How To Spot Fake Meth

According to the DEA, the drug supply in the United States is increasingly corrupted with fake drugs. With a little knowledge, you can detect fake crystal meth and protect yourself against unknown side effects.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


It can be difficult to spot fake meth, especially if you haven’t used it much before.

Real meth is identifiable in several different forms: including powders, crystal-like substances, and even a thick goo known as meth base.

Manufacturers often mix meth with different dyes when certain looks are trending, whereas pure meth is entirely colorless. You can find meth in colors across the rainbow.

Identifying Fake Meth

Identifying fake meth isn’t always easy. With that said, there are several methods that you can use to help identify dangerous drugs masquerading as meth.

Meth Test Kits

Meth test kits can usually be obtained through your local harm prevention program.

Many of the same programs also offer tests that specifically identify fentanyl. This particular drug is an incredibly dangerous and addictive synthetic opioid.

To protect yourself further, make sure to ask your harm prevention program about local law enforcement.

Despite the efficacy of these public safety programs, some states may charge you with possession of drug paraphernalia if you’re found with a test kit in a routine traffic stop or pat down.

Melting Point Tests

The most common way people may test meth at home without a harm prevention kit is the melting point test.

They typically do this by melting a small amount of product in cooking oil, placing a thermometer in the liquid and removing it from heat.

Real meth will rapidly crystallize around 340-350°F. Meth that is heavily cut or a drug that isn’t meth at all will slowly crystallize at much lower temperatures.

Identifying Meth By Appearance

If you have, you may be able to identify meth by look and taste. This is the least reliable form of testing.

To protect yourself against more dangerous forms of fake meth, you should consider using one of the field testing methods mentioned above.

What’s In Fake Meth?

Fake meth can come in a variety of different forms.

Bath Salts

The term “bath salts” is used to refer to synthetic cathinones. This synthetic stimulant has similar effects to cocaine, meth, and MDMA.

Synthetic cathinones are a cheap alternative to real meth. By disguising bath salts as meth, the cartels stand to gain a much higher profit margin.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

MSM is a sulfur-based supplement. It’s easily available and shares many physical properties with meth.

MSM is frequently used as a meth cutting agent to pad a supplier’s bottom-line. Fortunately, MSM can usually be detected if you try to crush it or use the melting point test.

Why People Make Fake Meth

There are several reasons to make fake meth.

Drug Dealer Profit Margin

The number one reason people make fake meth is to make more money per sale. Drugs like fentanyl and synthetic cathinones are much cheaper than real meth.

In addition to the initial increase in profit, many of these drugs are even more addictive than the drugs they’re made to mimic.

This may not be the case with meth, but fake drugs can also create a more dependent consumer-base for future drug trafficking.

Different Effects

In some cases, meth is heavily cut with other substances to create a “designer” drug. These drug cocktails are created to produce different effects.

Some may be designed to create a more intense or longer-lasting high. In some cases, meth that is cut with MSM is touted as having healing properties.

All illicit drug use is dangerous, but unknown drug cocktails are even more so.

Dangers Of Fake Meth Use

Using real meth comes with its own laundry list of risks. The upside is that you generally know what to expect, and you can choose to prepare and protect your own safety.

With fake meth and fake pills, you have no idea how it will affect your body, because you usually don’t know what you’re taking.

Heart Attack

Heart attacks are a very real risk with fake meth. Fentanyl in particular is associated with a remarkably high incidence of chest pains followed by heart attack.

Bath salts also come with cardiac risks, but they are usually associated with cardiomyopathy. This condition weakens the heart muscles, making you more susceptible to heart attack and stroke.

Fentanyl Overdose

Opioids are the most common cause of overdose deaths in the United States, and fentanyl is the number one perpetrator.

In 2017, 59% of all opioid-induced fatal overdoses were associated with fentanyl use.

That percentage appears to be on the rise despite a nationwide effort to protect people who use drugs against fentanyl hidden in their drug of choice, such as meth.

“Excited Delirium”

The term “excited delirium” is used to describe an intense reaction to drug use.

This kind of reaction is characterized by agitation and aggression resulting from a mixture of hypothermia and psychiatric symptoms.

It is possible to recover from “excited delirium” with proper medical care. On the other hand, there is a very real risk of organ failure, self-harm, and harm to others.

Treatment Programs For Methamphetamine Abuse

Methamphetamine abuse is a disease that requires professional medical care. Fortunately, there are many meth treatment programs that cater to all walks of life.

If you’re willing to ask for help, you can find a treatment program that places you in an environment where you feel safe.

Treatment for drug addiction can include inpatient programs, outpatient services, medical detox, group support, and more.

Find Substance Abuse Treatment Services At Bedrock Recovery Center

At Bedrock Recovery Center in Massachusetts, we welcome anyone who is ready to ask for help for meth addiction or another form of substance use.

When you are ready to take that first step, our dedicated staff will be there. Call us today to get started.d

  1. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
  2. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
  3. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
  4. Drug Policy Alliance
  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse
  6. National Library of Medicine
  7. National Library of Medicine

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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