Medical News and Perspectives
October 26, 2005

Meth Lab Fires Put Heat on Burn Centers

JAMA. 2005;294(16):2009-2010. doi:10.1001/jama.294.16.2009

Burn units across the United States are increasingly treating a new type of patient, individuals injured in explosions and fires from homemade laboratories producing illicit methamphetamine, or meth.

Small “meth labs” have sprouted up around the country. The US Department of Justice reported that in 2004, there were 17 033 meth lab-related seizures by law enforcement. These facilities are often found in homes, trailers, and even motel rooms. “Cooks” at such poorly ventilated manufacturing sites mix and heat volatile chemicals to make methamphetamine, creating a recipe for disaster.