Was your hotel or motel room used as a meth lab ?

Check in to the wrong room at a motel or hotel and you may bring home more than great memories of fresh smelling linens, plump fluffy towels, stylish furniture, and a comfortable bed, according to recent news from the Associated Press.

Stay in a motel or hotel room that’s been used to make meth and you may find your eyes and skin get irritated, your asthma may act up, or your stomach may feel so nauseated that you feel like you have to vomit.

The Associated Press reported that DEA records that they obtained showed evidence that nearly 2,000 motel and hotel rooms have been used as meth labs over the last 5 years and those figures only reflect the ones that have been reported to them.

John Martyny, an industrial hygienist, meth researcher, and associate professor at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, is considered an expert on meth lab chemical contamination. Martyny says that people are more likely to blame cigarette smoke for any respiratory problems they experience while spending time in a motel or hotel room. Yet, motel and hotel rooms that have been used as meth labs by previous renters can make you sick, if they haven’t been decontaminated. Experts say that contamination caused by toxic chemicals used to make meth can last more than a decade.

According to American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA), methamphetamine labs can be set up and produced in less than four hours, which is typically done between midnight and 4 a.m.

Although, the AH & LA says they are working with law enforcement to shut down these labs, many motel and hotel rooms are still being used by meth cooks to manufacture methamphetamine.  In fact, the trend is growing. According to Joseph Mclnerney, president and CEO of the AH & LA,  “meth lab cooks may check in to the hotel late at night and cook their meth throughout the night before leaving early the next morning. Under the influence of meth, a meth cook can stay awake all night without any problem. In fact, meth addicts can stay awake for several days without sleeping.”  Their lack of sleep, however, makes them extremely dangerous, as their lack of sleep coupled with their addiction to meth can make them extremely irritable and highly prone to becoming violent.  It is also common for them to hallucinate or experience delusional thoughts. Paranoia is always a central part of their thought processes, as well. They are always worried that someone is going to do something to them i.e. arrest them, steal from them, hurt them, etc.

Warning: Knocking on the door of your hotel neighbor or calling them because they are making too much noise in the middle of the night may put your life at risk -weapons are almost always found when meth lab busts occur.

Why do meth cooks like to use motel and hotel rooms as meth labs? Using a motel or hotel room to make meth helps meth lab cooks keep their homes from becoming contaminated. It also protects their home and family from becoming involved in a meth lab explosion. Setting up a meth lab in a motel or hotel also keeps their neighbors from smelling the fumes of a meth lab cook coming from their home.  Motels and hotels are also popular spots for meth dealers to sell the finished product to their customers. They may rent rooms for a night to sell meth in addition to renting it to use as a meth lab.

While setting up a meth lab in a motel or hotel room is highly advantageous to meth cooks, it is extremely expensive for the motel and hotel industry, who may rent rooms to hundreds or thousands of individuals every month. The cost of testing and decontaminating a single room can cost the motel / hotel owner anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000, according to the AH&LA. Like private homeowners, who rent to others who use their property to make meth, or those who have bought a meth lab home without knowing the history of the home, motel and hotel owners are responsible for footing the cost of cleaning up the meth lab contamination.

Hotel and motels don’t actually rent out rooms that have been used as meth labs, do they?

According to meth lab cleanup professionals, like Joe Mazucca from Meth Lab Cleanup, LLC, the odds are that they do. Nearly 70% of of the contaminated properties that his company deals with are never reported. Those properties include all types of property including motels and hotels.

If a motel or hotel isn’t listed on the DEA’s website, then it’s safe, right?

The short answer to that question is – NO! The meth labs listed on the DEA website are only a partial list of meth labs that have been found in the U.S. The DEA list only includes information about busts that have been reported to them by law enforcement agencies, who submit that information to them on a strictly voluntary basis. Law enforcement agencies are not required to give that information to the DEA, therefore you shouldn’t view DEA lists of meth labs as complete lists.


  1. Yehuda Farkas says

    This is very true! Meth Lab Rooms are becoming more and more widespread. These criminals are even paying more and more money for higher-end accommodations for larger rooms, fancier hotels, and better locations close to urban drug centers. You have to be careful even in high-end, urban, business hotels.

    • Paul says

      The only way to be careful of being adversely affected in a hotel room is to stay home, but this does not guarantee that you will be safe at home, either. Even if you reside in a fully detached one-family house, it is not outside the realm of possibilities that drug lab fumes will invade your home via your drain pipes and the sewer line outside and under the street. Back to hotel and motel rooms: over the years I stayed in seven hotel buildings in Morris County, NJ which briefly held the title of being the wealthiest county in the country. All seven buildings were contaminated with most being extreme gas chambers. Let me tell you, being exposed to drug lab contamination is nothing short of extreme torture.

  2. Roy Wilkinson says

    How true, how true! I agree with all of the information in this article and can even add some! The only thing that the motel operator has to do is keep the motel room “sanitary” meaning clean the toilet and keep the linens clean. Beware of the low cost or even medium cost motels for your odds are pretty good at hitting a past meth lab…but that depends on the location you are in…how do you tell? Great question…contact your State Representative to voice your opinion to get the motels to start testing their rooms! You have a aright to stay in a CLEAN room!

  3. Kim says

    We’ve lived and worked at a motel for 3 years.there was a methlab here about a year ago above us..the room was not decontaminated my husband and I have many symptoms listed what do we do

    • says

      You should move out of that room as soon as possible. I would also let the health department and your doctor know what’s going on with the motel and your health. The health department needs to test your room and other rooms in that motel to determine how far the contamination has spread. Any rooms that have been contaminated need to be decontaminated for your health and the health of others that are working or staying in that motel. If you would like to test the room yourself, we sell meth testing kits that are highly sensitive. Talk to a lawyer about the situation, as well. Every state provides free legal services, if you can’t afford a lawyer.

    • Simon Beltry says

      Get a Prims air test and do the basic air sampling that even includes mold. If it comes back loud and you want to pay the extra $800 or so dollars to find out what it found and you see a bunch of benzenes, fuels (propane, hexane, decane), toluene, xylene, chloroform etc.) then that’s probably what you had. Science is the only thing that gets anything figured out.

      Insurance companies do not insure for meth labs or even bed bugs as there’s no way to prove liability. In other words they will say you could have done it yourself. Additionally without a bust it’s only sick building syndrome, not an ML. Lawyers are expensive and will not take on your case on contingency as tying any scientific proof on benzenes and other solvents is only “possible” and not absolute and expensive to prove. I will agree that a free legal service if available is a good course of action.

      Swabbing is very hit and miss and you can try it but if you don’t pick up meth that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t used as an ML. Your own location might be contaminated as well including your items. Hopefully that’s not the case. If they give you metallic breath, they’re toast.

      Legislation has not lifted a finger and continues to leave consumers as roadkill for this epidemic. If you are subjected to ML activity contaminated areas need to be torn down to the studs. The best and only advice for you if you’re getting sick living there is leave if you can. If you’re tied up in a lease proving that the building is toxic due to mystery but should still be enough to get you out regardless of outcome.

      I hope you can make changes to improve your quality of life and wish you the best. I hope we all can because taking an axe to the door is unfortunately not a solution at the current time.

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