Meth Identification

Finding an unknown substance in your loved one’s possession can be a bit scary. How can you find out exactly what it is? What are your next steps once you do find it? How can you best help and support them moving forward? 

At Pinnacle Peak Recovery, we understand that many loved ones come to us with concern and fear. Our goal is to alleviate that and help you find the answers you’re looking for. 

Most people can vaguely identify marijuana when they find it. Some substances, such as shrooms, are much more distinct in appearance than some other substances. However, unlike marijuana or shrooms, white powder can be many things. How can you safely determine what it is? Let’s go over exactly what to look out for when it comes to identifying methamphetamines.

What Does Meth Look Like? 

Methamphetamine usually starts in an oil or chemical form, but it’s rarely sold that way. Meth is usually in pill, capsule, or powder form. It is white or off-white in appearance and might resemble corn starch or chalk dust at a glance.

Meth can also come in crystal form when made in a lab in combination with a variety of other substances. This is aptly labeled as crystal meth. It can be white or blue in appearance and resemble a glass shard, quartz, or rock. 

What Does Meth Smell Like?

In order to identify the substance you found, you might be tempted to smell it. Meth is generally odorless, so smell won’t help you gather any further information. In addition, you do run a small risk of the particles entering your system when you do this. One of the forms of consuming meth is by snorting powder, so be cautious when you’re trying to identify substances you find. 

What Does Meth Taste Like?

If you were to taste meth, it would be very bitter. While a small dot on your tongue shouldn’t be inherently harmful, not all powdered forms of meth are inherently “pure” and might be laced, or cut, with other unknown substances. 

Is Meth Ever Mixed With Other Drugs?

It is very common for many illicit substances to be mixed with each other. In some cases, dealers might do this to make the drug cheaper to buy while being able to pass it off as something else. Other times, people may choose to mix substances in order to achieve certain results. 

In the case of crystal meth, it is commonly made and produced with other substances during the creation process. 

There is currently an upward trend of fentanyl being mixed in with many substances, including meth. Unfortunately, this is a serious problem as fentanyl is a powerful opioid. When taken unknowingly, people tend to overdose.

Popular Street Names for Meth

While it is impossible to know every street name for every substance, as they may be regional  or evolve over time, here are some of the known street names that have been given to and used for meth in the past:

  • Speed
  • Chalk
  • Ice
  • Jib
  • Tweak
  • Crank
  • Shards

How Can You Tell if Someone Is Using Meth?

Even without finding a bag of white powder or crystal meth, there are other signs you might have started to notice that make you wonder. There are many different side effects you can look out for that could indicate a methamphetamine use disorder in a loved one.

Methamphetamine is a stimulant, which impacts how it reacts inside the body. Many times it's consumed either by smoking, swallowing, snorting, or injecting. The feelings and effects of meth can usually be felt fairly rapidly, but also fade just as fast. Because of this, many people will take multiple doses in order to elongate their high. In some cases, people may go on a “run” which is where they continue to take meth for many hours or even days in a row. These can impact them in many ways as they tend to give up things such as sleep or food and water during these “runs.” 

Short-Term Effects

The immediate effects of meth on the system can cause heightened feelings of euphoria. It can also cause people to feel alert, energetic, talkative, and confident. 

Of course, there are also negative side effects that can come with meth use. Some of the more common short-term side effects you might notice include:

  • Racing heart
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Restless and irritability 
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Hallucinations

When taken orally or injected, the effects of the substance can sometimes last for up to 8 hours. When smoked, this can increase the time to up to 12 hours. Afterward, there is usually a “crash” or a period of exhaustion and depression. 

Long-Term Effects

It might not always be easy to spot some of the short-term effects of meth. It’s not uncommon for people who are using a substance to do so in a place they consider safe. This could mean surrounded by others who are partaking as well, or in a private place where they won’t be caught. 

There are other, long-term side effects that you can keep an eye out for to help potentially identify a meth use disorder in a loved one. Some of these include

  • Severe dental problems (tooth decay, otherwise known as “meth mouth”)
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Skin-picking and sores from a common hallucination known as “meth mites”
  • Violent behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory loss and confusion

Not all long-term effects are as visible as those. Long-term meth use can lead to increased risks of heart disease, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease as well. 

Meth Overdose

It is possible to overdose on methamphetamines. When taken in combination with other substances, overdoses have a higher chance of being more serious. What can you look for to help spot a meth overdose?

  • Elevated body temperatures
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure

Not all of these signs are as easy to notice as others. Meth overdoses often cause heart attacks, strokes, and organ failure. It is possible to treat someone experiencing a meth overdose, but it’s important to get them medical help as quickly as possible. 

Treatment Options for Meth at Pinnacle Peak Recovery

Recovering from meth use disorder is very possible, and at Pinnacle Peak Recovery, we want to help you reach those healing goals. We offer a supportive, caring, family feel at our facilities. We have highly trained and qualified staff that want to help you be comfortable and confident about your recovery steps. 

We offer everything from detox to residential and intensive outpatient options. We believe in offering care based on a combination of our patient’s unique needs and evidence-based treatment options. We offer 12-step options as well as other individual therapy treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

We’re determined to help you find life-long recovery. If you or a loved one is looking to start their recovery journey, or if you have questions about our programs and options, please give us a call today at 866-377-4761.

Rehab Center in Scottsdale, Arizona

Let the team at our Scottsdale drug rehab guide your journey.

FAQs About Meth Identification

How long does meth stay in the system?

Depending on how it’s consumed, meth can stay in the system anywhere from 6-12 hours. 

How is meth made?

Meth is a synthetic amphetamine, usually starting in chemical form. Both meth and crystal meth are usually produced in “labs” and can be laced with other substances during the creation process.

Who is at risk of becoming addicted to meth?

Those who regularly use meth run a higher risk of becoming dependent on it. The longer it's in your system, the more your body adjusts to it, which increases the chances and intensity of withdrawal symptoms.

Pinnacle Peak Recovery