The manufacture of illicit drugs poses more than a risk to drug users – it creates danger for anyone who lives near the growing number of clandestine laboratories in Western Australia.
WA Police found 84 so-called ‘clan labs’ last year and about 10% of the discoveries are due to a disaster, usually a fire or explosion onsite.
Used to cook up illicit drugs, the labs can be risky for those using them, as well as anyone living nearby, due to the release of toxic gases, chemicals abandoned on the property and the ever-present risk of explosion.
But with about 60% of labs located in residential areas, many neighbours are living next to a time bomb.
Community information is vital to curb the number of clan labs in WA. So how do you spot the clan lab in your neighbourhood?
WA Police ask the public to look out for:
- Strong unpleasant or chemical odours similar to ammonia or solvents in places you wouldn’t expect
- Large numbers of empty cough, cold or allergy medicine boxes, bottles or blister packs
- Out-of-place chemistry or laboratory equipment such as glass flasks, beakers and rubber tubing – few people enjoy chemistry as a hobby and therefore the presence of these items is cause for concern
- Plastic bottles or jars containing strange-looking or multiple-layer liquids
- Many chemical containers, drums, drain cleaner, acid or garden fertiliser that seem inconsistent with practical use where they are located and/or the habits of the owners
- An unusually large number of gas cylinders.
If you discover a drug lab, you should leave the site immediately to stay safe, without touching or interfering with the equipment, chemicals and electrical or water supply that may be present. You should then immediately call 131 444 for police attendance.
If you have information about a secret, illegal drug manufacturing place, the people doing it or those who are supplying the substances, please contact Crime Stoppers using the online report form or telephoning 1800 333 000.