Meth fills hospitals with burn patients - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Meth fills hospitals with burn patients

By JIM SALTER
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A crude new method of making methamphetamine poses a risk even to Americans who never get anywhere near the drug: It is filling hospitals with thousands of uninsured burn patients requiring millions of dollars in advanced treatment - a burden so costly that it's contributing to the closure of some burn units.

So-called shake & bake meth is produced by combining unstable ingredients in a 2-liter soda bottle. The slightest error can cause an explosion resulting in disfigurement, blindness, even death.

An Associated Press survey of key hospitals in the nation's most active meth states showed that up to a third of patients in some burn units were hurt while making meth, and most were uninsured. One study found that the average meth patient runs up medical bills of $130,000.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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