IAmA former meth lab operator, AMAA
So, let's see. I have an educational background in polymer chemistry, and have been diagnosed with both ADHD and bipolar disorder. I had been going through the mental health system about four years, trying all sorts of different medications for both disorders, without having any real improvement. So, as kind of an act of desperation, I tried various illegal drugs. I discovered that the combination of indica-strain marijuana and low-dose methamphetamine allowed me to virtually eliminate all symptoms of both disorders, and become a very successful medical researcher. But because methamphetamine is so hard to obtain where I live, I used my chemistry background to make the stuff. I've made it via the iodine/phosphorus reaction, and via the Grignard reaction and reductive amination. I never sold methamphetamine, although I have sold mushrooms and weed. I've seen the first four seasons of Breaking Bad, which started well after I already was doing this. I was caught by the police over a year ago. The way they caught me was pretty much really, really bad luck on my part. The police searched my car and found a few chemical totally unrelated to methamphetamine manufacturing, but according to police, chemicals=meth lab. Some powder in my car tested positive for ephedrine, even though it was not ephedrine or even a related chemical, and this prompted a search of all of my possessions. I thought I could get away with it because of the very limited quantities I was making, but didn't count on Bad-Luck Brian levels of luck.
Also, this ordeal has given me a lot of insight into the way the criminal justice system works in the US, the way the healthcare system works in the US, the way mental health and addiction are treated, and the extent to which the pharmaceutical industry controls government policy. An example: methamphetamine is available by prescription under the name Desoxyn, for treating narcolepsy and ADHD, but only one company is allowed to make it. A prescription will cost a person with no insurance about $500 a month, not counting doctor's visits. The same amount of dextromethamphetamine can be purchased on the street for about $100, or manufactured by an individual for about $10.
Because of my crime, which fell under federal jurisdiction because of transportation across state lines, and involved about 5 grams of pseudoephedrine, I am now a convicted felon for the rest of my life, barring a pardon from the president of the United States. I am unable to vote, receive financial aid for education, or own a firearm, for the rest of my life. I spent one month in jail, after falsely testing positive for methamphetamine, essentially because of the shortcomings of the PharmaChek sweat patch drug test. I lost all of my savings and my job, after being court ordered to live at a location far away from all of that, and having all my mental disorder symptoms come back full force.
While I was using, I did experience many of the negative effects of methamphetamine use, although overall I still believe that physiologically, it was a positive influence on me. But I can easily see how a methamphetamine addiction could spiral out of control.
So, ask me anything that doesn't involve giving away personally identifying details, and I'll answer to the best of my ability. I should be verified by the mods.
Edit: It took me almost a week, but I finally read every question in this AMA, and answered all the ones I could, that hadn't been asked and answered too many times already. I even read the ones at the bottom, with negative scores on them, even though they were mostly references to Breaking Bad, people who didn't read the intro, and "fuck you asshole, I hope you burn in hell!" in various phrasings. I would like to point out that the point of this AMA was not to brag, or look for sympathy. It was to try and answer questions relating to meth and its synthesis in as honest and neutral of a tone as I could manage. People know there's a lot of bullshit out there regarding drugs, and I wanted to clear up as much as I could. Also, to those people who don't believe my story, believe me, if I was selling this shit, I'd be in prison.
Edit 2: For anyone who thinks my story is unfair, read about Ernesto Lira, a man who committed a crime roughly similar in magnitude as mine (though he committed his crime while on parole). Compared to his story, mine is nothing.
Edit 3: For those people saying more or less that I committed a crime and got caught, and should accept the punishment, I'm not saying I shouldn't have been punished. What I'm saying is that taking away more than five years of my life for what was truly a victimless crime seems rather extreme to me. And taking away certain rights for the rest of my life is beyond insane. If I had been stealing money from my family to feed an addiction, or buying from a dealer supplied by the Latin American cartels, my punishment would be far less than it is.