facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Chem Prof Advises Breaking Bad on All Things Meth

U of Oklahoma's Donna Nelson is the hit show's consultant on the chemistry of meth-cooking.

Image: 

Professor Donna Nelson is the "Real Walter
White." Photo via

By McCarton Ackerman

09/07/12

| Share

Ever wonder how the drug-making references and procedures on AMC's Breaking Bad are so convincing? The credibility doesn't come from the writer's previous drug history, but rather from Donna Nelson, a chemistry professor at the University of Oklahoma who has been an ongoing consultant to the Emmy-winning show since the second season. However, anyone trying to pick up meth-cooking tips from the show will be sorely disappointed with the end results. "They deliberately put in faulty steps. They’ll start with one method of synthesizing methamphetamine but then switch to another,” says Nelson. And the meth that appears on-screen? It's cotton candy flavored sugar crystals. Although Nelson doesn't have any personal experience with meth, she's more than qualified to be a consultant to the show from teaching organic chemistry to nearly 10,000 students since 1983 and racking up awards and honors from several institutions, including the National Science Foundation. She got the gig after reaching out to show creator Vince Gilligan via Chemical and Engineering News, who ran a feature story on Gilligan. “He said neither he nor his writer had a science background, and so they had to rely on Wikipedia and the Web,” said Nelson. “When I read that, I thought, ‘We scientists are always complaining about shows getting the science wrong. It’s like fingernails on a blackboard to us. This would be a great opportunity to work with one.’ When I saw what they had written, I thought, ‘Wow, they really need help.'" She's now hoping to leverage her Hollywood connections by making a public service announcement warning Oklahomans about the dangers of meth.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 

Reflections
 
 
 
 

This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv