The methampethamine purchased on today’s streets is not only dangerous in of itself, but often contains additives that make it even more harmful to the body. By the time the drug reaches an individual, it has probably passed through many hands –beginning with the manufacturer and through any number of dealers. At each step, a dealer can alter the meth in several ways. The reasons for adulterating the product are many and varied. Adding an additional substance makes a product weigh more, and if a dealer can buy 1 kg of meth and sell 1.5 kg of adulterated meth at the going price, there is a potential for more profit. Additionally, some manufacturers and dealers add other substances to boost the potency of the product. Regardless of the reason for adding additional substances into meth, the agents are often indistinguishable from the pure product. These additives have the potential to make a dangerous substance even more harmful and deadly.
Commonly used additives, or “cutting” agents, include relatively harmless substances like baby powder, baking soda or powdered milk -which can be irritating to the lungs when burned and inhaled. These additions can be dangerous as they add solid particles that enter the bloodstream. Metal filings have been added as extenders and when they are heated in the smoking process these bits of hot metal sizzle delicate tissues in the mouth. A common cutting agent, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), is hard to distinguish from meth. It has been used to help ease pain and inflammation. Isopropylbenzelamine is another drug that is frequently used to dilute meth. Meth can also be laced with caffeine, which serves to extend the effects of meth and add a jolt to the mix. Lidocaine extends the drug as well and numbs the tissues it contacts.
Because cutting meth is so commonplace, most meth is not very pure. This leads to a high degree of unpredictability, varied potency, and unknown substances. Using any methamphetamine is extremely harmful to the body and potentially fatal. The practice of adulterating meth makes an already highly dangerous behavior even more hazardous.