Drug and Alcohol

What Does Meth Look Like?

What Does Meth Look Like?

What does meth look like? Meth comes in many forms, all of which are dangerous, harmful, and addictive. Learn more about meth in our blog..

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

April 1, 2023

Methamphetamine is one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs abused today.

Unfortunately, not many people know what meth exactly looks like. This is because meth comes in various forms and colors. There is no fixed appearance of meth as it is sold in various appearances. Let's understand what meth is, along with its looks, how meth smells, taste, addiction treatment, and more.

Fortunately, we live in a world where drug addiction is considered a severe health condition. Many may not know that drug addiction and substance abuse were not considered health problems a few decades ago. Instead, it was treated as a moral failure by the person suffering from this disorder. Drug addiction is now defined as a chronic brain function that alters how our brain and body function, along with vital changes in our behavior. Even regarding the conversation around addiction, there was a clear disdain and contempt for people who expressed their problems earlier.

Even though some people even today hesitate to talk about their addiction problem, it has mostly taken a lighter turn. Drug addiction is no longer treated as a taboo topic; people can freely discuss their problems with friends, family members, and colleagues. Similarly, we will discuss one of the most prominently abused drugs worldwide, but especially in the United States of America, methamphetamine.

By the Numbers:

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 2 million Americans used Meth in 2019. Among those 2 million, around 1 million people can be diagnosed with methamphetamine use disorder.

What Is Meth?

This powerful stimulant goes by various street names, such as meth, methamphetamine, crystal meth, crystal, ice, speed, glass, crank, yaba, and more. It is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant with recreational and medicinal uses. Even though people mainly use it in recreational ways to get high, meth is also rarely prescribed to patients suffering from mental health issues such as ADHD and other problems such as obesity.

This is why Meth is classified as a controlled substance under the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule II stimulant. The Schedule II classification points out that the U.S. recognizes the drug's medicinal use, but it has a strong potential for abuse. If anyone is prescribed meth pills or its prescription drug, it would be non-refillable. 

What Is Meth Abuse?

Meth addiction has become a common problem for many users, as one can become an addict even after a single dose. As mentioned above, meth drugs have a highly addictive nature, and any user with frequent use can become dependent on them. Meth is an addictive stimulant that induces a feeling of instant rush and energy. Meth works by releasing a high concentration of dopamine in our brains.

Dopamine is a natural transmitter released when we feel pleasure or receive any reward. These feelings get doubled when a user takes meth. The increased dopamine levels in our brains make users feel more aware, excited, energized, motivated, etc. This feel-good drug may give temporary pleasure to the user but end up giving them more than what they bargained for. Meth has devastating side effects, many of which are long-term. 

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What Does Meth Look Like?

Among the most frequently asked questions regarding meth is what it looks like. How can one look at the drug and identify that it is meth? Does it look blue, as shown in the TV show Breaking Bad? Well, the answer to these questions can only be understood after knowing the common forms that meth is available in.

Meth or methamphetamine is generally available in two forms. It is either crystal meth, which looks like glass-type rocks, or powder form, which resembles crystalline powder. But this does not mean that these two are the only forms of meth.

Apart from this, there are less common forms in which meth is available. These are waxy and liquid forms known as meth base, pills, and capsule form. If we talk about its appearance, meth usually appears translucent or has a white, off-white look. These colors will naturally change if meth is combined with other drugs and substances like marijuana or alcohol. The color of pure meth is surprisingly colorless.

In a surprising turn of events, a few meth makers even started using dye to add blue color to their product to make it resemble the blue meth substance seen in the popular television series Breaking Bad.

Let's quickly look at the types of meth available.

Do you know what meth looks like?

Different Forms of Meth

Powdered Meth

One of the most common and popular forms of meth is powder. People generally snort this powder, but due to its solubility, it is also dissolved in alcohol and water. Apart from this, meth powder can also be injected and swallowed. The color of meth powder is usually white, off-white, and even light brown.

This is the reason its usual appearance can resemble chalk dust or cocaine. The substance's color mostly depends on the material and substance used. This is why meth is also available in colors like red, yellow, pink, green, blue, and so on. 

What Does Meth Powder Look Like?

Bags of methamphetamine

Crystal Meth

Most people must have encountered the term crystal meth. Crystal meth looks like rock salt or a shiny glass fragment. It is mainly smoked or injected into the veins. It is made from powdered meth only. The powdered meth is transformed into a crystal form that becomes more potent. The user will experience an intense form of high with increased energy levels. This type of meth is made by dissolving the powder into a solvent like denatured alcohol or acetone. When this mixture is evaporated, it leaves behind translucent, whitish, or bluish-chunky crystals. This crystal would appear around the edge of your cooking container. 

