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You might not have ever thought about it but buying or renting a property without testing for things like meth residue or other drug traces can have dangerous effects. Learning the signs of a drug house, and things like how to clean a house with drug residue present can save you in the long run.

When you’re excited about buying a new home or finally find that perfect rental property, the last thing you want is illegal drug residue on the walls. A growing sector in the building inspections industry is meth and other drug testing. The use of methamphetamine (commonly known as meth, ‘crystal’ or ‘ice’) has become a growing public health concern across Australia, with use of the narcotic increasing 37% between 2016 and 2019 according to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC). Unfortunately for the property market, this has led to an increase in houses being used as ‘drug houses.’ It’s estimated that 1.4% of people in Australia smoke meth every year, so the likelihood of vacant homes on the market formerly being used to manufacture or smoke the drug is increasingly high. It’s important to learn what drug residue is, how to test a house for meth residue and how long drug residue lasts in a property.

1. What is meth testing?

It’s the process of testing a house for drugs by checking walls, carpets, ceilings, insulation, ventilation systems, even things like wiring and plumbing. Many properties have been discovered to be meth labs or hubs for other types of drug manufacturing and consuming. A house doesn’t have to be a fully-fledged meth lab for residue to be present, it can be found inside homes where just smoking meth has taken place. This dangerous residue can remain present and contaminate the house the same way it would if the drug was being manufactured there. Australian guidelines state removal of contaminated parts of a drug house should occur when levels are 0.5 micrograms per 100 sq cm of the contaminated surface, so it’s imperative to test your new property before moving in. As part of our comprehensive pre-purchase property inspections we can, upon request, also inspect elements of the house that may be harbouring residue or remnants of meth and other drugs.

2.What happens when meth is present inside a house

Meth is an extremely addictive narcotic that affects the central nervous system. It is a white, odorless powder that can easily be dissolved in water or alcohol, which can make it almost undetectable to the naked eye. Signs that your new house or rental property may have been used as a meth house:
  • Strong odours (acrid, sour, solvents, ammonia)
  • Discolouration of structures, soil and pavement or driveway
  • Burned, stained or yellowed walls
  • Rust in uncommon places such as window fittings or door handles
The professional team of building inspectors at Rapid Building Inspections have expertise in identifying the signs of a drug house and can recommend the best ways to clean your property.

3. What are the health effects of living in a meth contaminated house?

There are many dangerous effects of living in a former drug house. Dr Jackie Wright from Flinders University explains ‘exposure can occur through skin absorption, ingestion of residues that are transferred to hands or objects and inhalation of vapours and dusts. Once exposed, methamphetamine enters the body and can result in a range of health effects.’ While it might not be obvious at first, residents may soon start to experience:
  • Insomnia
  • Severe respiratory problems
  • Dizziness
  • Eye irritations
  • Nausea
  • Skin rashes
  • Loss of appetite
Dr Wright also states that ‘the potential for health effects to occur depends on the level of contamination present, the age and sensitivity of the individual,’ meaning that members of your family might be at further or more hazardous risk. These symptoms are particularly dangerous for children who will feel the impact much worse than adults living amid meth residue, making it imperative to carry out comprehensive drug testing at your property.

4. Cleaning drug residue at your house

It is best to hire a professional to carry out the clean-up if drug residue is discovered. The team at Rapid Building Inspections are now testing houses across Australia for meth residue and other drug contamination. Servicing major hubs including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart the way you would rely on a smoke detector, rely on Rapid Build Inspections to assess your dream home is drug free. Contact us today.

Get in touch with the team at Rapid today We are available 7-days a week

If you still have any questions, feel free to contact us, and we’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

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Our friendly team are here to help you, 7 days a week, with all the facts you need to make a smart decision. If you wish to book an inspection or just have a few questions, please don’t hesitate to call us today on 1300 407 341.
We offer a wide range of services and inspect more than 10,000 homes a year. So, whether you are looking for a building inspection in Perth, a pre-purchase pest and building inspection in Melbourne or anywhere in between, our services are trusted nationwide. We even provide dilapidation reports and building inspections in Hobart!
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