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Uncle Fester - The Father of Home Cooked Methamphetamine
If Albert Hofmann was the "Father Of LSD," it's probably appropriate to call Steve Preisler the "Father Of Modern Meth-Making." "Uncle Fester" is the pseudonym, or "pen name," used by Steve Preisler to write his books. In the early 1980's, he gained cult status after publishing his first book "Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacture."
It's believe he got his nickname "Uncle Fester" during his college years, where he gained a reputation for producing explosives and blowing things up, much like the hapless "Uncle Fester" character in The Addams Family, played by actor Jackie Coogan.
Preisler graduated in 1981 from Marquette University with a Chemistry & Biology degree. Two years later,
he was arrested for methamphetamine possession and was sentenced to probation.
He was arrested again in 1984 for methamphetamine charges, and put in the Waupun Correctional Institution. He says that the arrest was over a few grams of methamphetamine, but the DEA brought back credit card information saying that he had been buying large quantities of ephedrine, which is a precursor for methamphetamine.
Outraged, Preisler borrowed a typewriter from a fellow inmate, and began writing the manuscript for "Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacture." Loompanics Unlimited published the book, and it was an instant success and now in its Seventh edition. It was one of Loompanics' best sellers.
We're not going to go into what the book details how to do, or what other books Preisler has written, because frankly, we don't want to facilitate the making of meth, and some of his other titles make cooking meth seem innocent by comparison. Suffice to say, it's an example that if anyone wants to make meth, or for that matter, engage in any other really
dangerous activities, "how-to's" are freely available in both print and on the Net.
The Methamphetamine Genie Is Out Of The Bottle
So during the 1980's
, an increasing number of illegal, makeshift methamphetamine
laboratories began appearing in rural communities on the west coast of the U.S. In
1980, amphetamine's key chemical, Phenyl-2-propanone, is put under federal control.
However, as one end of the teeter-totter goes down, another goes up. The meth
"cooks" who were producing the drug for West Coast motorcycle gangs discover that
"ephedrine" and "pseudoephedrine" (ingredients found in over-the-counter cold
remedies) produces meth
amphetamine which as it's discovered, is at least twice as
Mexican drug runners begin supplying ephedrine to the people cooking meth for the biker gangs. Within a few years, Jesus and Luis Amezcua, Mexican cocaine traffickers, become top meth dealers. During one 18-month period in the early 1990s, the Amezcua brothers purchased 170 tons of ephedrine from the nine factories and shipped it into the United States, where it was turned into two billion hits of meth
. The meth on America's streets was suddenly cheap, plentiful, and most important, remarkably pure. Accordingly, the meth addiction rate skyrocketed, creating the first great spike of American meth abuse.
Chemical Trafficking and Diversion Act of 1988
In the latter part of the 80's, home meth labs continue to proliferate throughout the West
Coast where cooks make the drug from household products such as paint thinner,
acetone, and battery acid. It was then that a further attempt to diminish the production
of methamphetamine was introduced which was the Chemical Trafficking and Diversion
Act of 1988
. This legislation required wholesalers to document and record imports and
exports of some of methamphetamine’s chemical "precursors."
Precursors are substances that in nature, might be inactive, but when combined with another chemical the result is a new "active" product. Methamphetamine starts with an inactive, or marginally-inactive compound (ephedrine or pseudoephedrine) and then other chemicals are introduced to produce the finished drug. Other meth precursors include phenyl acetic acid, benzyl cyanide, and benzyl chloride. (A complete list is outlined in other sections of our meth examination.)
From the mid 1990's to 2005, the numbers of small "mom and pop" meth labs exploded (no pun intended) in the U.S., as well as other "hot-spots" internationally. With recent legislation restricting small retail sales of products containing meth precursors, the number of small amateur labs has gone way down. However, the amount of meth actually available on the street has gone up in most areas because as the number of small labs went down, the number of domestic "superlabs" went up, as well as the
amount of imported meth. By 1992
, "Ice" or "Crystal Meth" had entered the
methamphetamine lexicon and it's more readily available today in 2007, than it ever
In particular, the continued availability of precursor chemicals in Mexico and Canada has recently increased the level of illicit production there, and increasing amounts of purer more potent methamphetamine and its precursors are now smuggled into the United States from both countries.
In fact, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police established a program here in Canada called The National Precursor Chemical Diversion Program, specifically to address this issue. And recently China, which has supplied many of the pseudoephedrine products to Mexico, has agreed to share information with the United States and will no longer send the products to Mexico unless Mexico can certify that the recipients are legitimate.
Well that's the theory anyway. But let's be realistic - we're talking about a drug that can make tens of millions for people in a matter of months. Dealing with countries such as Mexico and China on any issue is an art form in itself, and getting these countries to "toe the line" on drugs is probably wishful thinking.
Despite the increasing attention on Mexico right now, there's little question that countries such as India, China and even North Korea are going to play a major role in the methamphetamine equation over the next few years. We take a closer look at that further along in this examination of methamphetamine within the next section "How And Where Meth Is Manufactured."
Some drug manufacturers have responded to the precursor chemical problem, most notably Pfizer. Pfizer's reformulated Sudafed product is called Sudafed PE, and is made with phenylephrine instead of pseudoephedrine. Phenylephrine cannot
be used as a precursor chemical for making methamphetamine.
However, other manufacturers of products containing pseudoephedrine have not yet found replacements for their products by using phenylephrine. For example, Schering-Plough Pharmaceutical Company currently has no phenylephrine product to substitute for its Claritin-D cold pill. (at least as of July 2006)
From what we are told, as a replacement for pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine is nothing close to being a perfect replacement. In fact, it's been reported that in a variety of clinical tests, it was no more effective than a placebo. You'll have to take it more often and in much larger doses from what we understand. From what we are told, at the FDA
recommended dose of 10 mg, only 38% of the dose reaches the systemic circulation, compared with 90% of a pseudoephedrine dose.
Additionally, many retailers in the U.S. have just decided to abandon selling products containing meth precursors because they feel the profit made on the products does not justify the work in keep log books and complying with federal law.
Well-known users and abusers of amphetamines include Charlie Parker (jazz musician) Anthony Eden (British Prime Minister during the Suez crisis) Judy Garland (iconoclastic entertainer) Lenny Bruce (one of the original "blue" standup comedians,) Adolph Hitler (German dictator and general nut-bar.) It's also said that "beat" author Jack Kerouac wrote his seminal book "On The Road" under the influence of amphetamines and he wrote it in twenty-one days on a single scroll of paper
. (sounds like typical speed behavior to us!) John F. Kennedy also received frequent injections of Benzedrine for his back, particularly during The Cuban Missile Crisis, when the world literally stood on the brink of nuclear war.
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