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What Does Meth Look Like?

Meth is a highly addictive stimulant drug that increases activity in the central nervous system. Contrary to popular belief, there is a prescription version of meth known as Desoxyn. Doctors prescribe it to treat obesity and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

While there is a medicinal version of meth, most people are abusing it off of the street. This means they have no way of telling what substances are used to create the meth. Street meth is created using pseudoephedrine and an array of household chemicals like paint thinner.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 2.5 million people reported using meth in 2021.

If you are wondering what meth looks like, most people will buy it in crystal form. This means meth will look like a crystalline substance that is usually a translucent white color. However, meth also comes in powder form, liquid, and inside of pills.

What Does Meth Look Like?

People who buy meth off of the street usually receive it in either crystal or powder form. However, it is possible to receive meth as a pill or liquid too.

If you suspect that your loved one is abusing meth, it can be helpful to know what the different forms of meth look like.


Powdered meth is common among meth users who like to snort it. Additionally, IV users might seek out this form of meth because it is easier to heat up and inject.

Powdered meth might appear similar to cocaine. However, while cocaine is white, powdered meth is translucent. Some drug dealers might include additives that change the color of the meth, making it blue, green, yellow, and even red.


Crystal meth is created by dissolving the powder into a solvent. This form of meth looks similar to shards of glass. These shards might be large or small depending on how they have been handled.

More often than not, crystal meth is see-through like glass. That said, it can be cloudy depending on what adulterants are used.

Typically, crystal meth is smoked in a pipe. However, people might also crush it to snort it. Crystal meth is one of the more desirable forms because it tends to produce longer-lasting effects.


While it is rare to receive a prescription for methamphetamine (Desoxyn), it does exist. Desoxyn is used to treat ADHD and obesity and contains meth hydrochloride. Even though the FDA regulates it, prescription meth is still dangerous to abuse.

Some drug dealers sell meth pills when they get their hands on a prescription. Additionally, they might make Desoxyn illegally by using a pill press. If so, the pills could contain dangerous additives.

Even further, some people buy MDMA pills and are given a pill that contains meth instead. This is extremely common in the club and rave scene. Users can tell the difference by looking out for the effects of meth, which include increased energy, paranoia, and excessive teeth grinding.


As drug trafficking laws become more strict, drug dealers start to get creative. To get meth inside a different country, they might dissolve it into a liquid, making it easier to conceal.

Liquid meth is usually yellow or dark brown. It tends to have a thick and syrupy consistency. While liquid meth is common among drug traffickers, they usually convert it back into powder or crystal before it is sold.

What Does Meth Smell Like?

Some people describe meth as odorless, however, the scent can change based on what is used to make it. The most common description for the smell of meth includes a scent similar to ammonia. When someone is smoking meth you might smell a mixture of chemicals and sweetness.

Examples of what meth products may smell like while it is being cooked or smoked include:

  • Nail polish remover or paint thinner
  • Vinegar
  • Fertilizer or bug spray
  • Household cleaning products
  • Ammonia or cat urine
  • Rotten eggs
  • Burning plastic

If you believe that someone you love has a homemade meth lab, it is important to keep your distance. Meth fumes can create a contact high. Additionally, the products used to create meth are highly flammable, which means the lab could experience an explosion.

What Does Meth Taste Like?

Crystal meth tends to have a chemical and bitter taste. Like how it smells, the process used to make it can affect how it tastes. If household chemicals like paint thinner or nail polish remover are used, you might taste those substances.

Because meth tends to taste bad, people usually do not swallow the drug. People who swallow meth to experience a high might put it into empty pill capsules. This is known as a “parachute”.

That said, most people smoke, snort, or inject meth. Any type of meth abuse is dangerous, often leading to long-term health problems. If you believe a loved one is abusing meth, you should help them seek help from a meth rehab center near you.

How to Identify a Meth Pipe

Meth pipes might be referred to as oil burners or glass roses in the convenience and adult stores they are sold in. This helps these stores from getting into legal trouble for selling drug paraphernalia.

Most meth pipes have a long and straight pipe on the end that you smoke from. On the other end, there is a glass bubble where you put the crystal meth in. To smoke meth, people light this bubble until the meth is converted into a liquid.

In addition to pipes, meth is associated with other types of paraphernalia. People abusing meth might have small plastic baggies, tin foil, rolled-up dollar bills, small straws, and meth residue on surfaces.

Finding Help for Meth Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one abuse meth, it’s time to seek help. Treatment programs like Mandala Healing Center can help you overcome substance abuse with evidence-based therapies and relapse prevention planning. Additionally, we take a compassionate approach to meth addiction treatment to ensure our clients remain safe and supported.

Contact us today to learn more about our meth addiction treatment center.