Shake and Bake Meth Leaves Financial Ruin in its Wake

Check for shake and bake residue

Not all meth houses come with warning signs.

Not all meth houses come with warning signs.

A couple of current trends are combining forces to create a new trend. Home foreclosure and “shake and bake meth” are coming together to create a growing group of families who face severe health problems and financial catastrophe.

If you’re looking for how to make shake and bake meth, you are on the wrong web site. I’m not in the business of instructing people on how to make drugs. However, if you want to hear stories about why you should have a house tested for shake and bake meth residue before you sign your mortgage papers, please continue.

The Holts’ $30,000 problem

The New York Times tells the story of a family whose financial emergency could not be solved with a same day payday loan. Here’s the story of the Holts:

The spacious home where the newly wed Rhonda and Jason Holt began their family in 2005 was plagued by mysterious illnesses. The Holts’ three babies were ghostlike and listless, with breathing problems that called for respirators and repeated trips to the emergency room. …

More than five years after they moved in, that the couple discovered the root of their troubles: their house … was contaminated with high levels of methamphetamine left by the previous occupant. …

The Holts’ next realization was almost as devastating: it was up to them to spend the $30,000 or more that cleanup would require.

Connection to shake and bake method

It’s true that homes have been contaminated with methamphetamine residue since long before shake and bake meth became a national trend. However, the New York Times reports:

Federal statistics show that the number of clandestine meth labs discovered in the United States rose by 14 percent last year, to 6,783, and has continued to increase, in part because of a crackdown on meth manufacturers in Mexico and in part because of the spread of a new, easier meth-making method known as “shake and bake.”

Get your home tested

Some people wouldn’t even think to have a home tested for meth residue before moving in. However, regardless of the neighborhood, it is definitely worth it to have a house tested for before you agree to buy it.

Just in case you are not convinced, here’s a NYT story about another family:

Meth contamination can bring financial ruin to families like that of Francisca Rodriguez. The family dog began having seizures nine days after the Rodriguezes moved into their home in Grapevine, Tex., near Dallas, and their 6-year-old son developed a breathing problem similar to asthma, said Ms. Rodriguez, 35, a stay-at-home mother of three.

After learning from neighbors that the three-bedroom ranch-style home had been a known “drug house,” the family had it tested. The air ducts had meth levels more than 100 times higher than the most commonly cited limit beyond which cleanup is typically required.

The former owner had marked “no” on a disclosure form asking whether the house had ever been a meth lab, Ms. Rodriguez said. But because he is now in prison for meth possession, among other things, the Rodriguezes decided there was nothing to gain by suing him. They moved out, throwing away most of their possessions because they could not be cleaned, and are letting the house go into foreclosure.

“It makes you crazy,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “Our credit is ruined, we won’t be able to buy another house, somebody exposed my kids to meth, and my dog died.”