Street Names, Common Forms and Paraphernalia
Meth is known by more than 200 street names. The purest forms of meth are known as ice, crystal or Tina. “Glass” usually indicates a chunk form of meth. Meth is also known as “poor man’s cocaine” because of its lower cost and the longer high it produces. Additional names include beanies, chalk, crank, fire, Jenny Crank diet, junk, sketch, speed, zip and zoom. A combination of meth and caffeine is called yaba in Thailand and means ‘danger’29 or ‘crazy medicine.’28 The use of meth and yaba is widespread in Thailand. Prostitutes, truck drivers and many other workers were regularly using meth. Because of traffic accidents and workplace violence, the Thai government began a campaign in 2003 to reduce meth use. Although prices rose and use decreased among workers as a result of this crackdown, it remains a popular party drug. Globally, tweakers are people who abuse meth regularly causing them to behave or react violently. Users may also be known as speed freaks. Manufacturers of meth are known as cookers.38
Due to the variety of ingredients and recipes, the forms and colors of meth vary widely. This lack of consistent color and form makes it difficult for law enforcement agents to identify. The powder form of meth can be almost any color but the most popular colors are white, pink, brown, grey, orange or yellow. Meth also comes in pill form and can be almost any color. A third form is rock crystals or chunks which are generally an off-white color. Liquid meth is being smuggled into the United States, especially the West, Midwest and Southeast, and converted to crystal meth. Liquid meth is finished meth that is dissolved in a solvent. Once the solvent is evaporated, meth remains. Liquid meth can be easily concealed in gas tanks; windshield fluid reservoirs; liquor bottles, laundry, antifreeze and horse shampoo containers; and bottles of flavored water, iced tea and aloe vera herbal supplements. Frequently the containers appear to be factory sealed, further hampering identification.67 Meth readily dissolves in beverages so it is possible for the drug to be inadvertently ingested. It can be taken vaginally, rectally, orally, optically, smoked, snorted or injected.21,22 The preferred method of abusing meth varies by geographical region and has changed over time. Smoking meth is currently the most common way of ingesting the drug.30
There are a variety of items associated with the use of meth, depending on how the drug is used. If the drug is taken orally, various pills may be evident. If injected, syringes may be found. If aluminum foil and glass pipes or light bulbs with the filament end removed or a soda can with a hole in the side are found, the user may be smoking meth. If meth is snorted, hollowed pens or straws may be found among the user’s possessions. Be suspicious of large numbers of juice, water, or other beverage bottles. Containers such as laundry detergent or antifreeze that may be out of place, for example in a teen’s room, should arouse suspicion and need further investigation. Liquid meth is a very concentrated and deadly form of meth that is not meant to be used prior to evaporation. CBS News reported the November, 2013, death of a teenager due to ingestion of liquid meth.4 The teen was attempting to smuggle liquid meth in an apple juice bottle from Mexico to San Diego. In an attempt to persuade inspectors that the liquid was just apple juice, the teen took “a big sip.” Shortly thereafter, the teen began screaming in pain and died hours later from acute meth intoxication.
According to the 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA), seizures of meth mixed with fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances are increasing in the US. The potency of these substances and concern that the user may not know that the meth contains these substances increases the occurrence of overdose.69