Identifying Meth: What meth, looks, tastes, and smells like

Methamphetamine, commonly called meth, is a central nervous system stimulant that holds a high potential for dependence and addiction. Meth comes in many forms with varying appearance, odor, and taste.

What does meth look like?

Meth comes in many forms with different methods of administration. Meth can be snorted as a powder, injected as a liquid, smoked as rocks, and swallowed in pill form.

Base

Base meth is one of the least common forms the drug is found in. Base meth has a gooey, wax-like texture and is intended to be dissolved in a solution. It is normally brown, yellow, or in some cases white.

Powder

Powdered meth is one of the more common varieties of the illegal drug and resembles tiny crystals (often referred to as a crystalline powder) that are intended to be snorted. Meth powder has been reported to come in many colors including white powder (the most common), blue, yellow, orange, pink, and grey.

Crystal

Crystal meth is the purest, strongest, and most frequently addiction-forming version of methamphetamine. Crystal meth is often manufactured in a meth lab and resembles small rocks or glass that is semi-translucent and whitish-blue in color. The rocks, often referred to as glass, ice, or crumbled into glass pipes (similar to crack pipes), heated, and smoked.

Related: How long does meth stay in your system?

Liquid

Meth can sometimes be diluted in water to make it less detectable by law enforcement agencies when transported. Liquid meth is then often undiluted and turned back into powder or crystal forms, though there are frequent reports of the drug being injected into the body directly.

Pill

Pill versions of methamphetamine come in both legal and illegal varieties. Legal methamphetamines were commonly prescribed to treat ADHD and sleep disorders until stricter regulations made them less popular. Desoxyn is a small, round, white pill with OV and 12 printed on each side. Desoxyn is still used in rare cases today, though many doctors prefer to prescribe other CNS stimulants such as Ritalin.

It is more common to find illegal meth pills, such as yaba. Yaba, the name originating from East Asia and roughly translates as crazy medicine, Is a pill combination of meth and caffeine. The pills are usually green or pinky-red with WY or R printed on them.

Get help during covid-19

Get help during Covid-19

At Recovered, we recognize the impact COVID-19 has had and the continued challenges it poses to getting advice and treatment for substance use disorders. SAMHSA has a wealth of information and resources to assist providers, individuals, communities, and states during this difficult time and is ready to help in any way possible.

Speak to SAMSHA

What does meth smell like?

Meth in its powdered form is often odorless, unless it has been combined with other substances. 

Crystal meth when smoked has a subtle, almost sweet smell that can occasionally smell like ammonia and cleaning chemicals.

This is due to the way meth is manufactured in a meth lab. Some of the chemicals (such as hydrochloric acid) mixed with meth when it is made have the same smell as powerful cleaning chemicals used in hospitals and other sterile facilities which give the drug a strong smell.

It has also been reported as smelling like vinegar, rotten eggs, and occasionally cat urine.

Related: How much does meth cost?

What does meth taste like?

Meth is often described as tasting how it smells; like powerful chemicals that are bitter and unpleasant. The taste of meth can leave users feeling nauseous, especially after their first time or after an extended session of use.

Getting help for meth addiction

Meth addiction can set in rapidly and can be very difficult to get free of once it has. thankfully, there are addiction specialists in rehab facilities all over the country that can help those affected. 

Inpatient and outpatient facilities can offer a safe space to detox, medical treatment, and ongoing therapy to help identify the route of addiction and develop tools to manage it. Visit our rehab directory today to find a meth addiction treatment center near you.