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.

Comments: 3606 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

Drunken_Economist988 karma

OP has verified his claims with the mods.

joemama19253 karma

What verification did he give, if I might ask? Just curious to know how one proves something like this..

HeisenbergSpecial596 karma

I was arrested. My name was in the papers. They made it look like I was making massive amounts of meth and selling it, when in reality, I'd only ever made around 5 grams at a time.

joemama19177 karma

Thanks for answering! How much meth is 5 grams, both in terms of cost and the number of doses you get out of that quantity?

HeisenbergSpecial312 karma

I've never sold it, but I hear it goes for about $100 a gram, well over the price of gold. So five grams of meth is worth about the same as two ounces of weed?

At the rate I used it, I went through about a gram a month, but a serious addict can go through a gram in a day or two.

redditor300088 karma

Did you get a good lawyer?

HeisenbergSpecial364 karma

Yes, that I did. But I made the stupid mistake of saying way too much to the police. When you think you're one step away from being sent to Guantanamo bay because of other circumstances, you're handcuffed, and five cops are standing in a circle around you screaming at you, you really don't know how you'll react until you're in that situation.

mbregg671 karma

How accurate is Breaking Bad as far as the cooking processes they used in the show?

HeisenbergSpecial1224 karma

I was hoping someone would ask this. Overall, they don't give a lot of details, and Bryan Cranston sounds like he's reading a script when he uses chemistry terms, but because they don't give too many details of the chemistry, they don't get that much wrong. Does that make sense?

There are flaws with the chemistry though. First, they mispronounce "methylamine", calling it "methylmine". No biggie. Second, the "genius" of Walter White's formula is that supposedly it can produce enantiomerically-pure dextromethamphetamine. Basically, meth exists in two chemically-identical forms that are mirror images of each other. A right and left hand form if you will. The right hand version is the psychoactive version, and the left hand version does virtually nothing but dilute it. If you have just the right-hand version or just the left-hand version, it will form crystals, but if you have both together, it will form a powder. Thus "crystal" meth, is just the psychoactive isomer.

Unfortunately, Walter and Jesse mention using platinum oxide and mercury-aluminum amalgam for reductive amination, something that is absolutely NOT possible without getting a racemic mixture, ie, a mixture of both isomers, so that part is very clearly inaccurate.

edit: People have claimed they deliberately got this wrong to confuse wannabe meth cooks, but that's clearly not the case. If you used platinum oxide or mercury aluminum amalgam for reductive amination, you'd still get methamphetamine. It's just that it would be a less desirable form of methamphetamine, ie, not the superb-quality stuff they're supposed to be making. If they wanted to deliberately leave out information, they should have just had Walt invent a "magic" hydrogenation catalyst for reductive amination, and just never give out the details of the formula for the catalyst. Just say it's an organometallic ruthenium/iridium chirally selective hydrogenation catalyst or something. That would make it a) theoretically possible, b) satisfactory to real chemists, and c) give out absolutely zero information to wannabe meth cooks. The way they approached it hints that their science advisers may be DEA chemists as opposed to actual chemists.

If any of this was too complicated, or you'd like clarification, I'll be glad to elaborate further.

mbregg198 karma

Thanks. I knew they wouldn't be able to go in to specifics on the show for obvious reasons, but it's interesting to know that some things aren't only not accurate, but completely wrong.

HeisenbergSpecial635 karma

Technically, it could be possible to do the reductive amination and get the racemic mixture, then use some sort of resolving method to separate the isomers, but they'd have mentioned this if they did it. And their yields would be less than 50% if they did this.

Also hydrofluoric acid is a really, REALLY bad way to dissolve bodies. It doesn't work well at all, and is really hard to get in large quantities anyway, even for high school chemistry teachers. Much better to use sodium hydroxide or sulfuric acid. And much, MUCH cheaper.

swift1691422 karma

That is both very interesting and yet deeply disturbing.

HeisenbergSpecial404 karma

Sorry if it sounded like I have personal experience here. I don't, except that dissolving or breaking down protein is really just a matter of cleaving amide bonds, which is not particularly difficult to do with strong acids and bases and lots of time. And these chemicals are both commercially available as drain cleaners. And after all, the protein that they dissolve that makes up the hair in a shower drain, is the same protein that makes up skin.

balonium99 karma

Not only cheaper but safer. Hydrofluoric acid is extremely dangerous inhalation and contact can cause serious medical complications from calcium leeching from the body even death even in small amounts. Remember kids when dissolving bodies safety first.

gyarrrrr47 karma

This. As someone who has to work with HF, there'd be a pretty goddamn long list of things that I'd choose to use before it.

