Making methamphetamine is a multi-step cook process. The key ingredient is ephedrine or its cousin, pseudoephedrine. Both are chemicals found in over-the-counter cold, cough and allergy medicines. Additional chemicals are used to isolate the ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, cook it into meth, and process it into a form for consumption. These chemicals can be cheap, everyday household items like ammonia, lye, and red phosphorus scraped from matchbook covers. Start to finish, the cook process takes about 48 hours and can be hazardous because at one or more stages, the solution needs to be heated, producing toxic fumes and the chance of explosion.