Anhydrous Additive Will Help Stop Meth Makers

Iowa researchers announce discovery of additive for anhydrous ammonia, to help in the fight against illegal drug production. Rod Swoboda

Published on: Jun 15, 2004

Researchers at Iowa State University (ISU) have identified an additive that renders anhydrous ammonia ineffective for manufacturing the powerfully addictive and dangerous illegal drug--methamphetamine.

Anhydrous ammonia is one of several ingredients in the most popular recipe used by meth cooks to make the illegal drug in Iowa and other farm states. Anydhrous ammonia, a commonly used nitrogen fertilizer, is frequently stolen from farms and farm service dealers.

Iowa officials call the preliminary finding a significant development in the fight against meth. The additive is very promising. But these same officials also caution that other prevention, treatment and enforcement efforts must continue because of the way the meth problem and the drug dealers are able to adapt to such changes.

Discovery will aid battle against illegal drug

"The meth epidemic threatens the security of every family with children in our state and throughout the Midwest," warns Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. "The development of this additive will aid in our fight against this poison and help us better secure our children."

Anhydrous ammonia is a fertilizer used for crop production in Iowa and other states, as well as in Canada. The new anti-meth additive discovered by ISU researchers is another commonly used fertilizer for horticulture and agriculture crop production. "So it won't hinder the use of anhydrous ammonia by farmers for corn production," points out Vilsack.

In addition to the research conducted at ISU, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation's laboratory and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lab have tested the anti-meth anhydrous ammonia additive. All tests have shown positive results to date and the additive looks very promising. Final testing of the anti-meth additive is anticipated in the near future. Once the research is complete, officials will begin work on an implementation plan.

The anti-meth anhydrous ammonia research was made possible by the efforts of Iowa's two U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin and Charles Grassley , who helped secure funding from USDA and the DEA over the past four years. Other partnering organizations include the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Iowa Department of Agriculture, Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy, and Iowa Department of Public Safety.