Drug Identification
Prescription Pills

The misuse and abuse of prescription pills is a rising trend in the illegal narcotics trade. High school and college students often have easy access to legitimate drugs like Vicodin (hydrocodone), Adderall, Oxycontin, and other painkillers and mind-altering drugs; however these substances can be abused just like illicit substances such as marijuana and cocaine.  Many of the medications mentioned are simply chemically-reduced versions of heroin and morphine.  All prescription drugs are considered controlled substances, which is why a doctor's prescription is required in the first place.  Pills can be addicting and pose dangerous side effects when taken by someone who does not need them.  If pills are given or sold to anyone other than the person on the prescription label, it is illegal and potentially highly damaging to the body.

Are you worried about those capsules you found in your teenager's room? Suspect that someone you know is "under the influence" but there is no evidence of alcohol or typical illegal street drugs? There is a good chance that pills are involved. If you find pills outside of a labeled container (or in a container with no label at all), there is already a problem.

See this Pill Identification Wizard provided by Drugs.com for more information on determining what specific substances look like.


Methamphetamine or meth is an extremely dangerous drug. As of late 2006, its usage, manufacture, and sale is not statistically high in central or northern Illinois; however, meth has reached epidemic levels in the southern parts of the state and it will likely move toward our communities in the future. Knowing how to identify and report the signs of meth is the #1 weapon we have, to stop it in its tracks.

Do you suspect a meth lab might be operating in your neighborhood?

It's possible, because any house, apartment, garage, or mobile home could contain a meth lab. Mini "rolling" labs have even been discovered in the trunks of cars. Here are a few characteristics common to the clandestine production of meth:

- Unusual odors in the area. These odors smell like ammonia, cat urine, rotten eggs, and ether

- Open windows or exhaust fans in windows during cold weather

- Unusual or heavy foot traffic at the residence or at a structure on the property especially late at night

- Due to the highly volatile nature of the chemicals used to manufacture meth, individuals involved in the process may exit the residence or building in order to smoke.

Do you work in a retail store that sells items used to manufacture methamphetamine?

Most of the ingredients used to produce meth are common household items that can be purchased from just about any grocery store, drug store, hardware store or automotive supply. If you work in a retail store that sells any of the following items, please be alert to individuals or groups of individuals attempting to purchase large quantities of the following items:

- Cold medication containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine

- Lithium batteries (usually size AA)

- Automotive starting fluid (ether)

- Red Devil or similar brand drain cleaner

- Table salt

- Coffee filters

People involved in the manufacture of meth know the laws and store policies regarding the sale of cold tables that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. Most realize that if they attempt to purchase several boxes at one time, they increase their chances of being suspected and arrested. In order to avoid detection, these meth cooks and their helpers will make numerous purchases of 1 or 2 boxes of cold tablets. These purchases might be spread out during the same day using different check out lanes or they might purchase one or two boxes of cold medication every other day. The above methods can be utilized despite the modern limitations that pharmacies have on selling these medications. Be alert for these structured transactions.

What you can do to help keep our neighborhoods safe

If you suspect an individual, or group of individuals is attempting to purchase a combination of the items used to manufacture meth, here is what you can do:

Do not attempt to confront the individuals about their purchase. Meth cooks and their associates can be DANGEROUS.

Notify your store manager immediately and contact your local police department.

Follow state laws regarding the sale of cold medication containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine (no more than two packages per transaction).

Observe what the suspicious person or persons are wearing.

If possible, note the type of vehicle and its license plate.

Provided a copy of any store security tapes to the investigating officer.


Support from members of the public like you is a powerful investigative tool. If you have information on the illegal distribution of these or other drugs, please contact us by using the form on our Welcome page or by e-mailing tip@taskforce6.com.