What Does Meth Look Like?

Regardless of its form, meth is an extremely dangerous and habit-forming substance with powerful side effects and potentially dangerous long-term effects.

Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant drug that’s produced in a variety of different forms. These forms generally include:

  • a fine crystalline powder
  • rock- or glass-like chunks
  • pills containing compressed powder
  • compressed tablets
  • a waxy oil

Regardless of its form, meth is an extremely dangerous and habit-forming substance with powerful side effects and potentially dangerous long-term effects.

Identifying Powder Meth

Powder meth, or speed, is the most common and least potent form of methamphetamine. It is often used by snorting, which rapidly delivers the drug into the bloodstream through the delicate tissues of the nasal cavities.

Because powder meth also dissolves in both water and alcohol, it can be injected into a vein or taken orally.

What Does Powder Meth Look Like?

In powder form, meth is usually white or off-white, though it can be colored yellow, pink, blue, or green depending on how it is produced and what other substances it is cut with.

Additionally, it’s consistency may range from a fine crystalline powder to a chalky dust, or it may be compressed and loaded into capsules.

Powder meth is bitter-tasting and does not cause numbing on contact with the tongue or lips like powder cocaine. However, without laboratory testing it can be extremely difficult to identify methamphetamine with confidence.

Identifying Meth Base

This less-common form of meth appears as a damp, oily, or waxy substance that may be white, yellow, or brown in color.

Base cocaine is more potent than powder cocaine and is known as pure, paste, or wax in different circles. It can be swallowed or dissolved and injected.

Identifying Crystal Meth

Powder meth can be converted into crystal meth, or ice, which is generally (though not always) white or translucent and often resembles fragments of glass, quartz, or rock salt.

Crystal methamphetamine is a far more concentrated and potent form of meth than powder or base meth and can be smoked using glass pipes, broken light bulbs, metal spoons, or tin foil. It can also be injected after being dissolved.

Identifying Meth Tablets

Methamphetamine is produced in both prescription and black-market tablets.

Like prescription stimulants Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine), the prescription medication Desoxyn (methamphetamine hydrochloride) is prescribed to treat certain causes of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obesity.

When used medically, the dosage of methamphetamine is carefully controlled to limit any harmful effects. However, Desoxyn pills are diverted and misused in the same way as other ADHD medications.

What Do Illegal Meth Tablets Look Like?

Meth can also be produced illegally in tablet form. Yaba, the street name for a combination of methamphetamine and caffeine produced as colored and/or logo-stamped pills or tablets, is one example.

While Yaba is most commonly found in Southeast Asia, meth is sometimes produced in tablets in the United States and may be combined with other drugs like MDMA or ketamine without the full knowledge of those who consume them.

Methamphetamine Paraphernalia

The paraphernalia used to deliver methamphetamine into the body will vary depending on how the drug is used. Common items include:

  • scorched glass pipes, light bulbs, spoons, bottlecaps, or tinfoil
  • needles/syringes
  • rolled up dollar bills or straws
  • loose razor blades near mirror or glass surfaces
  • tourniquets, potentially including rubber tubing, shoelaces, or belts
  • used cotton balls
  • lighters or used matches

 Signs Of Meth Use In A Loved One

If you suspect a person in your life uses meth, there are a number of different signs you should watch for.

Personality Changes

After experiencing the intense dopamine rush of a methamphetamine high, it is hard for those who use meth to take pleasure in regular daily activities. This can lead to sudden apathy, giving up on personal responsibilities, lying, threats, and irritability or mood swings.

Neglected Dress & Hygiene

The constant highs and lows of methamphetamine use can result in neglecting dress, hygiene, nutrition, and personal health. Weight loss, tooth decay (“meth mouth“), and other negative health effects are also likely to occur over time.

Physical & Behavioral Signs

As a stimulant, meth abuse will dilate (expand) the pupils of the eye while active in an individual’s body. It will also likely cause central nervous system hyperactivity, increasing an individual’s energy level, talkativeness, body temperature, and blood pressure.

Irregular heartbeats, mental confusion, paranoia, and hallucinations may occur.

Tweaking is a physical and psychological state of extreme drug cravings, erratic behaviors, and psychosis that follows an extended meth binge. The binge itself is likely followed by a lengthy crash with severe fatigue, pain, and depression as the body attempts to recover.

Meth Addiction Treatment

Meth is dangerously addictive and deadly. But, just like any other form of substance use disorder, methamphetamine addiction is treatable.

Meth withdrawal can be initially addressed with a detox program, followed by inpatient or outpatient care that includes behavioral therapy, support groups, and ongoing counseling.

If you or your loved one lives with drug addiction but are ready to work towards recovery, please contact our behavioral health treatment center today.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

©2023 Northeast Addition Center | All Rights Reserved

This page does not provide medical advice.

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