This file is a part of the Rhodium site archive. This Aug 2004 static snapshot is hosted by Erowid
as of May 2005 and is not being updated. > > Back to Rhodium Archive Index > >

Birch reduction of Pseudoephedrine to Methamphetamine

by Morph in Oz


This is the completely factual way that my associates used to reduce the OTC psudafed tablets into Methamphetamine in this country. It still works and is still a valid way to produce a high profit substance that goes for a 14 - 1 cut and yields 80% and up conversion to the product from pseudoephedrine precursor. It is rumoured that I was one of the first to commercialize this method into Australia, where the text from Fester was reviewed and backreferenced by me in order to authenticate its scientific validity and apply the most economical means that avoided attention. My aim was to avoid all the big crews in reliance on purchasing precursors, like pseudo and red phosphorus in order to avoid the risk of getting busted for affiliation. I found Melbourne crews especially careless with their talk, egos etc whenthey were under surveillance.

The amphetamine market looks as though it is quite a lucrative one as long as you dont get wasted or associate with too many vain crims when you become known. When you have a quantity of high quality substance and reputable dealers find out about you, the "sucking" starts and so do the games. I used to be a young crim and have observed the pitfalls of myself and other young associates and had to do time as a result. Popularity turns to temporary fame and your confidence gets played out, mainly if you confuse friendship with business, and surveillance can start on you if you mix with the so called "big" names... especially in clubs where the real undertcover cops, are the cameras that in criminal hangouts get checked on a regular basis by the "constabulary".

I see amphetamine markets as a good spinner for some since the structures of the heroin and cocaine industries are tightly controlled by the upper echolon who preserve their positions by police interaction and trade offs of their competition and "young" up and comers, when things are getting squeezed. Many crews who have been around are not totally independant, their background finance is usually heroin and/or some cocaine, which in Australia is a rarer drug that is for the more expensive end of society. It's good, it's all good - but only for a while...get in and out - remember this.

Anyway, back to the drawing board.The "birch" reaction is attractive because of the high yields, it produces compared to the other mass production methods. The realistic figure for HI/red mix is only usually 50 % realistically, and lengthy steam distillation is always needed to separate the leftover Pseudoephedrine from the product. The real proportions for the red method for any scale is:

  • 10 kg of pseudoephedrine hydrochloride
  • 10 litres of hydriodic acid and,
  • 2-3 kg of red phosphorus depending if it has been reused or not.

Reflux for 48 hrs for larger reactions and 30 hrs when the result will be less than a kilo. Filter(wash collected phosphorus with distilled water and reuse!), basify, steam distill oil layer, separate add solvent and crystallise...I'm sure you can work the details out if you have access to the precursors!

Back to the point, I will give you practical everyday talk because the mathematical equations and organic chemistry jargon has already been worked out... I don't need to prove my scholarly prowess or to confuse you either. Fester isn't a bad entertainment reference to get ideas from and to get used to instruction with handling bits and pieces if you're new. But like most references, there are assumptions and spelling mistakes that really can procrastinate a successful result indefinitely...

If you have interests and have read up on him, avoid all Mehtylene dioxy reactions like you would the plague. You can be round about with speed and still get some sort of result...but not the aromatic variations. Reading the bromosafrole reactions made me think that he's never made Ecstacy in his life... but on the good side, he's not a bad writer on this subject. I'd be inclined to side with Eleusis on aforementioned issues but if you have half a brain, you back reference Fester's material in which he gives references honestly and freely. To make things doesn't take a chemical genius, except to newly work out the most accessible reactions with the most economical and lowkey equipment. It takes more hands on experience and familiarity, which breeds contempt as it did with me which is why I changed careers and stay out of trouble, I can afford to.

Anyway there has been an extension to the old 100 grammer so it can be stepped up to 200-250 grams without a hassle, and too much costly reagents. Repeat process can yield a kilo in about 6-9 hours. The longest time is to collect the packets of psudafed brands and other brands(amcal) that contain purely pseudoephedrine HCL. In victorian chemists, it is safe to get 2 packets of 30's per person so a couple of people shopping around for a couple of weeks can slowly get a suitable amount of ephedrine. A packet of 30's is 30 * 60mg = 1.8 g suzy which converts to 1.3 g end result minimum. 60's and 90's used to be available but I'm afraid that most of us fucked it up for you over the last few years! The chemists in 1997 were legislated to call the drug squad directly if a person bought 3 packets of 90's...that's because crooks, like the late Mad Charlie (RIP - assasinated a couple of years back), were sending guys in to collect 10 or more packets...etc so the alarm bells went. The rest of us had to contend with 1 * 90 per chemist, it was worth it according to my friends over the long run.