HeisenbergSpecial29 karma

Yes, HF can deplete your blood of calcium ions very quickly. I know why they used it in that scene, because it's one of the few things that can dissolve ceramic and glass, and thus could lead up to the gruesome scene in question, but honestly it does a much better job dissolving minerals than it does protein.

joemama1941 karma

If you have just the right-hand version or just the left-hand version, it will form crystals, but if you just have one, it will form a powder. Thus "crystal" meth, is just the psychoactive isomer.

I'm a little confused, you said if you have just the left or the right, you get crystals, but if you have just one it forms powder. I'm guessing you just mixed words up but I thought I'd ask for clarification :)

I never ended up seeing the fourth season, but I don't recall any mention of the whole enantiomer concept in the first three. The purity of Walter's meth is simply given in a percentage. What is necessary to achieve (theoretically) pure meth? Is it even possible to approach true purity? And would it be so hard given the elaborate laboratory from the show combined with an apparently encyclopedic knowledge of chemistry?

I'm pretty interested in the chemistry, despite having no real background in the subject. I'd love to read anything more you could say about the actual process vs. the process on the show, and I promise I won't try to make meth in my basement.

HeisenbergSpecial67 karma

Yes, that was a typo on my part. If you have both isomers together, it forms powder.

I don't remember what season he was talking about the fact that his meth was enantiomerically pure, but I think it was the fourth. He was sitting in his lab underneath that piece of equipment when he said it, I think to that black guy who owned all the chicken restaurants.

TheRandomRetard507 karma

Is there a way to make meth out of Legos?

HeisenbergSpecial1291 karma

Depolymerize the acrylonitrile butadiene styrene polymer, and separate the monomers via distillation. The styrene can be converted into phenylacetic acid and from there phenylacetone via a reaction that uses sulfur. Another depolymerization product, acetonitrile, can be reacted with benzomagnesium chloride to form a chemical that hydrolyzes into phenylacetone.

And of course, phenylacetone can be reductively aminated with methylamine to form racemic methamphetamine.

Quinnett1550 karma

And of course, phenylacetone can be reductively aminated with methylamine...

Obviously. Stop patronizing us.

Edit: I feel guilty that my smartass comment got more karma than the dude who explained how to make meth out of fucking Legos...

HeisenbergSpecial739 karma

Basically if you heat plastic in a no or low-oxygen environment, it'll break down into smaller molecules, which can then be distilled. Legos are made from ABS plastic, which breaks down into styrene, among other things, when heated in this manner. Styrene can be converted into phenylacetic acid or benzaldehyde, both of which are controlled chemicals due to their potential for methamphetamine manufacture. This wouldn't be that practical with ABS plastic, but I've heard of it at least being attempted with polystyrene, ie, the stuff they use to make styrofoam and clear plastic forks.

EdgarAllenNope95 karma


HeisenbergSpecial207 karma

Yes, but there are much easier ways. ABS plastic (which is what legos are made out of) doesn't depolymerize as well as other plastics like polystyrene via destructive distillation, and it results in a larger variety of chemicals in the distillate, which would all need to be separated. But theoretically, you could get at least phenylacetone, which is what Walter White eventually uses in Breaking Bad.

Diggity_Dave420 karma

I feel compelled to share my own story with you, in hopes that it'll inspire you a bit to never give up.

As a former convicted felon that's spent the last decade of his life overcoming the heartbreak, bullshit, and frustration associated with overcoming a criminal record, I'm very sorry for your troubles. I will say that while nothing is guaranteed, with enough persistence, money, and luck, you may one day be able to get your record cleared.

Without getting into too much detail, a family member of mine committed Medicaid fraud, and because I worked for this person, I was charged with conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud. The DA would later tell my attorney that while they were fully aware that I never profited a dime from the scam, they could make it look that way. I was young, couldn't afford to go to trial, and scared to death of going to prison, so I pled guilty to get probation.

