In Australia a large proportion of the drug production is affiliated with either the bikie gangs or other factions of organised crime (i.e. the Mafia). These suppliers want money. Drug users give them money.
Authority figures occasionally spin a story that the producers chuck all sorts of shit into their drugs, that they don’t care, that they’ll put poisonous filler in there. This is baloney. They don’t want to kill their costumers, it’s bad for business.
However, the truth isn’t much better. Amphetamine production involves some pretty demanding chemistry. And to do it properly you should use correct glassware and much caution. Stoichiometry.
Please, bear with me, or skip down two paragraphs:
Stoichiometry is the art of mixing chemicals and achieving complete perfect reactions. A simple example: water, is H2O or two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen. If you get two buckets full of hydrogen atoms and a bucket full of oxygen atoms and mix them together you’d think you’d get the lot turning into water right? Well, no. Atoms are really small, you can’t measure them by the bucket load. and then there’s the fact that hydrogen is tiny compared to oxygen so it takes up nowhere near as much space. In order to get pure water (with no oxygen or hydrogen left over) you’ll need to mix exactly twice as many hydrogen atoms with oxygen atoms.
Lets use 2mols of H. So you go to the periodic table and find the molar weight of hydrogen and multiply it by 2. 2 mol of hydrogen = ~2.0159g (Typically we’d be working with liquids which makes the volumes a little easier to handle… though getting liquid hydrogen could be interesting…) Then you work out the volume of oxygen you’ll require for half as many oxygen atoms (i.e. we’re using 2 mols of H so we want 1mol of O). Remember each atom of oxygen has a lot more to it so it weights more.. 1mol = 15.9994 g.
So we need 2.0159g of hydrogen and 15.9994 grams of oxygen. If you can measure those successfully and they want to bond when they combine.. you’ll get a complete reaction with 100% production and no ingredients left over. It seems like a complicated process and it’s easy to make mistakes (especially with more complex equations), but once you’ve run through it a few times the maths behind it is very logical. But even if the maths doesn’t phase you, measuring those exact quantities may test even the best garage sudo-chemist.
Why is this important? Well, to produce amphetamines you need good stoichiometry. It isn’t good enough to judge it by eye, and get it all within 2% correct. Some of the intermediate steps produce highly toxic chemicals. if you want to get good quality drugs you need to make sure your producer’s stoichiometry is spot on, you don’t want any intermediates hanging around, any half completed reactions.
I did chemistry in year 11 and 12. I played around with stoichiometry (to make perfumes, not party drugs). I remember getting the maths wrong, using the dicky (yet ridiculously expensive) glassware.. We were doing some simple stoich, but it’s not easy. In fact, it’s easy to get wrong. I wouldn’t trust a year 12 chemist to get it right and I definitely wouldn’t trust a bikie operating out of his garage (and this isn’t speculation, if you buy it off the streets of Adelaide, you’re getting ripped off).
and I know I’ve simplified it. Many synthetic drugs require timing, heat, high pressure and/or catalysts in their multi-step production. Taking pills in Australia is like Russian Roulette. But then, there’s plenty of other arguments telling drug users to find something else to do… It’s beyond reason.
and no, you can’t produce the stuff yourself to make sure it’s done right. It’s hard, the key ingredients are controlled substances and anyway, setting up a drug lab in your house isn’t a bad idea, it’s outright stupidity.