Simple brief instructions.The acid salt suzy HCL is needed for acidic reactions like the HI/P whilst the freebase suzy is needed for the alkali (ammonia/alkali metal) reaction. Freebase l or d -ephedrine is an oil in freebase form, similar to meth, but d-pseudoephedrine is a solid, flake freebase which is only slightly soluble in water. The modern glues make the popular water extraction methods impossible to filter the methyl cellulose. So hence:

  • crush tablets finely in blender
  • soak in bucket with 3 volumes (to the solid) of acetone, preferably anhydrous acetone for 6 hours.
  • Vacuum filter, wash solid with extra acetone, filter through, collect solid and dry at 50 C or low heat in agriller on a pyrex dish. Discard acetone and MC mix.
  • When fully dry, dissolve powder in 2 volumes of water, stir to dissolve of course. The lactose filler and suzy dissolve but the talc filler stays visible.
  • Vaccuum filter after solution has been stirred. This can take a while, and a few filter papers.
  • Rinse talc cakes with a little water before changing filter papers. If done properly, the filtrate is crystal clear with a slight yellowy tinge.
  • Premix caustic soda solution. In simple terms, stick 2 tablespoons into every 200 mls of water. For every 25 pkts of 90's or 75 pkts of 30's, mix in 200ml of NaOH soln.
  • Mix in well and suzy HCL is basified into freebase solid form in water, it can make the solution white and thick.
  • Vaccuum filter and colect all solid. Before changing filter paper or finishing, rinse fb cake with 200 mls of distilled water to collect any excess, trapped lactose,NaOH or NaCL.
  • Carefully collect all fb suzy and spread in a pyrex dish. Put under a griller to dry, do so slowly with low to moderate heat with occasional sifting with a spoon. This stuff melts at 110 C so the ideal temp is 100-105 C. This will give a fishy ephedrine smell that clears a blocked nose and soothes the throat.
  • Weigh up dry FB suzy and prepare other components for the reaction.

Read Fester for the basic rundown of this reaction, this one actually works, yet it is quite stinky at the start and during separation of h20/ether or toluene layers.

#Tips for the alkali metal:

Purchase Lithium metal (in paraffin oil of course) or Sodium metal (also in P.O.) from a small chemical outlet under a business name, not from commercial or analytical outlets, where they are particular about such things. Sodium is less expensive but is somewhat more dangerous and you need more for the reactions. For a 250 gram suzy reaction, measure out; 38 - 46 grams of lithium or 84-100 grams of sodium work, use abit more if the metal appears crumbly and old and varying this catalyst can vary the quality slightly. Use gloves when measuring and use a small bowl of et2o or tol to rinse paraffin off metal, dry in paper towel thoroughly and accumlate measured metal in a freezer bag. If you are being precise, cut and measure soft metals with a butterknife whilst oil is on it and use oil to cover cuts when applying pressure. As long as you don't sneeze or get water on metal, this is relatively safe procedure. Care, dexterity and thoughtfulness are necessities whenever cooking. Rushing or taking drugs leads to disaster, explosions, fire, spillages and sometimes arrest. Always keep a cool clear head. Seal bag of metal when finished and stick in a cool dark place until needed. Use in same day. Proportions for smaller reactions, just scale it to 14-16 g Li for 100 g suzy additions or 33 - 38g Na.

#Tips for solvent:

You can use either toluene, which is cheaper in 20L tins compared to diethyl ether. They both dissolve about the same amount of freebase suzy, yet ether takes less time to dry and some people believe ether gives a slightly better product. This is purely speculative. Some use half tol/half ether etc. Freebase suzy has a low dissolution rate in solvents compared to freebase oil meth. 4L will typically dissolve 100 grams comfortably and perhaps abit more when solution is warmed to room temperature(20 C). That's 40 mls per gram, this wastes alot of solvent, especially when it turns to meth oil that dissolves in 8-15 mls per solvent per gram after its converted, depending on isomer percentages that we believe alter a little. So prepare the 200mls of pre-addition solvent(it's not entirely necessary) and dissolve 60 - 65 grams in 2.5 L of solvent. Mix well and let settle. Undissolved purities wil settle to the bottom and you can filter this through a funnel and sheet of paper towel (non bleached). Cover and save this, keep the remainder of the freebase (40-190g for this single reaction),ground up fine in a plastic bag.

#Tips for NH3:

When you get your gas bottle of ammonia from BOC or other acetylene suppliers, get the associated mask and cartridges for NH3 and if a full face mask is too costly, use swimming goggles for the eyes., Always use gloves and cover up exposed skin, if you get skin burn just rinse it with water, and shower after a cook, you reek. Use a bathroom with a fan, open window for the main addition reaction. When getting liquid NH3 into erlenmeyer, tip tube upside down, stick a fitted pvc hose and empty 2.3 L of liquid into a dry plastic measuring flask. This way, you can measure abit more accurately, then tip NH3 into dry 4L erlenmeyer which is snug in a bucket of dry ice and tol or acetone half covering the ice, etc etc.

