I thought it’d be worth passing on a conversation on an ATOD email list. The initial query was as follows:
“A colleague received an email advising that a type of crystal meth is available (and circulating in schools) which looks like strawberry pop rocks (candy which sizzles and ‘pops’ in your mouth), and smells like strawberries.
It also comes in chocolate, peanut butter, cola, cherry, grape and orange flavours.
Can anyone advise further?”
The question came from a community worker with the best of intentions. The responses were swift:
1. “Hoax. Been going around for years. Seriously, peanut butter meth!”
2. “This is an urban legend. In order to cut down on thefts of ammonia fertilizer in the US, there is a substance that can be added to the tank that has a pink color. If the liquid is stolen and it gets on your hands, it will dye them pink. The pictures taken of “strawberry Quik” look just like the base methamphetamine in Australia, except it is pink. Also, the DEA labs have never received any samples of this alleged substance. In the US, “peanut butter” is an old term for base.
Also, methamphetamine is reported to be very unpleasant tasting and I doubt the addition of any candy flavoring could mask the taste. Many who swallow the drug wrap it in a piece of white bread so they can’t taste it.
Hope this helps.”
3. “G’day folks,
There was a rather alarmist “cloned” email from the US circulated 5 weeks ago on Aussie lists. It warned about “strawberry Quik being handed out to kids”. The product was described as “looking like pop rocks” (candy) and as smelling and tasting like strawberry. The original email from the US named cities where this was happening. The locally circulated email had references to cities or anything that identified the original source removed. The email claimed children had presented at Emergency Departments after taking “strawberry Quik” because they thought it was candy. Yet there are no recorded cases of such an accidental poisoning. It is quite simply bunkum.
There are many weirdly coloured forms of methamphetamine on the market, ranging from red or yellow to green or dark blue, (“Black Ice”). These forms are discolored by impurities due to illicit manufacture. The colors, being caused by precursors, solvents or chemical byproducts, are indicative of the particular route of manufacture employed. This is not someone trying to make the product more attractive to “kids”, it is a symptom of the poor quality control of some illicit manufacturers.
Recently pink forms of meth have been reported in the US where the color is obviously something like food coloring, added deliberately. According to the Snopes article, (below) there is no evidence that it tastes or smells like strawberry. Nor is there any evidence that it’s being marketed to school kids. As yet we have received no first hand reports of such product here in WA. If any readers have received first hand accounts of artificially scented or flavored methamphetamine in Australia, (or better yet seen it themselves), please let us know.
In the past when coloring has been deliberately added to powder or crystal methamphetamine it has been done to “brand” a particular product, in a similar way to the logos on MDMA pills. Manufacturers don’t put Sonic the Hedgehog on Es so kids will buy them. They do it so that people will come back and ask for the same product again if they like the quality. Powder or Crystal meth is much harder to adulterate (cut) if it is a distinctive colour- even MSM, which is usually indistinguishable from crystal meth (Ice), will be immediately obvious if “cut” into bright pink rocks. It is far more likely that these are the reasons for introducing a distinctive coloring agent, rather than making it more palatable or as an exercise in targeted marketing at “kids”.
I thought you might find the following article from snopes.com interesting.
I’d suggest that Snopes urban legends site is an excellent resource for checking the veracity of such claims before circulating them to others.”
All the responses were fairly measured although you can sense the frustration at such myths still floating around. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a reputable, central repository of drug myths – it would give hard-working people like the person who asked this question some clarity and would also stop them feeling belittled when veteran professionals roll their eyes having seen it all before.