If I had any idea what a nightmare this would cause me over the next decade, I would have done anything and everything to raise the money for a trial.

It's really frustrating to beat out all applicants for a job and then not get hired because of a background check. No one gave me a break, and I can't say I blame them. Luckily for me, I eventually landed a healthcare related job as a consultant, and lo and behold, they didn't do a background check.

I was eventually able to have my criminal record expunged. After a few years at this healthcare company, I received a great offer from a local competitor. The criminal background check cleared, but there was one hiccup. When you're convicted of Medicaid Fraud, the Office of the Inspector General puts you on a watchdog list, and any company that has anything to do with Medicaid is supposed to check the list before hiring you. Well, I obviously didn't get the job, and found out that I wasn't even supposed to be working at my current job, lest I face a huge fine/prison time.

So despite making great money, being respected by my peers, and being the happiest I'd been in years, I resigned out of fear.

I did some research, and I found out that you can apply to be removed from the OIG list, but their investigation can take up to four months, and they hold the right to contact anyone you've worked for and drag your name through the mud. If they find that you've violated their rules, you can be fined or go to prison. I was terrified of the consequences, so with great reluctance, I attempted to get a different kind of job, to no avail. My beautiful, loving, and supportive wife, without whom I wouldn't be where I am today, convinced me to start my own business, which eventually failed. I hated it with every iota of my being, and could never get my heart into it.

On her birthday, we had the worst argument of our entire relationship, but it led to me overcoming my fears and I submitted my application to the OIG. I wrote them a very long letter explaining everything I had been through. It took me a few days, but I managed to find the courage to find my previous boss and explain that the OIG would be contacting him soon and why. He was kind, understanding, and said he'd do anything to help me. I'll never forget that.

To my complete and utter shock, the OIG responded in two weeks with a letter saying that I was off the list. No explanation why, no investigation, just a 'Get Out of Hell Pass'. First and last time The Man does me any favors, I imagine.

I was inspired, drunk with redemption, and I immediately updated my resume and sent it out anywhere and everywhere I could. I received a job offer, disclosed my former issues to them, and was told that as long as I didn't have a record and wasn't on the OIG list, they didn't care. By far, the most beautiful words I ever heard in my life besides, "I do." I'm safe, never have to be scared again, and I'm here to tell you to never give up until you've exhausted every possible option.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to message me. Good luck.

HeisenbergSpecial74 karma

Thank you. Recently I read about a Department of Defense engineer who was convicted of some bullshit felony, and was fired and could no longer work in his field. So he moved to China, and is designing missiles for them now. I know I'm supposed to root for the US, but this story made me a lot happier than it should have.

Was your "crime" a state or federal affair? Because I've heard that the only way to expunge a federal felony is a presidential pardon.

HeisenbergSpecial257 karma

Never injected, so no. But funny!

[deleted]206 karma


HeisenbergSpecial466 karma

Garage. This actually turned out to be important, because if it's made in a living area, the whole house is declared uninhabitable or contaminated, depending on the local building codes. There is really no basis for these laws, since studies have showed that the main "toxic" chemical produced is methamphetamine itself, which obviously isn't that toxic if you can get a prescription for it.

My family may have noticed something was different, and said so after I was arrested. Like I would go to parties more often, and drink more as a result, but mostly because I wasn't depressed anymore. And the parties I went to never used any illegal drugs except occasionally weed.

palerthanrice189 karma

So does meth really give you the uncontrollable desire to clean things? If so, what was the most extreme example of this?

HeisenbergSpecial381 karma

It gives you an incredibly intense focus, which can be used for cleaning or really anything. With me, I'd focus more on work, which sometimes resulted in me spending months trying to complete nearly-impossible projects and just absolutely being unwilling to ever give up. This type of focus can be good or bad depending on your line of work. With me, it was kind of a double-edged sword. I also had to make use of weed, to allow me to step back and look at what I was doing from a broader perspective.

IronicAlbatross159 karma

Do you feel like your use of substances to shape your frame of mind into what you felt was appropriate for the time hindered your ability to do that independent of the drugs?

HeisenbergSpecial310 karma

Maybe, but you've got to understand, I'd been basically beating my head against a wall for years trying to overcome the mental disorders that were holding me back. It was kind of like dragging around a ball and chain for my whole life, and then having it removed.

