Pink Meth (Strawberry Quick Meth)
In This Article
What is Pink Meth?
Pink meth, also called strawberry quick meth, is a type of methamphetamine that is pink in color. It reportedly has a sweet, strawberry-like taste and produces the same effects as other types of meth.
Often, the color of methamphetamine is caused by specific additives or contaminants in the drug that are added either inadvertently, intentionally, or coincidentally.
Strawberry meth first appeared in the media during the mid-2000s, when it sparked a moral panic surrounding teen drug abuse, later proven to be false. However, pink methamphetamine does exist, along with meth of other colors.
Colored meth might be more popular among young adults and teenagers, just as recent formulations of fentanyl are colored to be more attractive to younger people.
Side Effects of Using Pink Meth
Using pink meth has the same side effects as other methamphetamines. It can be smoked, injected, snorted, or ingested orally. Immediate side effects include:
- Increased attention and decreased fatigue
- Boosted activity and energy levels
- Drop in appetite
- Euphoria or a rush of joy
- Increased respiration
- Rapid or irregular heart rate
- Hyperthermia (abnormally high body temperature)
Meth rapidly releases high amounts of dopamine into the brain's reward centers, which can cause people to develop a meth addiction.1
What is the Strawberry Meth Myth?
In 2007, rumors began circulating about a new type of meth designed to target children. This meth reportedly had a pink color and a strawberry flavor, earning it the nickname strawberry quick.
The media warned parents that manufacturers were formulating the meth to look like Pop Rocks or rock candy. It also had a sweet flavor to attract children. However, there’s no evidence that drug dealers were selling pink meth to children, or that they specifically marketed it as candy.
Colored meth and flavored meth do exist, though. Teenagers and young adults may be more attracted to them. In 2021, an estimated 0.2% of 8th through 12th graders reported using some form of meth in the past year.2
Risks of Pink Meth Abuse
Using any kind of methamphetamine is dangerous. It has implications on a person’s health over the short- and long-term.
Common long-term risks of methamphetamine abuse include:
- Changes in brain structure and function
- Distractibility and memory loss
- Aggression or violence
- Mood disturbances/swings
- Severe dental problems
- Weight loss
All methamphetamine agents, regardless of color or packaging, can leave a user’s body with serious damage. The most severe consequences someone might face are:
- Permanent damage to the heart and brain
- High blood pressure leading to heart attacks, strokes, etc.
- Liver, kidney, and lung damage
- Mood disorders
- Insomnia and sleep disturbances
- Paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions
- Intense itching and skin sores
- Severe dental disease (meth mouth)
- Premature osteoporosis
- Overdose and death
Meth use can be fatal. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported that deaths resulting from non-cocaine psychostimulants (mostly methamphetamines) increased by 180% from 2015 to 2019.3
Using colored methamphetamines may carry an additional risk. One study speculated that colored meth, including pink meth, may have more contaminants than clear meth.4
No matter what type of meth they choose, anyone who uses meth puts themselves at a high risk for severe health consequences.
Treatment for Meth Abuse
Treatment for methamphetamine addiction requires professional help. It can take years, but it’s possible to achieve long term recovery. Treatment options usually combine multiple modalities, including rehabilitation, mental health counseling, and support groups.
Rehabilitation for pink meth use generally involves entering into a treatment program. A person embarking on recovery may choose an inpatient rehab program, where they live on site. They can also choose to live at home while undergoing an outpatient program.
Rehab programs provide the support and structure to detox from meth addiction. Detoxing, or removing the toxins from the body, is the first step in the process of no longer engaging in drug use.
Detox begins by stopping the ingestion of meth and allowing the body to resume normal functions. It’s physically and mentally exhausting, and attempting detox without professional help can run the risk of relapse.
Over 60% of recovered methamphetamine users relapsed within the first year, demonstrating the importance of ongoing support.5
After detox has ended and withdrawal symptoms have abated, the next step in the treatment process is some form of therapy or counseling.
The most common type of therapy used is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which can also treat depression and anxiety. Studies show CBT is associated with reductions in methamphetamine use and other positive effects.6
Though medication-assisted therapies have proven effective for recovering from other types of drug use, there’s no evidence showing that any medication counteracts the effects of methamphetamines.
Pink meth is a type of crystal methamphetamines with a pink color and a sweet flavor.
It became known as strawberry quick meth in the mid-2000s during a drug abuse scare. It’s associated with the same negative health impacts as any other kind of meth, and treatment is the same.
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- “Know the Risks of Meth.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2022.
- “What is the scope of methamphetamine use in the United States?” National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, 2019.
- “Methamphetamine-involved overdose deaths nearly tripled between 2015 to 2019, NIH study finds.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, 2021.
- Strathdee, S., et al. “The Color of Meth: Is it Related to Adverse Health Outcomes? An Exploratory Study in Tijuana, Mexico.” The American Journal on Addictions, PubMed Central, 2011.
- Brecht, M. et al. “Time to relapse following treatment for methamphetamine use: a long-term perspective on patterns and predictors.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, PubMed Central, 2015.
- Lee, N. et al. “A systematic review of cognitive and/or behavioural therapies for methamphetamine dependence.” Drug and Alcohol Review, PubMed Central, 2015.