One of the dangers of illegal drugs is the risk of harmful additives or taking something entirely fake. Selling fake drugs, like methamphetamine, increases the profits of street dealers but can be very dangerous.
Consuming fake drugs increases the risk of ingesting toxic substances or experiencing a drug overdose.
What Does Meth Look Like?
Methamphetamine (meth) comes in pill, powder, or crystal rock form. As a powder, it is white and bitter-tasting with no detectable odor. Another form of methamphetamine, crystal meth, looks like clear or bluish chunks of ice or crystals.
The neutral color and odor of meth make it easy for street dealers to cut (mix) the drug with other substances. In some cases, the drug may be completely replaced by another substance, which may not even be a drug at all.
Pure meth will also dissolve in water or alcohol. However, other substances are also white, odorless, and water-soluble, which doesn’t always make this a viable method to identify pure methamphetamine.
Using Test Kits To Identify Fake Meth
Test kits allow people using drugs to identify the substances they are taking to reduce the risk of drug overdose deaths and other harms associated with consuming fake or mixed drugs.
Reagent tests can be used to detect the presence of certain substances. A small drop of liquid is added to the drug, which causes it to change color. Referring to a reference chart with corresponding codes can help you determine if meth is present in the substance.
Other drugs reagent tests can identify include:
- bath salts
Fentanyl Test Strips
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to a hundred times stronger than morphine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that fentanyl was responsible for around 73% of opioid-related deaths in 2019.
Fentanyl has been found in methamphetamine as well as heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy.
It is similar in color to methamphetamine, which makes it easy to hide it in the drug. This increases the risk of ingesting a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl.
Similar to a urine drug screen, you can dissolve a small amount of the meth in water and insert a test strip to determine if fentanyl is present.
How Is Meth Made?
Methamphetamine, which is a stimulant drug like Adderall, is used medically to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
It is a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States, which means it is manufactured for medical purposes but has a high potential for abuse and dependence.
Illegal meth is made in makeshift laboratories, known as clandestine labs, in Mexico. Drug traffickers transport powder or liquid forms of meth across the border.
Once in the United States, meth is converted back into a solid and sold as crystal methamphetamine. Sometimes it is converted into a pill that resembles ecstasy, which can be dangerous for someone to unknowingly ingest.
The main ingredient in street methamphetamine is pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), a cold medication.
It also contains several potentially toxic substances, including:
- red phosphorous
How Meth Is Used To Cut Other Drugs
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Americans have experienced a sharp increase in the production of fake prescription pills containing methamphetamine or fentanyl.
Drug networks within and outside of the United States are producing dangerous and life-threatening pills disguised as prescription opioids and other drugs.
In 2021, police officers and other law enforcement members found more than 9.5 million fake pills.
Fake prescription pills are being sold as:
- Oxycontin (oxycodone)
- Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen)
- Vicodin (hydrocodone)
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine)
These drugs are widely accessible online and through social media, which makes them particularly dangerous for young adults. To avoid the potentially fatal harms of counterfeit pills, only take legitimate prescription drugs that come from a medical professional.
How To Avoid Fake Meth
If you think you or a loved one is struggling with meth abuse, they are at an increased risk of a drug overdose. Taking meth in any form is also highly addictive and poses several physical and mental health risks.
Professional addiction treatment centers can help you recover through a wide range of comprehensive services, including therapy and healthy activities. Please contact us today to learn more about how we can help you recover from meth addiction.
- Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) — The Drug Overdose Epidemic: Behind the Numbers
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — Sharp Increase in Fake Prescription Pills Containing Fentanyl And Meth
- Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) — Drug Checking
- National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) — How Is Methamphetamine Manufactured?
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.