For a while after my arrest, I gave up on life. Now I'm trying to finish grad school, and it looks like I might graduate pretty soon. I guess we'll see.

lilhurt38108 karma

Man, that reminds me of when I used to take Adderall. I remember being in school and being intensely focused on my work. I'd be in art class and be thinking that I was the next Leonardo Da Vinci. I'd never get good grades on my projects because was trying to have the perfect project. I felt emotionally cold and removed after awhile. Eventually I started getting paranoid, depressed, and anti-social. I kind of assume that meth is a lot like Adderall, but more intense/powerful.

HeisenbergSpecial255 karma

It really is basically a more potent Adderall. Also, it has mood-elevating properties that Adderall doesn't have. Like, if I was depressed and took Adderall, I'd just get frustrated and start panicking. But methamphetamine would eliminate my depression. In minutes. It's hard being depressed for weeks at a time, when you know there's something out there that could make it go away instantly.

TheOnlyPolygraph648 karma

Stop making me want to do drugs. STOP IT.

HeisenbergSpecial39 karma

Sorry. I tried to give a balanced viewpoint. I will say that a lot of people close to me were hurt a lot when I started acting like a dickhead to them. But the drug made me feel like I was right, even though now I can see how very poor my judgment was at the time.

clueGLUE172 karma

In terms of how easy it is to find the materials to create a meth lab, I recently read an article of an individual finding all the materials they needed in a Walmart. Is there any credence in this?

HeisenbergSpecial261 karma

Yes, using the "shake and bake" method, which uses cold packs, sudafed, and starting fluid, among other things. The only thing you might not be able to get at walmart is lye (sodium hydroxide) but you can get that at hardware stores or soapmaking stores easily enough.

rotarded147 karma

What is the difference in quality of "walmart meth" as opposed to something carefully planned and measured in a lab environment?

HeisenbergSpecial286 karma

You can purify crappy meth, and separate out all the garbage. It's just that the crappier the meth is, the less you'll have left when you get rid of the garbage. But if you purify the product properly, there is no difference.

unwoundfloors161 karma

Were you offered any chances for rehabilitative programs (whether it be for mental illness, your drug use, or otherwise) while going through the criminal justice system? If you did, did it help? If not, would you have welcomed it?

Thanks heaps, great AMA. I'm a Criminology major, so it's fascinating reading the stories of those who find themselves in the system for whatever reasons.

HeisenbergSpecial660 karma

After I was arrested, I still had my unused drugs available after they released me, which were well-hidden, so I used them and got caught. So they had me do this outpatient rehab program. Then they started using that pharmachek patch on me. The thing would not stay stuck to my arm. The oil in my skin turned the adhesive on the patch into this gray clumpy goop. It was supposed to stay on up to two weeks, but would fall off after, on average, three days. There wasn't much I could do about it. I tried covering it with athletic tape, but my probation officer told me I couldn't do that, so I pretty much just had to let it fall off. It didn't help that I was court-ordered to live 100 miles away from the federal probation office, so if it started to fall off, I'd have to drive 100 miles to their office and hope they were still open. And invariably, it would test positive, whether I used or not. And I didn't use after the first time I was caught. Anyway, one time it tested positive when, as pathetic as it sounds, I was kind of proud of myself for not using it at all in the last month. And this sent me over the edge. It really did. I probably came closer to suicide than I had at any point in my life prior to that, but instead I just smoked a whole bunch of weed and watched Doctor Who. So then I got another positive drug test come back for weed. Still was doing the outpatient rehab, and they told me they were concerned about me. But other than that one time, I didn't smoke any weed at all, and had already stopped meth for at least a month and a half. So I'm going to outpatient rehab three days a week, not using or anything, and staying clean. And then one time while I'm at the outpatient rehab place, I get a weird-sounding call from my dad. Not sure why I thought it sounded weird, but it did. And then suddenly they tell me they've moved up my appointment several hours, while not making eye contact with me. So I'm like, FUCK!!! Something bad is going to happen. But what am I going to do about it? So I take a walk around the city, enjoying the nice spring weather. And when I get back, there are these two guys with cop haircuts dressed in baseball caps and looking at some paperwork and then at me. And I'm like FUCK!!! again. Yep, another false positive Pharmachek sweat patch test resulted in a warrant for my arrest by the US Marshals.

