Drug Manufacturing

Clandestine drug laboratories are where illegal drugs are secretly manufactured. They have been uncovered in a wide variety of places, including houses, hotel rooms, sheds, garages, car boots, caravans and bushland.

Although some laboratories are large scale, all the equipment and items needed to produce illegal drugs can be assembled in a space no bigger than a kitchen table. The chemicals and processes used can be extremely dangerous.

What if you accidentally find a drug laboratory?

To preserve your safety you should leave the site immediately, without touching or interfering with the equipment, chemicals, electrical or water supply that may be present.

Notify police immediately by calling 131 444 or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

How you can help

To help us help you we ask that in your day-to-day activities you be aware of the following indicators of clandestine drug laboratories:

  • Strong unpleasant or chemical odours similar to ammonia or solvents in places you wouldn't expect them to be.
  • Large numbers of empty cough, cold or allergy medicine boxes, bottles or blister packs.
  • Out of place chemistry or laboratory equipment such as glass flasks, beakers, rubber tubing. Few people enjoy chemistry as a hobby and therefore the presence of these items is cause for concern.
  • Plastic bottles or jars containing strange looking or multiple layer liquids.
  • Large amounts of chemical containers, drums, drain cleaner, acid or garden fertiliser that appear inconsistent with practical use, where they are located and/or the habits of the owners.
  • An unusually large number of gas cylinders.

What about health risks?

The main health risks from drug manufacturing are to those making the drug. Risks include exposure to the drug and associated chemicals, fire and explosions. Other building occupants are also at risk during the operation and from dangerous drug residues that persist for many years on internal surfaces.

More information on the risks and their management can be accessed on the Department of Health's Clandestine drug laboratories webpage.

How to report suspected illegal drug manufacturing

If you have information about a secret, illegal drug manufacturing place, the people doing it or supplying the substances needed, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.