar properties. Drug “cooks” have little regard for themselves or the welfare and safety of the community.
Because of the mix of precursor chemicals and substances used in drug production, drug lab sites have been known to cause explosions, flash burns, fires (including house fires), toxic fumes, poisonous gases, damage to the environment, injury to members of the community and even death.
Exposure to the toxic by-products of these substances can cause immediate harm and can be life threatening. Prolonged exposure to chemicals used in drug labs may contribute to serious long term health issues (including brain, liver and kidney damage and cancer).
The location of drug labs in highly built-up and residential areas is always a concern for law enforcement and other government agencies. The waste produced from drug labs may also cause harm to the environment.
International efforts have long targeted the illicit diversion of the most common precursors for cocaine and heroin, potassium permanganate and acetic anhydride, respectively. The large licit market for these chemicals makes this a difficult task. For instance, diversion of less than one percent of worldwide licit commercial use of these chemicals would be sufficient to produce the world’s supply of heroin. Precursors can also be obtained from licit medicines as is the case for ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in finished cold medicine products.
Heroin. The main precursor chemical used to produce heroin is acetic anhydride, a substance that is also widely used in legitimate industry. Drug trafficking organizations continue to channel acetic anhydride to illicit producers through diversion, or smuggling. With increased heroin consumption in and trafficking to the United States, as well as continuing production in Afghanistan, the United States has expanded its cooperative efforts to target acetic anhydride diversion and smuggling.
Methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is produced using a variety of methods, but most require one or more of the following precursor chemicals; pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, pharmaceutical products containing these chemicals, phenyl-2-propanone (P-2-P), and phenylacetic acid. As these precursor chemicals have become more difficult to obtain due to increased diversion controls, traffickers have started using other chemicals, or seeking non-controlled pre-precursor chemicals or esters, and derivatives of phenylacetic acid to produce the precursor chemicals necessary for methamphetamine production. New production methods have also emerged. Traffickers, particularly in Europe, began using a pre-precursor, APAAN, or alpha-phenylacetoacetonitrile.
Cocaine. Potassium permanganate, an oxidizer, is the primary chemical used to remove the impurities from cocaine base. It has many legitimate industrial uses, including waste water treatment, disinfectant, and deodorizer. Potassium permanganate also can be combined with pseudoephedrine to produce methcathinone, a synthetic stimulant that is a controlled substance.
They could well be consumer products also
Increasingly, drug traffickers use chemicals that are not controlled under the convention or the domestic laws of the source or importing country. They exploit countries that have limited enforcement and regulatory capacity. International cooperation against chemical diversion has also pushed trafficking groups to exploit domestic industry in a significant way. Traffickers continue to obtain chemicals produced in the country where illicit drugs are produced, thereby escaping international monitoring, surveillance, and interdiction efforts.
Canada’s “Controlled Drugs and Substances Act” (CDSA) and its regulations provide a legislative framework for the control of chemical precursors. Scheduling of substances under the CDSA and its regulations provides law enforcement agencies with the authority to take action against activities that are not in accordance with the law. These instruments also authorize Health Canada to communicate information collected to law enforcement agencies, border control officers, foreign competent authorities and the INCB if necessary.
Methamphetamine, or crystal meth, is an illegal drug – a Class II controlled substance. It belongs to a group of stimulants known as amphetamines and it has psychoactive properties. It has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Common short term effects of using meth include: an intense high, elevated levels of energy and focus, euphoria, and loss of appetite. Long term effects include: insomnia, paranoia, agitation, irritability, signs of schizophrenia, tooth decay, weight loss, and cardiovascular damage. because of the tremendous risks associated with methamphetamine consumption and production and because, unlike cocaine and heroin, there is no drug crop to eradicate since methamphetamine is a completely synthetic drug. The chemicals used in methamphetamine production are pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and pharmaceutical preparations containing these substances (commonly known as “combination products”). Additionally, producers have developed chemicals similar to these products– called analogues – in an effort to evade chemical control laws.
The following, often in combination, may indicate the presence of a methamphetamine laboratory and the product noted are TDG regulated:
· Unusual odors (ether, ammonia, acetone, or other chemicals)
· Excessive amounts of trash, particularly chemical containers, coffee filters or pieces of cloth that are stained red, and duct tape rolls
· Curtains always drawn or windows covered with aluminum foil or blackened on residences, garages, sheds, or other structures
· Evidence of chemical waste or dumping
· Frequent visitors, particularly at unusual times
· Extensive security measures or attempts to ensure privacy (no trespassing or beware of dog signs, fences, large trees or shrubs)
· Secretive or unfriendly occupants
Safe handling and disposal of chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of drugs
These chemicals are designated as those that are used in the manufacture of the controlled substances.
1. Acetic anhydride
3. Benzyl chloride
4. Ethyl ether
5. Potassium permanganate
6. 2-Butanone (or Methyl Ethyl Ketone or MEK)
8. Hydrochloric acid (including anhydrous Hydrogen chloride)
9. Sulfuric acid
10. Methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK)
11. Sodium permanganate
Special Observation list chemicals to be watching of in thefts or transport are!
This includes supplements which contain a listed chemical, regardless of their dosage form or packaging and regardless of whether the chemical mixture, drug product or dietary supplement is exempt from regulatory controls.
· Ammonia gas
· Ammonium formate
· 1,1-Dichloro-1-fluoroethane (e.g. freon 141B)
· Diethylamine and its salts
· 2,5-Dimethoxyphenethylamine and its salts
· Formic acid
· Lithium metal
· Lithium aluminum hydride
· Magnesium metal (turnings)
· Mercuric chloride
· Organomagnesium halides (Grignard reagents) (e.g. ethylmagnesium bromide and phenylmagnesium bromide)
· Phenylethanolamine and its salts
· Phosphorus pentachloride
· Potassium dichromate
· Pyridine and its salts
· Sodium dichromate
· Sodium metal
· Thionyl chloride
· Trichloromonofluoromethane (e.g. freon-11, carrene-2)
· 1,1,2-Trichloro-1,2,2-trifluoroethane (e.g. freon 113)
What hazards are associated with them?
