What Is Pink Meth or Strawberry Meth?

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Methamphetamine (meth) is a highly addictive and powerful stimulant. Pink meth, sometimes referred to as “Strawberry Quick meth,” is not a distinct type of meth but rather a result of the drug being contaminated with impurities or additives, such as chemicals or dyes used in the manufacturing process. For example, a precursor ingredient may have been incorrectly added to a batch of meth, meaning that it remains in the finished product, giving the drug a pinkish tint.

The existence of Strawberry Quick meth was a hoax that appeared in the mid-2000s, when Internet rumors claimed that a new form of crystal meth was being created using strawberry-flavored Quik or similarly flavored candy. According to accounts, the drug had been produced by mixing Quik powder to increase its appeal to young people, especially teens. However, to date, there is no evidence that this is true. (1)

If you or a loved one is using meth, you are urged to seek professional treatment to prevent further drug use and dependence. Guardian Recovery is an innovative addiction treatment center that offers a wide range of therapeutic services, including medical detox, inpatient treatment, outpatient programs, aftercare, and more. Contact us today and learn more about how our team of experienced professionals can provide you with the personalized care you need to overcome addiction and achieve long-term recovery.

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Chemical Composition & Unique Characteristics of Pink Meth

The chemical composition of pink meth is the same as that of any crystal meth—C10H15N. (2) The color is the only real difference between pink meth and white or other tints, such as blue. All meth is made through similar processes that involve the use of cough and cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine, a decongestant. This product typically comes in a light pink color due to the dye used in both tablets and liquids, which can alter the drug’s color. Likewise, other additives or fillers used to increase the weight and value may change the final product’s appearance.

Meth can also appear pink when made from anhydrous ammonia treated with GloTell, an additive designed to curb thefts of this chemical (3). This additive stains exposed surfaces pink and is detectable by ultraviolet light. This allows enforcement to detect individuals who have encountered the drug while producing or using it. Treated meth also turns an unalterable pink, informing users that the drug they’re using may contain stolen ingredients.

How & Where Is Pink Meth Made?

Currently, most meth in the United States is produced by criminal organizations and drug cartels in Mexico. (4) These drugs tend to be pure, potent, and inexpensive. Meth can also be readily produced in small, covert laboratories, with relatively low-cost over-the-counter ingredients such as pseudoephedrine.

Restrictions on chemicals used to make meth in the U.S. have substantially decreased domestic production, most of which is now conducted in small labs that make no more than two ounces using common household items. Mexican manufacturers are also increasingly utilizing a different manufacturing process using pseudoephedrine’s precursor chemical, phenyl-2-propanone, which can produce meth without requiring pseudoephedrine. (5)

Is Pink Crystal Meth More Dangerous or Addictive?

Unfortunately, there is no way to tell how potent meth will be based on its color. While all meth is likely to contain impurities, pink meth may be more likely to contain potentially hazardous contaminants. Meth can also be found in various colors, including blue, yellow, and green, any of which can be particularly harmful and addictive.

Pink crystal meth is a glassy, rock-like form of meth that is usually smoked or injected. Because it is highly pure, it can induce an intense and long-lasting high. However, its purity and potency also increase the risk of overdose and other adverse health effects, such as increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Conversely, powder meth is typically less pure than the crystal form and may be snorted or swallowed. While the effects of powder meth may not be as intense as those of crystal meth, it is still highly addictive and can lead to a range of physical and psychological problems with extended use.

It’s important to note that all meth is more or less equally dangerous with a potential for dependence, regardless of its color, form, or method of use. Powdered meth can still be just as risky to use as crystal meth, and smoking and injecting meth are equally dangerous in their own unique ways. For example, smoking meth is more likely to lead to dental decay, whereas injecting can cause skin sores, infections, and collapsed veins. Snorting meth can lead to nose damage and related long-term complications. Oral ingestion of meth pressed into tablets may come with fewer risks than other methods, but users face the same unwanted side effects.

Common Short-Term Side Effects of Pink Meth Include:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Hyperthermia.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Restlessness and shakiness.
  • Insomnia.
  • Tremors and convulsions.
  • Agitation and anxiety.
  • Hallucinations and paranoia.
  • Psychosis.

Long-Term Effects of Pink Meth Use Include:

  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Respiratory issues.
  • Liver and kidney damage.
  • Sexual dysfunction.
  • Tolerance, dependence, and addiction.
  • Brain damage.
  • Dental deterioration.
  • Skin sores and infections.
  • Malnutrition and weight loss.
  • Impaired judgment and decision-making abilities.
  • Memory and cognitive impairments.
  • Depression and anxiety disorders.

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The Problem of Meth Use in the United States

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2015 to 2018, approximately 1.6 million adults over 18 years of age reported using meth in the past year. Nearly 53% had a meth use disorder, and 22.3% reported injecting it. Also, co-occurring substance use and mental health issues were common among those who stated they had engaged in past-year meth use. (6)

The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that people of all ages and economic statuses use meth. Self-reported data from 2020 revealed that among those aged 12 or older, 0.9% (2.5 million people) used meth in the past year. This represents an overall increase from 0.6% in 2015. Moreover, in 2020, the highest incidence of meth use was reported to be among adults aged 26 or older, or 1.1% (2.4 million people), compared to 0.6% in 2015. These reports suggest there is a need for increased prevention and treatment efforts to address the growing meth problem in the United States. (7)

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Meth use is a very serious condition that can have a devastating impact on your life, including your health, relationships, and overall well-being. Meth that is pink or any other color is not less dangerous or addictive than the glass-like or crystalline meth most often found on the street. Short-term problems surrounding meth use can often be overcome or reversed. However, long-term damage can result in chronic or permanent health conditions that can be severe and life-changing.

For a free, no-obligation assessment and health benefits check, contact Guardian Recovery today to speak to an experienced Treatment Advisor. We can help you get started through our streamlined admissions process and explain more about our comprehensive programs and evidence-based addiction recovery services.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

(1)https://www.wkyc.com/article/news/verify-is-strawberry-meth-a-real-concern/95-598504178 (2)https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Methamphetamine (3)https://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/local/chemical-makes-meth-blush/article_44d98680-3b3c-50d4-b315-bfb72346f128.html (4)https://www.npr.org/2021/12/21/1066163872/mexican-cartels-turning-to-meth-and-fentanyl-production (5)https://css.unodc.org/pdf/research/Bulletin07/Bulletin_on_narcotics_2007_Krawczyk.pdf (6)https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6912a1.htm (7)https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt35325/NSDUHFFRPDFWHTMLFiles2020/2020NSDUHFFR1PDFW102121.pdf

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

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Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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