The University of Arizona

Clandestine Labs and Forms of Methamphetamine
Clandestine Drug Labs:
Methods of Production in Clandestine Labs

The three main cooking methods for producing MA are [1]:

  • The phenyl-2-propanone (P2P) method
  • The red phosphorus (red P) method
  • The Nazi dope (lithium or sodium reduction) method

The P2P method is less common now because [1]:

  • Phenyl acetic acid, the main precursor chemical, is strictly regulated and hard to obtain
  • It takes longer to produce MA with this method
  • It produces more impure MA that is less potent

The other two methods of producing MA are more popular and both use ephedrine or pseudoephedrine as the main precursor chemical.  The red P method uses iodine and the Nazi dope method uses lithium or sodium metal strips and anhydrous ammonia to synthesize ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.[1]



  • (1) Scott MS. Clandestine Drug Labs. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice; 2002 Mar 19. Report No.: 16.