What Does Crystal Meth Look Like?

Crystal meth

Meth Tablets/Pills

You may get surprised after knowing that Meth is also used as a prescription drug. It is sporadic, but there is a prescription medication that contains methamphetamine. It is called Desoxyn (methamphetamine hydrochloride). Desoxyn is a precipitation-only pill used to treat patients suffering from either attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder/ADHD or managing obesity. This stimulant is an alternative to similar and more popularly prescribed drugs, Ritalin or Adderall. Not surprisingly, these tablets are often misused and illicitly purchased by people to get high. These pills are sold as small orange-reddish or green-colored pills. 

Meth Pills

Bottle of pharmaceutical meth tablets

Liquid Meth

Since the drug trafficking restrictions have become tighter, the smugglers are always looking for new ways to increase their products. In an attempt to do the same, they started dissolving Meth in water and trafficking it in liquid form. The liquid meth appearance is somewhat syrupy, dark yellow, and brown. It is usually stored in bottles and containers and has become popular with traffickers. No, it is not sold on the street in this form. Instead, it is later reverted into powder or crystal meth form. 

What Does Liquid Meth Look Like?

Container of Liquid Meth

What Does Meth Smell Like?

The smell of meth is completely dependent on the material used and how it is being cooked in the labs. Pure meth is odorless and does not have any smell. However, when someone purchases meth from the street, it is hardly ever pure. Some common toxic chemicals used in cooking meth are ammonia, ether, lithium, battery acid, acetone, red phosphorus, etc.

Regardless of the process and chemicals used in cooking, most of these chemicals produce a very strong smell. It may resemble the scent of ammonia, vinegar, fertilizer, nail polish remover, cat urine, rotten eggs, burnt plastic, and more.

n short, meth has a highly unpleasant odor. Another crucial thing to note is that these fumes are highly toxic, and people around may experience confusion, headache, dizziness, and leave a burning sensation around the eyes and nose.

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How Does Meth Taste?

Did you know that meth tastes like rotten eggs? Yes. meth is infamously known for tasting and smelling very bad. This is one of the main reasons people prefer snorting or injecting Meth rather than swallowing it. Even smoking meth leaves a chemical-like, bitter aftertaste in the mouth. Experienced users have often described meth taste as bitter, chemical-like, similar to ammonia, burnt plastic, or rotten eggs. On top of that, it is tough to tolerate the taste because it is powerful and overwhelming. One cannot quickly get over it. 

What Does Meth Do?

Meth is a highly addictive stimulant that can produce various effects. These effects are both mild to severe and can be both temporary and long-lasting. Some commonly experienced effects of using meth include elevation in mood, weight loss, increased energy and concentration levels, tiredness, lower appetite, higher level of alertness, increased sexual activity, and more.

Some of the more severe and long-lasting effects of meth include bleeding in the brain, psychosis, meth mouth, mood swings, violent behavior, seizures, psychosis, hallucinations, and more. 

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Some Common Signs of Meth Use

A few common signs are symptoms of meth addiction and abuse include:

  • Common Signs: Unkempt physical appearance, rotten teeth, exhaustion, tiredness, haggard and unhygienic look. You will also notice changes in behavior, like preferring isolation, becoming defensive about drugs, and missing appointments and deadlines. 

  • Common Symptoms: Gum decay, high body temperature, irregular heartbeat, massive and sudden weight loss, dental problems, skin sores, faster heart rate, itching, increased breathing, blood pressure, and more. 

Treatment & Recovery for Meth Addiction

Treating abuse and addiction starts with recognizing that you are dealing with a problem. Anyone must first recognize and admit that they are dealing with an issue that needs resolving. Only after this can a person move on to find the solution and treatment for substance abuse and addiction. The next step? Drug detox.

Detoxification is one of the initial stages of care in your treatment. In this medical procedure, your body is cleaned from the inside. With the help of medications, doctors and addiction experts will detoxify and cleanse your body from all foreign and toxic substances. The detox center's team helps the patients in managing any meth withdrawal symptoms. Step two is seeking help from a drug rehab.

Finding the one can be a little tough, but your initiation process will take place after you have identified a good drug rehab. After this, a treatment plan will be formulated for your care.

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Meth Addiction Is Treatable at The Edge Treatment Center

Meth abuse can rapidly become deadly. It's treatable, however. The Edge Treatment Center provides evidence-based effective care for meth addiction and more. If you're interested in learning more about methamphetamines and how meth addiction is treatable, reach out to The Edge Treatment Center now.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.