North Texas Daily

Breaking down “Breaking Bad”

Breaking down “Breaking Bad”

Breaking down “Breaking Bad”
August 29
09:50 2013

Christina Ulsh / Senior Staff Writer

Whether you have lung cancer or are just bored, making methamphetamine is a good way to awaken your dull daily routine. Not really. However, we can be entertained and live vicariously (and safely) through Walter White’s meth adventures in the final season of Breaking Bad, AMC’s critically acclaimed TV drama series, which started Aug. 11.

The show, which debuted in 2008, has been nominated for more than 100 industry awards, winning three Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for its star, Bryan Cranston, among others.

If you’re still considering cooking meth as a hobby, be forewarned: it’s not as simple as the show leads you to believe.

“If organic chemistry is not a basic science to you, you’re not going to be able to understand meth making,” said Charles Peterson, UNT doctoral graduate and research assistant.

Starting off with cold medicine, you will have to extract the ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, according to

You will mix your pure powder with red phosphorous and hydriodic acid. Then you filter out the phosphorous and neutralize the leftover acid with lye.

From there, you bind, drain, bubble, pour, filter, dry and mix your chemicals to get the product.

Regulation of over-the-counter drugs has made it more difficult to obtain large quantities of these cold medicines and has lessened the frequency of “mom and pop” meth labs, Drug Enforcement Administration agent Terri Wyatt said.

Thus, meth typically comes from superlabs in Mexico.

Step one is already compromised, unless you had plans to join forces with the large labs south of the border.

Step two and beyond have the complications of obtaining chemicals that are not readily available in over-the-counter drugs, safely combining them without combustion or production of toxic fumes and somehow extracting the chemicals you no longer need.

“Some of the chemicals are very volatile, some of them are very caustic,” said Lt. Jeff Davis, supervisor of the Denton County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit.

Plus, being caught with as little as 5 grams of pure meth or 50 grams of a meth mixture could land you in prison for a minimum of five years without parole, according to the Families Against Mandatory Minimums website.

Consuming your home-cooked meth meal will not satisfy your hunger either.

“Methamphetamine is a poison. It’s not a pharmaceutical drug. It’s a poison,” Davis said. “Even if you’re doing it right, you’re still injuring yourself.”

Last year there were several meth lab busts in the North Texas area, but this year there haven’t been any, he said.

“Oklahoma’s getting eaten up with them, but we’re not seeing them. We get old trash, but no active labs,” Davis said.

The number of clandestine meth lab incidents in Texas went down from 86 in 2011 to 32 in 2012, according to the DEA’s website.

To get your legal and harmless meth fix, tune to “Breaking Bad” at 8 p.m. Sundays on AMC.

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