Of course, nobody believed me about not using, so they sent me to jail for a month while I waited for an opening at an inpatient rehab place. Jail was mostly just very boring and humiliating. I spent it drawing pictures of naked women in exchange for Little Debbie snacks, and reading old paperback novels with the covers torn off. I also talked to old men a lot. The guys my age all seemed dumb as shit, but at least the old guys had been around long enough to know a thing or two. My family came to visit me as often as they could. I didn't want them to see me like that, but I did it for their sake. Afterwards, we all had to strip naked and spread our butt cheeks apart with our hands to show that we weren't hiding anything. They didn't do any probing, but it was still really humiliating. Eventually, when I realized none of the guards wanted to see that shit either, it was less bad, and I tried to see it as an opportunity to moon the guards. Pretty much everyone was there for drugs, DUI, or some sort of nonviolent larceny. And one of the local judges apparently had an ax to grind against fathers who were behind on child support, so there were quite a few of those too. My bunkmate for a while was actually on leave from serving in Afghanistan, but apparently went out to celebrate his homecoming and drove home drunk. He was telling me about training Afghani police and military. It was pretty interesting.

After jail, I spent time in inpatient rehab. Some of the shit those people went through was just, wow. Like, virtually all the women and many of the men had been raped at least once, and one girl was raped on nearly a daily basis by her father. Sometimes he'd rape her and make her mother watch, and sometimes the reverse. I mean, how the fuck is someone supposed to get over something like that? She was a lesbian, and had a girlfriend that came to pick her up, but I remember her talking about how much she loved this girl, and how happy she was going to be to see her. But shit, if this girl was able to love after all that she had to live through, who the fuck is anyone to try and take that away from her?

As you can maybe tell from how I responded, I don't think inpatient rehab was really helpful to me for quitting drugs. I mean, I hadn't used weed in a month, and hadn't used meth in over two months when they arrested me, so I really don't think I needed it. But it did open my eyes to what goes on in a segment of society that a lot of times we try and act like it doesn't really exist. And in that sense, I saw and heard stories that will stick with me and affect how I see the world for as long as I live, so maybe that's a good thing.

TouchMeThereAgain_267 karma

I don't know exactly what it is but I really like the way you write, feels like i'm reading Catcher in the Rye or something. You should write a memoir man.

HeisenbergSpecial85 karma

Thanks. You might be interested in the novel "Shantaram" by Gregory David Roberts. This guy is almost a role model to me now. That book got me through some really tough times.

Magice147 karma

What do you now plan on doing with your life?

HeisenbergSpecial277 karma

I plan to try to go back to work in the same field, although I know I'll never match the performance levels I used to have, especially with my bipolar disorder making me so unreliable as an employee. I don't think I would ever actual make this stuff again; it just isn't worth the consequences. Once I can travel internationally again, in a few years, I'd like to move to a country like Portugal or India, where drug users are an incredibly low priority for police. This is if my life is still in the shitter after that time. I do plan to research drugs like 4-methylaminorex which are supposedly not as dangerous as meth, though still illegal in the US.

King_of_Kings79 karma

Wait, I was under the impression that drug laws were extremely strict and strongly enforced in Thailand. Are you sure it's a good place to go?

HeisenbergSpecial72 karma

I've heard that manufacturing and smuggling are punished very harshly, and obviously wouldn't do any of that. I only have heard anecdotes that drugs are cheap and easy to obtain in Thailand, but in any case, I'm not going anywhere for a long time.

touchpadgator31 karma

Do you come from a poor background?

HeisenbergSpecial68 karma

For the US, not really. My immediate family is not rich, but much of my extended family is quite well off.

HolgerBier75 karma

You might try finding out if there are countries in Europe that have health insurances that cover your needs. Just briefly checked for Holland, but I couldn't find any direct sources that Desoxyn would be covered. Still, there is a good chance (a portion) could be covered.

Engineers are always in great demand here, so landing a job wouldn't be too hard. Not knowing the language usually isn't a problem as the job would be in English and Math anyways. The drug charges might not be a huge problem for an employer who believes and knows your situation, I think drugs have less of a stigma here, although I cannot base that on anything solid.

