Awareness for property owners, managers and the real estate community
Unlike other clandestine drug lab, those used for producing illicit fentanyl tend to be smaller due to the extreme toxicity. Make-shift drug labs are increasing in numbers in Canada and they have been found just about anywhere: in rented homes and apartments, motel rooms, rental trucks, abandoned buildings, barns and garden sheds.
Be alert for signs of a potential fentanyl drug lab operation, including:
• Unusual amount of white or coloured powder on walls, floors, countertops, furniture, clothes dryer or vent
• Unusual thumping sounds that could indicate a pill press machine
• Chemical odours - often a strong vinegar smell
• Tenants reluctant to allow landlords to schedule showings or inspections
• Payment of rent in cash
• Surveillance cameras
• Curtains always drawn
• Exhaust fans running at odd times. Residents may wear filtration masks, safety glasses or other protective equipment; may remark that they are "painting".
Illicit fentanyl labs are time bombs filled with poisoned air and large amounts of contaminates. Those living around them, including children unfortunately, and visitors to the property can suffer severe health consequences. After a property is contaminated, it may be considered an environmental hazard. * Remediation and clean-up may be the responsibility of the owner and not covered by insurance.
How to protect your property and your visitors:
• Obtain a credit history
• References should be mandatory and followed-up
• Check the property regularly
• Look for signs
Any suspected clandestine fentanyl lab requires a response by trained law enforcement officers wearing proper personal protective equipment. If you suspect drug lab activity, leave the area immediately. Do not investigate. Do not enter the premise.
Contact your local police.
More: A drug 100 times more potent than heroin is getting processed in the kitchen blenders of clandestine labs
Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario since 1994.