Dealers may add coloring or flavoring to meth to make it more appealing, but there is limited evidence of strawberry meth being marketed to youth.

Hoaxes often seem to come out of nowhere and spread incredibly quickly, especially through social media. One recent example you may have heard about is the “strawberry quick meth” hoax.

The strawberry meth scare has been circulating since 2007, when news outlets reported that drug dealers in Nevada, Missouri and Arkansas were adding red coloring and flavoring to crystal meth to make it more appealing to younger populations. While the problem may not be as widespread as the headlines warn, it’s true that drug dealers may be able to disguise drugs as candy. It’s important for parents, as well as the general public, to be aware of these potential risks.

What Is the Strawberry Meth Scandal?

The strawberry meth scandal refers to a story that appeared in 2007, which reported that drug dealers were potentially disguising meth with products like Strawberry Quik and Pop Rocks. According to this and related reports, drug dealers wanted to target younger customers — including children — but needed a way to make meth more appealing in terms of looks, taste and smell. The name “Strawberry quick meth” refers to this form of meth’s color and supposed sweet flavor, which is said to mask the drug’s acidity.

Messages about strawberry quick meth frequently circulate on Facebook and other social media sites. Many of these include supposed images of the drug along with warnings to parents that it is making its way around schools. Some school groups, such as parent-teacher associations, have even sent out warnings about strawberry meth. Some storiesstate that it’s also available in other flavors, such as chocolate, cherry, grape and orange.

Although colored crystal meth may exist, many media outlets and experts say that there’s no evidence dealers are seeking out young children to give them meth. From the perspective of the drug dealer, doing so wouldn’t make sense. Drug dealers want people who can provide them with a steady stream of income, which wouldn’t include children. Further, if a child inadvertently took meth even once, they would likely be in harm’s way and avoid seeking more.

Is There Colored or Flavored Meth?

While the concept of strawberry quick meth being given out on school playgrounds has been debunked, that doesn’t mean that meth can’t be colored. Some meth labs will color their product to make it stand out from the rest of the market. For example, colored meth was seized in Nevada in 2007, and it’s believed this is likely what sparked the hysteria surrounding strawberry meth.

More recently, a 2017 raid in Texas turned up nearly $1 million worth of multi-colored lollipops that were laced with methamphetamine. According to news articles, police responded to a home burglary report and found a man and woman trying to place the lollipops in the trunk of their car, which was so full of drugs it could not be closed.

In some cases, batches of meth may accidentally turn out pink or light red due to the synthesizing process or the presence of colored dyes in the products used to make meth. Research shows meth that is colored instead of clear is less pure. Contaminants in colored meth can lead to health problems, such as abscesses on the skin. Some dealers and meth manufacturers will try to market colored products as being stronger or having fewer negative side effects, but these claims are untrue.

Summing Up: Is Strawberry Quick Meth a Concern?

The concept of strawberry meth — at least in terms of being given to children at school — is a myth. Further, it wouldn’t be in the best interest of most drug dealers to give away free products to children. However, it’s possible that colored and flavored meth may be floating around in some areas. While these products may not be directly marketed to children, it’s important to be cautious because young children can easily mistake drugs for candy. In addition, colored meth can pose greater health risks but mislead people into thinking it may be less harmful. In reality, meth in any form is a highly addictive and dangerous stimulant drug.

If you or someone you love is struggling with methamphetamine addiction, it’s time to seek professional help. The Recovery Village provides a full continuum of care that can treat your addiction as well as any co-occurring mental health conditions you may have. Reach out to one of our knowledgeable representatives today to learn how you can start on your path to recovery.

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Editor – Jonathan Strum
Jonathan Strum graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor's in Communication in 2017 and has been writing professionally ever since. Read more

Fletcher, Mike. “Police warn of strawberry-flavored meth.” Kokomo Tribune, May 10, 2007. Accessed October 30, 2021.

Gambrell, Jon. “Candy-Flavored Meth Targets New Users.” CxBS News, May 2, 2007. Accessed October 30, 2021.

Jackson, Amanda. “Texas police seize 600 pounds of meth-laced lollipops.” CNN, June 13, 2017. Accessed October 30, 2021.

Lai, Lynna. “VERIFY: Is “Strawberry Meth” a real concern?” WKYC Studios, September 26, 2018. Accessed October 30, 2021.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “What is methamphetamine?” May 2019. Accessed October 30, 2021.

Strathdee, Steffanie A.; et al. “The Color of Meth: Is it Related to Adve[…]y in Tijuana, Mexico.” The American Journal on Addictions, 2008. Accessed October 30, 2021.

Moudy, Shannon. “KLEW Investigates: Strawberry-Flavored Meth.” KLEW, October 13, 2017. Accessed November 5, 2021.

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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.