Title

Cold Cook Methods: An Ethnographic Exploration on the Myths of Methamphetamine Production and Policy Implications

Department

Sociology & Criminal Justice

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-2009

Abstract

Background

Urban legends and myths are prevalent in drug-use environments. However, the distinction between myth and fact is not always clear. We found contradictory claims regarding the emergence of cold cook methods for producing methamphetamine when contrasting user-generated reports with official reports repudiating such methods as myths. Our aim is to open the topic for more academic discussion.

Methods

We examine cold cook methods of methamphetamine production revealed in our ethnographic study and interviews with former (n = 50) and current (n = 48) methamphetamine users. Data were collected in the suburbs of a large southeastern city in the United States. We compare the data with reports from law enforcement professionals and public health officials.

Results

Official reports claim the cold cook method described by users in our study is a myth and does not produce methamphetamine. Small-scale producers sell it as methamphetamine and users claim it has the same effect as methamphetamine. They are charged for possession and distribution of methamphetamine when caught with this drug. It appears the unintended consequences of recent policy aimed to reduce production and use of methamphetamine may be a user-friendly production method. We do not know the health implications at this time.

Conclusion

We do not make any definitive conclusions on the legitimacy of the stories or myths discussed here but instead suggest that labeling drug stories as myths might lead to dismissing facts that hold partial truth. The subsequent dismissal of cold cook methods among policy and public health officials risks a range of unintended consequences among vulnerable populations. We present our case for more research attention on the myths of methamphetamine production.

Journal

International Journal of Drug Policy

Journal ISSN

0955-3959

Volume

20

Issue

5

First Page

438

Last Page

443

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1016/j.drugpo.2008.12.007