In our ethnographic study on methamphetamine use in the suburbs we used qualitative methods that are particularly applicable for studies among hidden populations (Carlson et al., 2004; Lambert, Ashery, & Needle, 1995; Shaw, 2005; Small, Kerr, Charrette, Schechter, & Spittal, 2006). The data collection included: (a) participant observations (b) drug history and life history matrices, and (c) audio-recorded in-depth interviews. We spent at least 20 hours a week over the course of a year in the field to become familiar with the environment of the study population and to develop community contacts (Agar, 1973; Bourgois, 1995; Sterk-Elifson, 1993). A combination of targeted, snowball, and theoretical sampling methods were used to recruit respondents for the study (Strauss & Corbin, 1998; Watters & Biernacki, 1989). The typical method of establishing contact with methamphetamine users involved talking with people at public places, such as coffee houses, bars, clubs, grocery stores, tattoo shops, or other shopping areas. We gave our contact card to people who expressed interest and posted fliers in public areas and private establishments, with permission. Often, rapport was established with a potential respondent on the field and arrangements were made to meet for an interview. Otherwise, a user who heard or read about the study called our cell phone and arranged a meeting. At that time, we discussed the time commitment, interview process, confidentiality concerns, and $25 reimbursement they would receive for their participation. Oral consent was obtained before collecting information. A screening process was used to ensure that participants pass the eligibility criteria to participate in the study. Criteria included being age 18 or older and having used methamphetamine in the suburbs. No identifying material was collected. The research team consisted of the principal investigator and two trained research assistants. All were involved in the recruitment, interviewing and analysis for this paper.
I got caught shoplifting they found a baggie that had residue in it is what they said. They called it residue, and that was my first time ever being in jail longer than like three days. I was scared to death. My lawyer told me, she said look, you know there’s no chemical test for this so they can’t test it and tell you that it’s methamphetamine, but they’re going to say that it’s methamphetamine because of what it looks like. But at the same time though you can either spend like all this time going through all this stuff to find out that it is meth—and it was meth, at least it was my meth, what I called meth—or you can just plead out right now, get five years probation and have a felony on your record.
You have to prepare each individual ingredient to get it to where when you mix it together it will be right. When they use, like, gun blue or something, they have to light it on fire and melt down. They put iodine tincture in there and they have to, they have to fix it but they don’t cook all…It’s not being cooked when they’re making it. They might cook an individual ingredient over here to make and then they’ll put all the ingredients together. It’s still going to be cold. And once they get every ingredient together, they put the strings over it or they do whatever they’re going to do. (24-year-old current user)
The USDOJ website also reported that producers often mix different ingredients that are easily obtained to produce an ingredient that is highly regulated:
Recent research shows that while the number of “meth labs” seized has decreased since regulation of precursor ingredients, the number of methamphetamine users has not declined (Cohen, Sanyal, & Reed, 2007). An ethnographic study on methamphetamine production in the rural south reported that methods called “throw down batches” produced a poorer quality of methamphetamine with problematic health effects (Sexton et al., 2006). Our current ethnographic study supports these findings. According to the younger users, this new inexpensive and potentially more toxic form of methamphetamine has become normalized in their drug networks. The risks associated with the use of this form of methamphetamine, called string dope, are not yet known or well-documented.
As more of our respondents referenced the cold cook method of producing methamphetamine we began our field trial investigation to distinguish the legitimacy of their claims. Our previous understanding on methamphetamine production involved processes requiring a viable heat source and having the potential of violent explosions, as well as the dispersion of noxious chemicals. The environmental dangers resulting from methamphetamine laboratories (“meth-labs”) have lead to increased public health concern (Connell-Carrick, 2007; Hannan, 2005).
Urban legends and myths are prevalent in drug-use environments. However, the distinction between myth and fact is not always clear. We found contradictory claims regarding the emergence of cold cook methods for producing methamphetamine when contrasting user-generated reports with official reports repudiating such methods as myths. Our aim is to open the topic for more academic discussion.
It appeared that this cold cook method was an attempt to obtain precursors needed for methamphetamine production. Sources for new precursors were on high demand in the U.S. since the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act (CMEA) of 2005. While the majority of states passed laws curtailing the sale of some precursors, the restrictions varied by state (Goetz, 2007). The CMEA was incorporated into the Patriot Act and was enacted at the federal level on March 9, 2006. Under this Act, over-the-counter products containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine are subject to strict purchasing regulations (DEA, 2006). Furthermore, all retail distributors of chemicals specified in the Act must keep records of purchaser information and undergo a self-certification on retail protocol. These “anti-meth” provisions introduce safeguards to make certain ingredients used in methamphetamine manufacturing are more difficult to obtain in bulk and easier for law enforcement to track (Bren, 2006).
Another Internet search using the term “string dope” resulted in a number of links to additional cold cook recipes: “String Dope is generally cooked using activated charcoal, gun bluing, and sudsless ammonia in an airtight cooler, where the methamphetamines will grow on unwaxed strings like stalactites over a period of 14–31 days” (retrieved 15 November, 2008 from http://www.urbandictionary.com/). A similar recipe posted on another blog claimed that string dope made with gun bluing was not methamphetamine; however, “its effects are supposed to be physiologically identical to meth, but the substance will not test as meth.” This prompted another blogger to respond: “this recipe is all a bunch of crap; even the DEA knows it” (posted July 18, 2007, retrieved from http://gideonsguardians.blogspot.com on July 15, 2008).
Cold Cook Methods: An Ethnographic Exploration on the Myths of Methamphetamine Production and Policy Implications Miriam W. Boeri Kennesaw State University David Gibson Kennesaw State
The man who reinvented meth – Chapter 2
(Photo: News-Leader illustration by Mark Marturello)
Lisa said her father’s health issues worsened during the final years of his life, and that he appeared to be struggling with dementia at times. In what would end up being her last conversation with her father, he talked about his will.
Leslie King, head of the Forensic Science Service’s Drugs Intelligence Laboratory, wrote Dal Cason in October 1996, and said he failed to find a patent for the technique Paillet used.
Why does all this matter? Words stir emotion. Dan Viets — a defense attorney based in Columbia, Missouri — told the News-Leader that, by the late 1990s, prosecutors were brandishing the Nazi method moniker “as a weapon” in front of juries, taking advantage of the average person’s extreme dislike of Nazis.
Meth can cause increased heart rate and blood pressure, tremors and convulsions and — particularly with repeated use — depression and motor and cognitive failure. Users also tend to not sleep for extended periods, which leads to additional detrimental effects.
“When I got here, it was the beginning of the spike in meth labs,” he said.
In an interview, Console said that meth labs back then were primarily located in out-of-the-way, rural areas, so the rotten egg smell produced during a cook wouldn’t give the operation away. They were full of glassware, not unlike a scene from the hit TV series “Breaking Bad.” The labs churned out batches of the drug measured in pounds.
Despite Paillet’s pioneering role in an American drug epidemic, relatively little has been known about him. In the later years of his life, he appears to have avoided public scrutiny, as well as further trouble with the law. He died in Texas, age 72, on Jan. 1, 2016.
Dr. Thomas Pirotte with CoxHealth’s Center for Addictions discusses meth’s impact on the body, from an adrenaline rush and hypersexuality to memory loss and meth mouth.
Bob Paillet's "Nazi method" swept across the country. Until now, we hardly knew anything about him.