How To Identify Fake Meth, Risks & Effects of Addiction

Since fake meth is addictive and likely more powerful than real meth, if you take it over a long period of time, your body can become dependent on it.  Read more about the different treatment options for you or your loved ones struggling with fake meth addiction.

How To Identify Fake Meth, Risks & Effects of Addiction

According to the DEA, the drug supply in the United States is increasingly corrupted with fake drugs. With a little knowledge, you can detect fake meth and protect yourself and your loved ones against unknown side effects. It can be difficult to identify fake meth and fake crystal meth. Real meth is identifiable in several different forms: including powders, crystal-like substances, and even a thick goo as meth base. Drug dealers often mix meth with different dyes when certain looks are trending, whereas pure meth is entirely colorless.

How to know if meth is real? Fake meth is a dangerous substance that’s trending in the U.S. among young adults. Its ingredients are usually unknown but may include fentanyl. Simple tests are available to identify the presence of fentanyl and other drugs in fake meth that can lead to overdose. Being able to identify fake meth and fake blue meth is important to reduce the risk of fatal overdose that comes with its use.

According to documents filed in federal court in Rhode Island, a Cumberland, RI, man has agreed to plead guilty to possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine in connection with the seizure of approximately 660,500 methamphetamine-laced fake Adderall pills or Adderall laced with meth, the largest known seizure of its kind in the country, announced United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island.

What Is Fake Meth?

Fake meth is a substance made to resemble real meth and provide an intense high. It might contain real meth, some other drug, a mixture of drugs, or no drugs at all. Mixing or replacing methamphetamine with less-expensive cutting agents or drugs allows dealers and producers to stretch their profits. The use of fake meth is on the rise in America, as is the number of overdose deaths involving fake meth. This is mainly because fake meth often contains the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Fake meth can come in a variety of different forms.

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane)

How to make fake methamphetamine? MSM is a supplement sold to relieve muscle pain, reduce inflammation, and boost immunity. MSN is a “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) compound, meaning that it is not known to have any harmful effects on the human body. MSM is a fine, crystalline powder that is highly soluble in water and will crystalize into methamphetamine crystals directly.

Bath Salts

The term “bath salts” is used to refer to synthetic cathinones. This synthetic stimulant has similar effects to cocaine, meth, and MDMA. Synthetic cathinones are a cheap alternative to real meth. By disguising bath salts as meth, the cartels stand to gain a much higher profit margin.

It is a designer drug that may contain substances such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and is available online as a chemical. People who use it typically snort the powder to get high. As a result, it often goes by the nickname “fake meth.” Bath salts are basically amphetamine derivatives and carry all the same cardiovascular risks, which include hypertension, tachycardia, hyperthermia, diaphoresis, seizures, arrhythmias, and respiratory distress. And they can be deadly for people with underlying cardiovascular disease.

How To Identify Fake Methamphetamine?

Without access to a mass spectrometer or other advanced equipment, identifying adulterated or fake meth can be difficult.

Visual Identification

How to spot fake meth? Depending on the specific adulterants or diluents being used, it may or may not be possible to identify fake meth visually. Meth is usually a white powder with no smell and a bitter taste. Crystal meth looks like glass fragments or bluish-white rocks. It dissolves in water.

Fake Meth Test Kits

Harm reduction kits and drug test are available that use specific reagents to identify a wide range of compounds, including the Marquis, Simon’s, Froehde, Liebermann, Mandelin, Mecke, and Folin reagents.

In the tests, a drop of reagent is added to a small amount of the meth. Color changes are then observed.

The Marquis test is generally the first one used. Possible results include:

  • Amphetamine/methamphetamine: light orange fading to brown
  • Fentanyl: brown fading to dark brown
  • MDMA (ecstasy): purple fading to black
  • Bath salts (cathinones): yellow
  • Other opioids including heroin, codeine, etc.: colors ranging from magenta to violet
  • Cocaine: no reaction

While these tests may be useful when a dealer sells heavily adulterated or fake crystal meth, they are less useful when meth is still present but is heavily diluted with compounds that don’t react with the reagent. These reactions are also highly subject to inconclusive results and user error.

​Melting Point Tests

This test uses the melting point of meth to identify imitation or heavily diluted products.

