Crystal meth is a schedule II controlled substance that is commonly produced, sold, and consumed illicitly. This means that any batch of meth may be laced with various other substances and additives that may be more or less dangerous to consume—or the drug may be completely counterfeit.
Why Is Meth Faked?
Mixing or substituting methamphetamine with less expensive cutting agents allows makers and dealers to stretch profits. This is a widespread practice regarding online sales, festivals or club scenes, and naïve buyers unfamiliar with the effects and side effects of purer meth.
Common Fake Meth Substances
Substances commonly marketed and sold as fake meth or laced with meth include, but are not limited to, the following:
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a supplement sold to alleviate muscle pain, decrease inflammation, and increase immunity. MSM by itself is a relatively safe compound, meaning that it is not known to have any significant adverse effects on the human body.
MSM offers many advantages that make it the most popular choice for dealers when cutting crystal meth:
- It is a white, crystalline powder that can be easily combined with the drug without leaving a residue.
- It is highly water-soluble and is typically added to meth during the last stages of production.
- It is odorless, so it isn’t as detectable as some of the other cutting agents that may be used.
As a result, meth that is laced with this substance usually appears uncut because once the meth and MSM are combined and the product cools, MSM recrystallizes, looking like pure crystal meth.
ISO (N-isopropyl benzylamine) and related compounds N-Methyl benzylamine, N-ethyl benzylamine, and dimethyl sulfone) is another crystalline compound visually similar to meth, although it does not have stimulating effects on the body. ISO is not a controlled substance. It is thought, however, to cause headaches and confusion.
Bath salts are cathinones that often come as whitish or pinkish crystals (not unlike crystal meth). These illicit drugs are inexpensively manufactured stimulants that can have severe and unpredictable effects. They induce a stimulating high and feelings of euphoria, focus, and unlimited energy.
Bath salt abuse can lead to a state of excited delirium characterized by increased strength, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, disassociation, and violent or erratic behavior, mainly when the drugs are smoked or vaped.
Bath salts have often been identified by law enforcement related to violent and bizarre crimes. They can also cause life-threatening overdose symptoms, which cannot be treated effectively by police officers or first responders using antidote kits.
Among the most dangerous combinations dealers produce is combining the synthetic opioid fentanyl with meth. Fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than morphine and is the main contributor to the ongoing opioid epidemic. When abused, this powerful painkiller and central nervous system depressant reduces heart rate and induces respiratory distress, often resulting in an overdose.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), synthetic opioids are currently the principal driver of drug overdose fatalities, with nearly three-fourths of opioid-involved overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, mainly fentanyl.
The combination of a depressant and stimulant is referred to as “speedballing.” This practice combines the two competing substances to experience the pleasurable effects of both drugs while staving off their adverse effects. However, postponing these effects is only temporary, as the effects of methamphetamine wear off much more rapidly than the effects of fentanyl. Methamphetamine wears off much more quickly than the effects of fentanyl.
Once the stimulating effect of meth is gone, respiratory depression completely takes over. Overdose is often the consequence of speedballing due to this delayed physical response. Indeed, fatality rates are increased among stimulant users when opioids are present.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
Meth, regardless of its purity, is highly habit-forming and dangerous to use. However, professional addiction treatment can help individuals abusing meth break free from addiction and its risks. While there are no specific medically-assisted treatments approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), behavioral interventions have proven to be successful in helping people addicted to meth get clean.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery offer comprehensive programs intended to treat all drug and alcohol addiction aspects. Our approach features various evidence-based methodologies and therapeutic activities, such as the following:
- Individual and family counseling
- Group support
- Experiential therapies
- Health and wellness education
- Aftercare planning
- Alumni events