Crystal Meth Ingredients and Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad is a critically-acclaimed AMC series which ran from January, 2008 to September, 2013. It featured a chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine manufacturer named Walter White. He discovers he has terminal cancer, and decides that he needs to earn extra money to take care of his family after he’s gone. He turns to an ex-student, Jesse Pinkman, to teach him the ropes. They go into business together, and because of his expertise in physics, he is able to manufacturer an extremely pure form of meth. Throughout the show’s five seasons, there are many references to crystal meth ingredients and meth-related chemicals.
The show presents the stark reality of drug trafficking and drug use, including meth and heroin. There are also references to the hypocrisy of the illegality of drugs versus alcohol. For example, White’s brother-in-law is a DEA and also a frequent alcohol abuser.
Crystal Meth Ingredients Referenced in Breaking Bad
One of the taken-from-real-life issues involves White and Pinkman’s efforts to obtain methylamine. Most meth manufacturing uses pseudoephedrine as an active ingredient. It is also commonly found in OTC cold medicines such as Sudafed. For this reason, in recent years laws regarding the sale of multiple quantities of such cold medicines have been made very strict.
Instead of using the usual techniques for making meth, the pair decide to go straight for the jugular and utilize large barrels of methylamine. In the show, they must go to great lengths to get said chemical. However, in real life, it’s not that hard to allocate.
In reality, methylamine is chemically similar to ammonia. For the purposes of this article, revealing the method of creating methylamine is not prudent or responsible. However, suffice to say that it can be created using a method which is not terribly complicated. Also, supplies that are not difficult to obtain.
The fact remains, however, that White and Pinkman are making meth in very, very large quantities. It is revealed in the show that buying that much product to make methylamine would garner suspicion. Therefore, they resort to stealing the chemical compound.
Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is a potentially destructive and toxic chemical compound that is sometimes used in crystal meth ingredients and manufacturing.
In a particularly disturbing scene, Pinkman uses this acid in attempt to accelerate the decomposition of a body. White tells Pinkman that HF can only be stored in plastic. However, he dumps the solution in a bathtub, and it ends up eating through the ceramic tub and metal, clear through the floor.
Mythbusters aired an episode on this. In their experiment, a pig was used, but nothing but drywall was fully dissolved. It turns out that the compound is weakened in water. However, HF is still very, very dangerous, and mere skin contact can result in burns, tissue damage, heart attack, and even death. As a gas, it damages lungs and eyes.
In reality sulfuric acid is much more potent and and a better method for dissolving flesh and soft materials, Frighteningly, it is also a common crystal meth ingredient.
Phosphine gas is another very dangerous and toxic fume which can be produced from crystal meth ingredients. In the show’s pilot, White uses his knowledge of physics to wield the entire meth cooking process as a weapon. Due to the highly volatile and explosive nature of meth manufacturing, he turns to red phosphorus and hydriodic acid to produce a chemical reduction in pseudoephedrine. This results in phosphine gas.
If inhaled, this gas can tear up the human respiratory system and quickly become life-threatening.
While not perfect, Breaking Bad at least somewhat accurately reveals much of the science behind meth making. It certainly does not sugar coat the process, and portrays meth manufacturing as an extremely dangerous occupation – for many reasons.
If you or someone you know is an addict, please seek help immediately.