First, the drug is heated in mineral or cooking oil until melted, with a thermometer present. When heat is removed crystals will begin to form as the temperature drops:

  • Pure methamphetamine crystalizes quickly at around 170˚C.
  • Meth laced or fake methamphetamine will crystalize more slowly at a lower temperature

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Fake Meth Addiction Statistics

In July 2012, the U.S. Government passed Pub.L. 112- 144, the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act (SDAPA), that classified a number of synthetic substances under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. SDAPA placed these substances in the most restrictive category of controlled substances.

Cannabimimetic agents, including 15 synthetic cannabinoid compounds identified by name, two synthetic cathinone compounds (mephedrone and MDPV), and nine synthetic hallucinogens known as the 2C family, were restricted by this law. In addition, methylone and ten (10) synthetic cathinones that were subject to temporary control were permanently controlled by DEA through the administrative process.

Another synthetic cathinone, N-ethylbentylone, was temporarily controlled in 2018. Other synthetic cathinones may be subject to prosecution under the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act which allows these dangerous substances to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances if certain criteria can be met.


According to a report issued by SAMHSA, synthetic cathinones were responsible for over 22,000 ER visits in 2011.

Source: SAMHSA


In 2012, calls about Bath Salts to poison control centers peaked with 2,697 and declined each year after that.

Source: NIDA


1 in 5 high-school seniors that make up 1% of those misusing bath salts had used them at least 40 times in the past year.

Source: DEA

Fake Meth or Bath Salts Drug Facts Sheet

What is it?

Synthetic stimulants sold online, convenience stores and “head shops” under various brand names. Resemble Epsom salts and labeled “Not for human consumption.” Erroneously sold as bath salts, plant food and research chemicals.

Street Names

Bliss, Blue Silk, Cloud Nine, Drone, Energy-1, Ivory Wave, Lunar Wave, Meow Meow, Meph, Ocean Burst, Pure Ivory, Purple Wave, Red Dove, Snow Leopard, Stardust, Vanilla Sky, White Dove, White Knight, White Lightning,

How is it used?

Sniffing/snorting, orally, smoked, or put into a solution and injected.

What is their origin?

Synthetic cathinones are manufactured in East
Asia and have been distributed at wholesale
levels throughout Europe, North America,
Australia, and other parts of the world.

What does it look like?

Websites have listed products containing these
synthetic stimulants as “plant food” or “bath salts,”
however, the powdered form is also compressed
in gelatin capsules. The synthetic stimulants are
sold at smoke shops, head shops, convenience
stores, adult book stores, gas stations, and on
Internet sites and often labeled “not for human

Which drugs cause similar effects?

They cause effects similar to those of other
stimulants such as methamphetamine, MDMA,
and cocaine.

Why People Make Fake Meth?

There are several reasons to make fake meth. The number one reason people make fake meth is to make more money per sale. Drugs like fentanyl and synthetic cathinones (bath salts) are much cheaper than real meth.

In addition to the initial increase in profit, many of these drugs are even more addictive than the drugs they’re made to copy. This may not be the case with meth, but fake drugs can also create a more dependent consumer-base for future drug trafficking.

In some cases, meth is heavily cut with other drugs to create a “designer” drug. These drug cocktails are created to produce different effects. Some may be designed to create a longer-lasting or more intense high. In some cases, meth that is cut with MSM is touted as having healing properties.

All illicit drug use is dangerous, but unknown fake meth is even more so.
All illicit drug use is dangerous, but unknown fake meth is even more so.
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How to Tell if Meth is Fake?

Because it can be made of several different substances, fake meth is difficult to identify. It will often resemble real meth or crystal meth, a pure form of methamphetamine.

What Does Fake Meth Look Like?

Fake meth is white and often in powder form, like meth. It can also have a flaky texture or even resemble small shards of glass, like crystal methamphetamine. However, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently stated that it’s being found more frequently in pill form. Law enforcement officials in several cities have shared pictures of fake meth next to real meth, to bring awareness to the difficulty in being able to tell the difference between them.

What Does Fake Meth Taste Like?

Just as it looks the same as real meth, fake meth and fake meth crystals tastes like real meth too. The powder and pills have a bitter taste. Fake meth and fake meth crystals could have a slightly bitter, sweet, or salty taste when smoked or snorted.

What Does Fake Meth Smell Like?

Meth and crystal meth are odorless. However, the chemicals involved in making fake meth typically produce a chemical-like scent when the drug is smoked.

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Pure meth will also dissolve in water or alcohol. However, other substances are also white, odorless, and water-soluble, which doesn’t always make this a viable method to identify fake methamphetamine.
Pure meth will also dissolve in water or alcohol. However, other substances are also white, odorless, and water-soluble, which doesn’t always make this a viable method to identify fake methamphetamine.

