One of the things that can make enforcing drug laws difficult for police is that enterprising drug manufacturers are constantly reformulating their products, both in an attempt to avoid detection and in the chase for a better, more potent high. There are more designer and synthetic drugs out there than most people can keep track of, which means it can be hard to tell whether news about emerging drug trends is actually true. It seems like every few weeks, some hysterical post will appear on social media and start spreading like wildfire, about a dangerous new drug that’s plaguing our schoolyards. Generally speaking, it’s safe to assume that these drugs either don’t exist at all or that they were involved in one or two cases and somehow got blown up by the public into an epidemic. One such story making the rounds right now is about a type of meth called strawberry meth or strawberry quick.
The story goes that drug dealers are using pink coloring to disguise crystal methamphetamine and make it more appealing to children. Some accounts also say that the drug even tastes of strawberry. The name Strawberry Quick comes from the flavored milk drink Quik, which is popular with children. One report from CBS News claimed that Strawberry Quik was used as the flavoring agent. The theory was that meth has a burning sensation and a bitter taste when ingested, and this flavoring would make it more palatable, in addition to making it marketable to kids.
The drug is supposed to look like rock candy or Pop Rocks (a hard candy that makes a popping and fizzing sensation in the mouth). Accounts of emergency responders and school officials encountering the drug have been popping up on and off since 2007, at which time it was widely covered by the media as a true story. Two senators even introduced legislation to increase the federal criminal penalties for drug dealers who attempted to lure in children with candy-flavored methamphetamine and other drugs.
Back when the reports first surfaced, both the DEA and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy reported that they could find no evidence of any flavored meth having been seized. Most likely, what happened is that someone saw colored meth – which does exist, although usually as a result of the manufacturing process and not in an attempt to lure in children – and somehow came to the conclusion that it was also flavored.
Keep in mind the next time you see a post on Facebook shouting “Parents beware!” that most of these stories turn out to be false. A quick Google search should be enough to determine if it’s a hoax, although it’s always a good indication when the sources for the stories are unnamed first responders.
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