#Tips for additions:

Keep a plastic bag over the top of th 4L erlenmeyer to prevent dry ice, ice solvent(supercooling) whilst fitting it into the bucket system. Make sure stirrer is absolutely dry before dropping it into the flask. Add NH3 as described, activate stirrer, Add metal in and wait 20 minutes for it to dissolve, check, with a torch make sure it continues to stir and it all dissolves. Solution should turn dark blue to black and be really murky, if it stays clear add pre addition 200 ml solvent gently and this should help things along. Wait longer if you have to, success depends on all the metal dissolving. Just add more ice around the flask and keep it level near the top of the flask, push down occasionally on the dry ice because it forms gaps as it melts. Try not to add too much solvent to the dry ice as this will melt the ice quicker, have it 2/3 the way up the ice, this will take some rough calculation and observation. When confident of dissolution of all the metal, add pre addition solvent (200ml) gently. Then slowly drip pour the solvent with the freebase in it into the supercooled solution. Take regular pauses when the mist of ammonia rise out of the top of the erlenmeyer. On addition turn the stirrer up to a fast stirring pace. When pausing, cover top of flask covered with gloved hand or plastic bag and wait until mist goes and you can see solution again. Take your time at first, then make it quicker near the end - 20 minutes. Now total liquids in the flask are more than 4 L volume in a 4 L erl flask, why does it fit? Why is it so? Well the dry ice and solvent are keeping the solution between -38C and -46C so the density of the solvent occupies a somewhat smaller volume. Now that all the liquid additions are made, it's time to sprinkle the majority of the remaining freebase gently into the dark solution and turn up the stirrer to the safest fastest pace. The majority of the freebase in the solvent has already been converted to meth so there is lots of space for more to go in. After another 10-15 minutes the rest of the powdered freebase should be in the solution. Cover top and leave for 15-25 minutes. keep ice jacked up around flask. There should be 250 g of fb suzy in there to be converted.

#Tips for neutralisation and seperation:

Pull flask from ice with gloved hands and teatowells, this is cold...pour through dry strainer ( to catch undissolved Li or Na ) into clear square plastic bucket (like a 25L kids toy container, with lid from hardware store is ideal) that is immune to solvent. Do this with mask in a well ventilated room. throw any pieces of caught undissolved metal into a plastic bag. Tie up an flush down a friends toilet for a joke...Water additions create Naoh or LiOH but these whitish precipitates dissolve in water whilst your product stays in the upper solvent layer, so need not worry. Having no shiny bits that blow up floating on your dark mix makes slow water addition quite safe. I know from experience. Rinse erlenmeyer with 500 ml solvent, swirl and pour through strainer into main mix. Pour water in main mix and stir until solution turns clear and all whitish precipitates have dissolved. There is alot of ammonia smell steam from this. Leave covered for half to 1 hr then separate top solvent layer,dry by pouring in some oven dryed epsom saltsand stiring to pickup any residual water and pour through paper towel into a container to be crystallised. Flush NH3 water down toilet and most of your smell problem will be gone...

#Tips for crystallization with this:

Using one of those clear plastic buckets is ideal so you can keep glass down to a minimum, pour in solvent/freebase meth mix. Festers Hcl gas generator is ok, but we down under prefer to simplify it a bit. Pour 200 g non-iodised salt into a 2 L filtration flask, this flask has 2 ft length of clear ptfe hose on vac. nipple. Pour 98% sulfuric into a plastic pouring flask and pour 50 mls at a time onto salt and stopper. HCL gas immediately bubbles through solvent and creates NH3CL smoke which is harmless to breathe but gets quite thick. Watch bubbling froth in gas flask, tilt and swirl to reduce froth. Just unstopper, pour 50 ml acid and restopper quickly to keep it going. About 10 minutes roughly goes by and the only thing you generate is thick smoke from the surface of solvent. Keep going and after smoke generation dies down, crystals begin to form. Keep gassing until , white crystal layer begins to settle and alot of HCL gas rises from surface (you'll begin to smell it, do this with a fan and open window going...). Take vaccuum flask when finished and carefully pour water in to acid mix to neutralise it. Filter solvent, collect product and wash with a little solvent and gently dry crystals in a grill on a pyrex dish...etc You can retest the ether with litmus paper and if it still registers an alkali presence (turns blue), repeat procedure.

Please excuse the simplicity, but the KISS principal stands true. This is tried and tested and since 1997 is old news to us. 8 oz's of 14 - 1 100% pure is worth abit of money. If done twice, a lb is worth $42,000 in Victoria wholesale. Thats a bit of chemist travelling to get 300 boxes of 30's, at 10$ a box, which is the main expense, but who's complaining when you've paid off the house? It also keeps you independant from the main crews in the production deals so you don't have to fork out 50% for them supplying the ephedrine. Sell quickly, sell bulk C.O.D. and enjoy life. Independance is the key and soon this simplicity will be hampered with by authorities.

Yours independantly, Morph in Oz.

P.S. If you are left with smelly, wet or oily crystal, dissolve uncut into minimum water and boiloff in a pyrex dish, this will leave you with fairly dry immutable crystal "plates" that have to be scraped off.