A property management company with operations in California and Washington contacted Eco Bear regarding an apartment in which a tenant had been evicted. The court issued an eviction order in the case and even then, the tenant did not depart voluntarily. Law enforcement came to the scene to remove the tenant from the premises.
Upon the physical removal of the tenant, it was discovered that the evicted individual had been using some type or types of drugs in the apartment. The apartment looked like what one fairly could call a “drug den.” There were items of drug paraphernalia strewn about the premises.
There is uncertainty as to what types of drugs were likely used in the premises. Therefore, the property management company contacted another service before contacting Eco Bear. This company intended to charge an outlandish amount of money to test the premises in order to ascertain whether drug contamination had occurred. The other service intended to charge $5,000 to test only for meth and fentanyl. As will be discussed later in this article, this price truly is beyond excessive.
Much attention is paid in the media and elsewhere to the hazards caused by meth labs and fentanyl prep shops. What is often overlooked is that the use of these types of drugs, as well as opioids, in an apartment, condo, or other type of residence can leave harmful residues in their wake. Before digging deeper into testing an apartment to confirm or identify possible dangerous drug contamination, we divert for a moment to overview the dangers potentially present in premises where meth, fentanyl, or opioids were consumed.
Potential Effects of Contamination Caused by Meth Use
Turning first to meth use, there are a number of primary aftereffects of using methamphetamines in a residential location that can persist after the user vacates and a desire or need exists to make the property available to a new party or tenant. These include:
- Meth can be smoked in the apartment, leaving behind residue on surfaces and even in the air. This residue can contain dangerous chemicals and can be harmful to anyone who comes in contact with it, including future tenants.
- The chemicals contained in meth can seep into porous materials like carpets, drapes, and upholstery. These materials can absorb these chemicals, which can be difficult to remove and can pose a risk to anyone who comes into contact with them.
- Meth users may not properly dispose of drug paraphernalia, leading to contamination of the apartment. Used needles, pipes, and other drug-related items can contain bodily fluids that can spread infections and diseases. In this case, drug paraphernalia was apparent in the apartment occupied by the tenant who had been evicted.
- As an aside, fumes from cooking meth can corrode pipes and fixtures, leading to leaks and further contamination.
Potential Effects of Contamination Caused by Fentanyl Use
Some of the most significant and commonplace types of contamination that can persist in the aftermath of fentanyl use in an apartment or other type of residence includes:
- Contaminated surfaces: Fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin, so even touching a surface that has been contaminated with fentanyl can be dangerous.
- Residue on cloth surfaces: If someone who has used fentanyl enters an apartment, they can leave residue on furniture, bedding, and other surfaces.
- Airborne particles: Fentanyl can become airborne when it is smoked or snorted. These particles can settle on surfaces throughout the apartment.
- Drug paraphernalia: Used needles, pipes, and other drug paraphernalia can be contaminated with fentanyl and can spread the drug throughout the apartment.
- Sewage contamination: Fentanyl can be excreted in urine and feces, which can contaminate the sewage system and potentially affect other apartments in the building.
Potential Effects of Contamination Caused by Opioid Use
As is the case with meth and fentanyl, there are a number of ways in which the use of opioids – including the misuse of pharmacuticals containing opioids – can result in contamination in a residence like an apartment. These include:
- Drug paraphernalia: The presence of used needles, syringes, or other drug-related equipment can lead to contamination if not properly disposed of.
- Drug preparation: The process of preparing opioids for use, such as crushing pills or mixing substances, can result in the release of particles or residue that can contaminate surfaces.
- Spills and leaks: Accidental spills or leaks of opioid substances can contaminate floors, walls, or furniture if not promptly cleaned up.
- Improper disposal of waste: Inadequate disposal of drug-related waste, such as empty pill bottles or drug packaging, can contribute to contamination if left in the apartment.
- Environmental contamination: Opioid use may attract pests or rodents that can carry and spread contaminants throughout the apartment.
Testing for the Presence of Drug Contamination in an Apartment or Other Residence
The apartment in question is modest in size. Nonetheless, multiple samples will need to be taken from the premises in order to obtain an accurate determination of whether or not the premises have been contaminated and in order to identify the drug (or drugs) in question. In this instance, about five samples are likely going to be necessary.
Eco Bear quoted the property management company $1,000 for the testing – significantly less than the amount of money the competition intended to charge (again, that was $5,000).
If it is determined that contamination has occurred, Eco Bear and the property management company will discuss the best strategy to follow to effectively, safely, and completely remediate the contamination. Transparent pricing for this service will be the order of the day. Moreover, the fee charged by Eco Bear for this type of service typically is 50 percent less than the competition (if not more, as was the case with the testing phase.