HeisenbergSpecial129 karma

Ironically, the US is one of very few places in the world where you can still get methamphetamine via a prescription.

Melkolmr103 karma

You mention not yet having been sentenced. Have you consulted an attorney before starting this AMA? It seems that openly discussing the details of this sort of thing might influence a judge's opinion.

Good luck, though. Especially with the mental health stuff.

HeisenbergSpecial148 karma

I do have an attorney, but I've already pled guilty to a felony, and the details of my case are already mostly out anyway, so at this point, there's not much that can change from here on out.

Melkolmr143 karma

Alright. If you have nothing to lose, then you've got nothing to fear, right?

Now reddit should start working on getting you that Presidential pardon...

HeisenbergSpecial128 karma

That'd have to wait until after my sentence ends. And it's not that I have nothing to lose. If the judge wants to, he could sentence me to multiple years in jail, or even just give me probation. It's just that I'm not really admitting to anything here that I haven't already admitted to in court.

[deleted]87 karma

Do you think you'll continue trying to make meth if given the chance?

HeisenbergSpecial763 karma

Hell no. If I ever start using again, I plan to directly fund the Mexican cartels like a good American should.

because_im_boring79 karma

how did you get off so lightly? i was under the impression that making meth, any amount, would put you in jail for a long time

HeisenbergSpecial210 karma

Still haven't been sentenced, but the federal sentencing guidelines say I should get about two years of prison. I'm out on bail, essentially. Also, I wasn't selling it, and I had a documented history of mental illness that my lawyer could point to.

Still, the prosecuting attorney isn't pushing for a prison sentence, so odds are I'll either get probation or electronic monitoring.

Ridalosaurus79 karma

Is it common for medical/chemical researchers to produce recreational drugs? Was your drug use always responsible?

HeisenbergSpecial161 karma

As far as what I was doing, I don't think it's very common, but it's definitely happened quite a few times. Read up on Alexander Shulgin, for the most famous example. I tried to use drugs responsibly, but I really should have told people I was close to about my use, so they could have given me feedback. But I didn't, because I thought they would make me quit, and I sure as hell didn't want to go back to the life I had before I started using drugs. But ultimately I had to do that anyway.

Towards the end, my drug use was starting to become less responsible. I was getting obsessed with projects that didn't really matter, (think Walter White fixing the rot in his house) and lashing out at anybody that tried to get between me and said projects.

But when I managed to tear myself away from those projects, my life was great. I had an awesome girlfriend, a great social life, and basically everything I'd always wanted. But then once the drugs stopped and the depression came back, all that went away.

Ridalosaurus60 karma

From your position, with the stigma surrounding meth, it would seem difficult to convince even people close to you that this drug was helping you. When you say your drug use became less responsible, was this a result of increased dosage, or that it became less appropriate to take the drug but you continued to do so? Have you considered developing a superior drug to help people with your condition? Thanks for your response.

HeisenbergSpecial147 karma

I've been researching other drugs related to methamphetamine, like D-deprenyl and 4-methylaminorex. These could probably be at least as much help to me, but I can't go down that road at least until well after I've been spit out by the legal system. The trouble is this. If a drug is great at improving your mood, it'll almost certainly be addictive to some people. And if it's addictive to some people, then the DEA will eventually schedule it and make it hard to get, unless its name is caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine.

One example of a drug that was developed outside of the typical drug development process that is quite fascinating, is methoxetamine. It was developed by a British guy who lost an arm in an IRA bombing during the 80s, and used to treat his phantom limb syndrome. It's related to ketamine and isn't a controlled substance, so there are no restrictions on it yet. But personally, I'm fine reading up on research that other people have done.

[deleted]161 karma

And if it's addictive to some people, then the DEA will eventually schedule it and make it hard to get, unless its name is caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine.

If anyone wants the war on drugs summarized in one sentence.

HeisenbergSpecial22 karma

Except that it doesn't include hallucinogens, which aren't addictive at all. :-p

VeritasEtVenia63 karma

Can you share some about the negative side effects you experienced while using? What was it like coming off meth all together? I'm assuming you had to go cold turkey given the circumstances.

HeisenbergSpecial123 karma

Coming off meth wasn't hard for me. I just slept a lot. The hard part was having to deal with my mental disorders, which totally went away when I was using weed and meth. I wanted to be able to live my life without them, and also with the added bonus of being whatever the opposite of lazy is.

