SafeWork Laboratories offers residual drug surface testing to protect businesses from Methamphetamine abuse among workers. Our laboratory-based drug testing detects traces of ice (crystal meth) and other amphetamine-type drugs in the workplace.

The Need for Laboratory Methamphetamine Surface Testing

Crystal meth
Crystal meth, also known as ice, is a white crystalline drug known to affect the central nervous system.

For years, Australia has dealt with an ever-worsening ice epidemic. Ice refers to crystal meth, a strong and highly addictive drug that affects the central nervous system.

Ice abuse has become so alarming that former Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared the drug as a national “menace”. This was appropriate since the country has one of the highest ice usage rates in the world.

Simply using methamphetamine may potentially contaminate a room, whether it’s in a commercial or residential site. This is especially true if the drug is smoked (Martyny et al 2008).

People most at risk include those making the meth, anyone living in an old and still-contaminated lab. The drug is also particularly lethal to pregnant women and children.

Toddlers between 6 months and 2 years old sometimes come in contact with meth-contaminated objects when they explore. They can get it when they crawl on the floor or put things in their mouths.

However, adults are not immune to the effects of meth as well. Those who live in houses where the drug has regularly been used are also at risk.

Furthermore, people who smoke meth whilst driving will very likely leave behind some drug residue. This can be very harmful to other people who will come into contact with it.

In Australia, Methamphetamine is often made in home labs, often using simple kitchen utensils. These can be easily mistaken for the same ones used for cooking food.

Variations of Meth Labs

Drug makers often produce meth either in small ‘user’ labs or large ‘production’ labs.

Illegal drug makers often produce Meth in two basic types of facilities: a ‘user’ lab and a ‘production’ lab.

User labs are small facilities that typically produce 50-gram batches of meth. Meanwhile, production labs are larger buildings that produce and sell high amounts of the drug themselves.

Western Australia and South Australia has some of the highest levels of meth use in the country. However, meth productions remains mostly centred in drug-making facilities in Queensland.

As a whole, Australia has a nationwide problem with meth contamination sites. The issue has made its way to both urban and rural settings. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of meth labs can be found in residential areas. What’s worse is that nearly a fourth (23%) of these areas have children living there.

In Australia, a decontaminated site has to have under 0.5 micrograms of meth detectable per every 100 square metres. This is the only way for it to be declared fit for use.

In 2017, a family in Victoria reportedly got seriously ill after unknowingly moving into an old meth lab. The brood included children as young as 7 and 8. The kids had meth exposure limits that were 8,000 times over the ‘safe’ level. The family’s realtor had supposedly listed the site as ‘prime property’.

Newell (2008) reported that we had detected only around 10% of the meth labs in Australia. This figure has not substantially changed since, and it may even be significant overestimation. Data from New Zealand shows 32% of regular drug users in 2011 ‘cooked’ their own drugs (Wilkins et al 2012). 

Residual Drug Surface Testing Laboratory (NATA Accredited Lab ISO/IEC 17025:2017)

SW Labs’ drug surface testing service follow strict rules set by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) Australia.

Our residual drug surface testing meets stringent requirements under ISO/IEC 17025. This includes the testing and analysis of filter, swab and wipe samples for illicit drugs, such as:

We also provide a fully validated and externally verified method for testing.

There are currently no formal standards covering methamphetamine surface testing. However, we use the Australian National Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Guidelines. We also follow the US Environmental Protection Agency ‘Voluntary Guidelines for Methamphetamine Laboratory Cleanup’.

Additionally, SW Labs has received full accreditation from the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia.

Who is testing?

Several sectors have begun surface testing for drug residue in their premises. These include Commercial and Residential property owners, landlords, tenants, and real estate agents. There are also Finance and Banking, Insurance Companies, Car Rental Companies, and Company Fleet Automobiles who’ve undergone testing.

Meth smoking often leaves drug residue behind. By testing for these particles, we can provide you with confirmation whether your property or vehicle is safe for use.

SafeWork Laboratories Drug and Alcohol Testing

Safework Laboratories drug testing
SW Labs owns and operates a national network of testing facilities.

SW Labs own and operate our own national network of labs exclusively testing drugs. This allows us to offer a 48-hour turnaround of results from receipt of samples. Faster turnaround times save you time and money!

As a true national provider, we operate out of six locations:

We have also three NATA-accredited laboratories in Brisbane, Perth, and Melbourne. 

Depending on your requirements, we can customize your drug testing plan to cater to your specific needs. We can also offer you Lab Composite Analysis, Individual Sample Analysis, or even both.

SafeWork Laboratories has an unparalleled wealth of advisory services and testing capabilities. This includes laboratory and screening tests across a range of sample types. Our experience working with organisations across different industry sectors lets us create a solution that is right for each client.

Department of Health (DoH) Advice

For more information, the Department of Health (DoH) outlines guidance on the correct clean-up processes for remediation of illicit drugs (removal of methylamphetamine) contamination. SW Labs are one of a select few companies that are qualified for testing and remediating chemical residues. DoH has provided a detailed list of qualified Forensic Testers, Cleaning Contractors and Laboratory Analysis Providers.