You’ve finally done it! You’ve stepped out of the rental market and you are a heartbeat away from purchasing your first home. The location is amazing, the building and pest inspection came back all clear, and the corner café makes the BEST coffee! All in all, you are feeling positive about your big purchase. But before you sign on the dotted line, have you considered checking to see if your ‘dream home’ was once used as a meth lab?
What is meth?
Meth is the abbreviation for methamphetamine, and is known to you and me as speed, crystal meth, or these days – ice.
These illegal drugs are ‘cooked’ in meth labs, using a serious cocktail of vastly available chemicals and over-the-counter medications (such as pseudoephedrine) that can be poisonous, flammable, and explosive if not handled properly.
What are the stats?
Meth is now the most commonly used illicit drug according to the 2018 Australian National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program Report.
Many of us believe drug dealers and meth labs only exist in derelict buildings, in ‘unsafe’ suburbs; nowhere near our own. This is far from the truth. Last year, the Australian Crime Commission reported that police busted 744 meth labs across Australia.
In the latest Australian Institute of Criminology’s Illicit Drug Data Report it was found that Queensland has the highest incidence of meth labs nationally. The report also looked into the size and capacity of these labs and found that 49.5% of the labs nationally were addict based; meaning people who were addicted to the drug were cooking it at home, or in a residential location.
Are there any visual signs a property has once been used as a meth lab?
Once a house has been exposed to meth, the invisible and odourless particles stick to surfaces. Walls, floors and even insulation can be contaminated. A property that has been exposed to meth is especially dangerous for young children who tend to put their hands in their mouths after crawling around or playing with toys on the floor.
Flinders University professor Dr Jackie Wright said health effects associated with living in a former meth lab include headaches, dizziness, skin problems, eye and throat irritation, a persistent cough and sleeping difficulties.
“It is also associated with headaches and feeling dizzy but also, particularly for kids, you tend to see some behavioural changes being problematic, including becoming inattentive, some kids become aggressive in that sort of situation, there’s a whole range or effects we’re seeing in people living in those sorts of properties,” she said.
How do you find out if the property you are about to buy was once a meth lab?
With permission from the home owners, jump on google and book a professional meth testing inspector. Alternatively, you can purchase your own meth testing kit, which are inexpensive with fast results. Not only will you feel good that your new home is everything you’ve ever dreamed of, but you’ll have peace of mind that your family will be safe.