Today’s World of Methamphetamine in Colorado and the Applicable Colorado Statutes and Regulations
Methamphetamine (“meth”) is relatively cheap to produce, highly addictive with long lasting effects. Meth creates a sense of euphoria with devastating physical and mental side effects. Meth can be ingested, smoked, injected or snorted and is addictive after one use.
In 2009, Colorado was ranked 8th in the nation for use of meth per capita, costing Colorado approximately 1.4 billion dollars, according to Attorney General John Suthers. At that time, nationwide, the costs of meth use was over 23.4 billion dollars. In 2011 Colorado managed to move to 7th position in the nation for meth users who are 12 and older.
Colorado surpassed New York in meth use and many believe due to the manufacture of meth in superlabs in Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado are corridors for meth flowing into United States. The presence of a transitory work force, relating to skiing and other recreational activities in Colorado, contribute to the widespread use of meth as a recreational drug here.
With meth use and abuse, aside from the lack of productivity of drug use, comes a slew of unwarranted effects, relating to burglaries, domestic violence and other crimes such as identity theft. In fact, over 2/3’s of identity theft crimes in Colorado are related to meth users.
To understand why identity theft is associated with meth a brief understanding of the manufacture of methamphetamine is necessary. To manufacture meth, the ingredients are relatively easy to procure in a grocery store or Walmart. Drano, anti-freeze, matches (for sulphur) and common cold medicine containing ephedrine or pseudoephredrine are the main ingredients of meth. The manufacture process takes about two days and can be “cooked” in garages, rental properties, car trunks, even in the aisles of Walmart in plastic bags or in pepsi bottles.
In 2004, due to the widespread plague of meth in urban and suburban neighborhoods, states began to recognize that the manufacture of meth could be somewhat controlled and curtailed by identifying and safeguarding precursor drugs, such as ephedrine and pseudoephredrine. Colorado adopted such laws in 2005 that regulated and tracked purchases of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine.
As the identity of meth users was being tracked by large purchases of ephedrine, meth users began using aliases and stealing identities so that their purchases of these precursor drugs could not be linked and traced to them.
Colorado police have estimated that for every one meth lab they discover, ten labs remain hidden.
For every pound of meth manufactured, 5-6 pounds of highly toxic by products result. These by products are often disposed of by simply dumping into a yard or flushing them down a toilet which taxes counties’ water purification systems.
Colorado’s laws regarding meth discovery on real property and associated civil penalties are relatively untested due to the newness of the laws. However, once a clandestine meth lab is detected, an unsuspecting homeowner shall be evicted from his residence by county public health authorities and barred from reentry until the contaminated property is properly remediated. The homeowner remains liable for any damage caused by the meth contamination, even though he may be the victim due to a purchase of a residence sold by a seller who failed to disclose his meth abuse and manufacture on the real property.
Costs to remediate such properties, depending on the level of contamination, can range from 20,000 to 100,000’s of dollars.
Relevant Colorado Revised Statutes and Regulations: §§38-35.7-103, 18-4-405, 25-18.5-101, 25-18.5-105, 13-21-102, 25-18.5-101, 6-CCR 1014-3, 16-13-303(1).
Our firm has handled methamphetamine contaminated residences in the State of Colorado. If confronted with any legal issue involving methamphetamine, contact Schunk & Associates for additional information.