Stthads58 karma

Were you ever professionally diagnosed with these disorders?

HeisenbergSpecial113 karma

Yes, a good four years before I start using any illegal drugs.

joemama1948 karma

Approximately how often did you need to dose? And in what quantity? It sounds like you were using daily; if that's the case, how did you avoid tolerance issues and the physical side effects of regular use?

PS: It might seem like I'm asking some pretty suspicious questions, but I have no intention of ever using, manufacturing or distributing meth.. I'm just living vicariously through reddit

HeisenbergSpecial54 karma

I estimated I used 20-50 milligrams a day, depending on how much work I needed to do. Eventually I settled into a pattern of sleeping every other night, usually going to a party friday night and drinking, then not using saturday and sunday, when I'd be sleepy and more lethargic, and I'd only use weed if I used anything.

redditor300042 karma

I used to use pot regularly and thought it helped me. I've recently changed my mind. How do you think meth helped you?

I liked the part about how lobbying by pharmaceutical companies is a big reason why many drugs are illegal.

HeisenbergSpecial131 karma

For me, pot worked well as a mood stabilizer. I did not have major depression or hypomania while I was using pot. And meth boosted my mood. The trouble with that is, of course, whenever I was having a rough time, I could always just turn to meth to give my mood a boost. And eventually you develop that pattern of solving your problems with drugs, which probably never ends well.

I will leave you with a lesson I learned, that has been at least true for me:

"Drugs can solve all your problems, but will replace them with new ones."

Rachel87940 karma

Did you try to get on state medical? My fiance has ADD and the state paid for his medication. You can have a job, but you must be lower income. If you haven't I think you should talk to a social worker. They are extremely helpful and the process really wasn't that bad at all.

HeisenbergSpecial150 karma

Yup. I'm on medicaid now, and no doctor anywhere will prescribe me a schedule II controlled substance, including Ritalin and Adderall. I've just recently gotten a prescription for Vyvanse, which is ridiculously expensive, considering it's just dextroamphetamine (basically, Adderall) amide-bonded to lysine. Whoever came up with that drug is clearly making a killing.

CIash36 karma

I work with many o-chem grad students on a daily basis, but you seem more knowledgeable than any of them by far (we have talked about synthesizing drugs quite a bit in the past). I guess my questions are:

How old are you?

Did you drop out of college? If so, what year?

How much research did you do before you preceded to synthesize?

HeisenbergSpecial41 karma

I completed my undergraduate education in engineering with a decent GPA. I was working toward my masters degree while doing medical research as part of my thesis, when I was arrested. I still haven't finished it, but I'm close. I'm in my late twenties now.

As far as research, I first read the Uncle Fester book, but soon came to the conclusion that he thinks he knows a lot more than he knows. Most of what I've learned about drug synthesis comes from chemistry forums and drug forums. I won't say which ones here, but they're not exactly hidden.

Methamphetamine is such a simple molecule, there are a ridiculously huge number of ways to make it, especially when you include the Grignard reaction, which I've done successfully with hardware store chemicals, despite its purported extreme sensitivity.

Ilostmyredditlogin30 karma

How dangerous is it for a non chemist to experiment with meth-making? (Where primary dangers of concern are poisoning yourself or setting something on fire.)

HeisenbergSpecial109 karma

I would say that the main danger is burning yourself with either sulfuric acid or sodium hydroxide. Think Fight Club. If you just use electric hot plates as your heat source, there isn't much danger of setting anything on fire. But overall, the main danger is of the "justice" system being able to completely and utterly ruin the rest of your life.

[deleted]19 karma

Do you think you'll ever succeed more than where you currently are in life? I feel like being a felon in the US would make me want to end my life; basically you can't get a job, good luck getting a work visa in another country, and basically you're statistically at high probability of further incarceration.

do you have any plans for the future? What are you up to right now?

HeisenbergSpecial48 karma

If I move to India or Thailand, marry a woman there to get citizenship, and then live there for the rest of my life, I think I can still be happy. My role model in this respect is now Gregory David Roberts, who wrote an excellent novel about escaping from prison and fleeing to India back during the late seventies or so. Some days, that dream is the only thing keeping me going, to be honest.