Fake Meth Side Effects

The side effects of fake meth will depend on the substances it contains. For instance, if fentanyl is present, the risk of death from overdose increases greatly.

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that also comes with the risk of overdose. It can be present in fake meth in unknown amounts.

Stimulants like meth produce side effects such as the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Feelings of increased energy and wakefulness
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Fast breathing
  • Decreased appetite

Long-term meth use can result in the following:

  • Addiction
  • Paranoia
  • Meth-induced weight loss
  • Dental issues
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Hallucinations

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Dangers Of Fake Meth Use

Using real meth comes with its own laundry list of risks. The upside is that you generally know what to expect, and you can choose to prepare and protect your own safety.

With fake meth and fake pills, you have no idea how it will affect your body, because you usually don’t know what you’re taking.

Heart Attack

Heart attacks are a very real risk with fake meth. Fentanyl in particular is associated with a remarkably high incidence of chest pains followed by heart attack.

Bath salts also come with cardiac risks, but they are usually associated with cardiomyopathy. This condition weakens the heart muscles, making you more susceptible to heart attack and stroke.

Fentanyl Overdose

Opioids are the most common cause of overdose deaths in the United States, and fentanyl is the number one perpetrator.

In 2017, 59% of all opioid-induced fatal overdoses were associated with fentanyl use.

That percentage appears to be on the rise despite a nationwide effort to protect people who use drugs against fentanyl hidden in their drug of choice, such as meth.

“Excited Delirium”

The term “excited delirium” is used to describe an intense reaction to drug use.

This kind of reaction is characterized by agitation and aggression resulting from a mixture of hypothermia and psychiatric symptoms.

It is possible to recover from “excited delirium” with proper medical care. On the other hand, there is a very real risk of organ failure, self-harm, and harm to others.

Fake methamphetamine abuse is a disease that requires professional medical care.
Fake methamphetamine abuse is a disease that requires professional medical care. 

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Fake Meth Addiction Treatment

First and foremost, if you think a loved one is abusing fake meth, you should research the substances and their associated addiction to understand better what your loved one needs.  Next, you must plan an intervention to provide your loved ones with options to battle the effects of fake meth addiction in a safe and supportive environment. During this intervention, offer compassion and support instead of judgment. Lastly, show your support throughout the entire treatment process.

In addition, prolonged drug use can have severe physical and psychological effects on you, so it is essential to seek treatment as soon as possible. Inpatient drug rehab offers intensive care that can help you promptly get through the early stages of fake meth withdrawal. 

Fake Meth Detox

Medical detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated fake meth detox withdrawal but doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior contributing to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete the fake meth detox.

Cravings are very common during drug detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can give medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Inpatient Fake Meth Addiction Rehab

There isn’t one treatment approach or style that will suit everyone. Treatment should speak to the needs of the individual. Inpatient rehab and addiction treatment aren’t just about drug use. the goal is to help the patient stop using fake meth and other substances, but drug rehab should also focus on the whole person’s needs.

Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior. When someone or their family is considering different treatment facilities, they should account for the complexity of addiction and the needs of the individual. The objective of attending an inpatient rehab center for addiction treatment is to stop using the drug and re-learn how to live a productive life without it.

Following a full medical detox, most people benefit from inpatient rehab. Inpatient drug rehab can last anywhere from 28 days to several months. Patients stay overnight in the rehab facility and participate in intensive treatment programs and therapy. Once someone completes rehab, their addiction treatment team will create an aftercare plan, which may include continuing therapy and participation in a 12-step program like Narcotics Anonymous.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. Traumatic experiences can often result in mental health disorders and substance abuse. Dual-diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. This strategy treats both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend mainly on the treatment for both diseases done by the same team or provider.

Fake meth addiction is a condition that can cause major health problems, such as an overdose. However, with the proper treatment, you could live a healthier, sober life.

Medication Assisted Treatments (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

Please, do not try to detox on your own. The detox process can be painful and difficult without medical assistance. However, getting through the detox process is crucial for continued treatment. We Level Up provide proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to assist your recovery through our opioid addiction treatment program medically. So, reclaim your life, and call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

Fake Meth Rehab Near Me

Fake meth addiction is a condition that can cause major health problems, such as an overdose. We Level Up NJ rehab treatment & detox center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from this with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition and clarify issues like fake meth withdrawal symptoms. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.

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