The chemicals used to produce methamphetamine are extremely hazardous. Some are highly volatile and may ignite or explode if mixed or stored improperly. Fire and explosion pose risks not only to the individuals producing the drug but also to anyone in the surrounding area, including children, neighbors, and passersby.
Even when fire or explosion does not occur, methamphetamine production is dangerous. Simply being exposed to the toxic chemicals used to produce the drug poses a variety of health risks, including intoxication, dizziness, nausea, disorientation, lack of coordination, pulmonary edema, serious respiratory problems, severe chemical burns, and damage to internal organs.
Inhalation. Inhaling chemical vapors and gases resulting from methamphetamine production causes shortness of breath, cough, and chest pain. Exposure to these vapors and gases may also cause intoxication, dizziness, nausea, disorientation, lack of coordination, pulmonary edema, chemical pneumonitis, and other serious respiratory problems when absorbed into the body through the lungs.
Skin Contact. The chemicals used to produce methamphetamine may cause serious burns if they come into contact with the skin.
Ingestion. Toxic chemicals can be ingested either by consuming contaminated food or beverages or by inadvertently consuming the chemicals directly. (Young children present at laboratory sites are at particular risk of ingesting chemicals.) Ingesting toxic chemicals–or methamphetamine itself–may result in potentially fatal poisoning, internal chemical burns, damage to organ function, and harm to neurological and immunologic functioning.
In addition, methamphetamine production threatens the environment. The average methamphetamine laboratory produces 5 to 7 pounds of toxic waste for every pound of methamphetamine produced. Operators often dispose of this waste improperly, simply by dumping it near the laboratory. This can cause contamination of the soil and nearby water supplies.
Methamphetamine Laboratory Hazards
Ingestion of doses greater than 240 mg causes hypertension, arrhythmia, anxiety, dizziness, and vomiting. Ingestion of doses greater than 600 mg can lead to renal failure and seizures.
Acetone/ ethyl alcohol
Extremely flammable, posing a fire risk in and around the laboratory. Inhalation or ingestion of these solvents causes severe gastric irritation, narcosis, or coma.
Inhalation can cause sudden cardiac arrest or severe lung damage. It is corrosive if ingested.
A colorless gas with a pungent, suffocating odor. Inhalation causes edema of the respiratory tract and asphyxia. Contact with vapors damages eyes and mucous membranes.
May explode as a result of contact or friction. Ignites if heated above 260° C. Vapor from ignited phosphorus severely irritates the nose, throat, lungs, and eyes.
Extremely dangerous substitute for red phosphorus. If overheated, deadly phosphine gas is released. Poses a serious fire and explosion hazard.
Extremely caustic to all body tissues. Reacts violently with water and poses a fire or explosion hazard.
A corrosive acid with vapors that are irritating to the respiratory system, eyes, and skin. If ingested, causes severe internal irritation and damage that may cause death.
Give off vapor that is irritating to respiratory system and eyes. Solid form irritates the eyes and may burn skin. If ingested, cause severe internal damage.
Ingestion of doses greater than 75 mg causes hypertension, arrhythmia, anxiety, and dizziness. Quantities greater than 300 mg can lead to renal failure, seizures, stroke, and death.
What can I do?
If you suspect that someone in your neighborhood is operating a methamphetamine laboratory, report your concerns to the local police department or sheriff’s office immediately. For your own safety, do not investigate the suspected laboratory or confront the occupants. In addition to the hazards discussed above, many laboratories are equipped with security devices or booby traps that could cause serious injuries or death.
Products Used in Methamphetamine Production
Alcohol (isopropyl or rubbing)
Anhydrous ammonia (fertilizer)
Ephedrine (cold medications)
Ether (engine starter)
Hydrochloric acid (pool supply)
Iodine (flakes or crystal)
Methanol (gasoline additive)
MSM (nutritional supplement)
Pseudoephedrine (cold medications)
Red phosphorus (matches or road flares)
Salt (table or rock)
Sodium hydroxide (lye)
Sulfuric acid (drain cleaner)
Toluene (brake cleaner)
Trichloroethane (gun cleaner)
Name a Precursor and Dangerous goods at the same time!
· N-acetylanthranilic acid
· anthranilic acid
· benzyl cyanide
· ephedrine and pseudoephedrine
· ergocristine, ergonovine and ergotamine
· safrole, isosafrole and 3,4-methylenedioxyphenylpropan-2-one
· MDMA, MDEA, MDA
· N-methylephedrine and N-methylpseudoephedrine
· N-phenethyl-4-piperidone (NPP)
· fentanyl and analogues
· norpseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine
· phenylacetic acid
· phencyclidine (PCP)
· piperonal (heliotropin)
· MDMA, MDEA, MDA
· propionic anhydride
· fentanyl and analogues
· acetic anhydride
· benzyl chloride
· hydriodic acid
· hypophosphorous acid
· red phosphorus and white phosphorus
· potassium permanganate
· sodium permanganate
· hydrochloric acid (hydrogen chloride)
· Fentanyl and analogues
· Phencyclidine (PCP)
· sulfuric acid
· diethyl ether
· Fentanyl and analogues
· Phencyclidine (PCP)
· methylethylketone (butanone) and methyl isobutyl ketone
· fentanyl and analogues
· phencyclidine (PCP)