Illicit drug and meth smoke houses

If illicit drugs, especially methamphetamine (meth, ice), are smoked in a home the drug will form residues on adjacent surfaces. The level of contamination will increase with quantity, duration and frequency of smoking but only in more severe situations will the residue levels approach those of drug manufacture (clan lab). 

Where meth surface residues are found, they are highly likely to be from smoking meth.  Therefore, if there is no suspicion or evidence of clan lab operation at a property any residue found should be presumed to be from meth smoking. The clean-up methods for smoke houses are generally less extensive than what is required for drug manufacture.

The Department has released a detailed position statement on Public Health Risks of Residues from smoking Methylamphetamine in Homes (PDF 174KB) and Guide for testing and remediation of methylamphetamine and illicit drug residues in residential properties (PDF 736KB).  This Guide is intended for use by illicit drug contamination and testing companies but may be cited in to give regulatory direction in a Notice issued by a Local Government Authority to the property owner under relevant public health legislation. Both documents have been informed by the technical report on Public health risks of methylamphetamine (meth) smoke houses (PDF 1MB).

It is recommended that any investigation of illicit drug contamination is undertaken by suitably qualified companies.  The Department provides a list of qualified drug contamination service providers (73KB) which have been reviewed to ensure they are capable of undertaking work in accordance with the Guide.  Other providers may be unqualified and/or do unsatisfactory work.

If any contamination is suspected or known to be from a clan lab, then it will be subject to more thorough clean-up guidance and training. Visit Clandestine drug labs for more information.

If in doubt, contact us for advice on what management process may be appropriate.

More information

Environmental Health Directorate
Phone: (08) 9222 2000

Last reviewed: 13-09-2023
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Environmental Health Directorate