Fentanyl and methamphetamine (meth) are extremely powerful synthetic drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they’re responsible for a large majority of drug overdose deaths among Americans.
These drugs become even more dangerous when you mix them. And, unfortunately, fentanyl-laced meth is impossible to identify without a fentanyl test strip.
What Is Fentanyl-Laced Meth?
Fentanyl-laced meth is meth that contains fentanyl. It may be in powder, crystal, or pill form.
According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), drug traffickers add fentanyl to meth to give buyers a more intense high or to decrease production costs (as fentanyl is generally cheap to make).
Dealers likely don’t tell buyers they’ve added fentanyl, which poses serious health risks.
Risks Of Fentanyl
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid used to treat severe pain. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it’s up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Because it’s so powerful, fentanyl poses a significant risk of fatal overdose. Common signs of a fentanyl overdose include:
- slow or troubled breathing
- slow heart rate
- cold, clammy skin
- bluish lips or fingernails
- nausea and vomiting
- smaller pupils
- low blood pressure
- loss of consciousness
If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, seek medical help right away. Also, administer naloxone if you have it. Naloxone (brand name Narcan) is a medication that can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. It’s available without a prescription in all states.
Along with overdose, fentanyl can cause addiction (also called substance use disorder). This disease makes you feel unable to stop using a drug despite negative consequences.
Can You Identify Fentanyl-Laced Meth?
In general, it’s not possible to identify fentanyl in meth by color, texture, smell, or taste. However, you can identify it using fentanyl test strips. These strips are available at needle exchange programs or online.
Fentanyl Test Strips
To use a fentanyl test strip in meth, you first need to dissolve the meth in water. In most cases, you should use about 1 teaspoon of water for every 10 milligrams of meth you’re testing. If the meth is in crystal or pill form, you need to crush it into a powder first.
Next, place the test strip in the water for 15 seconds. Lay the strip flat, and check it after about two minutes. For most tests, one line means the meth contains fentanyl, while two lines mean the meth does not contain fentanyl.
It’s important to follow the specific instructions that came with your test strips for both testing and reading the results. Also, remember that even if the test indicates there’s no fentanyl, it might not be accurate. In addition, even if your meth does not contain fentanyl, it’s still extremely dangerous.
Risks Of Meth
As a stimulant drug, meth speeds up your central nervous system, making you feel highly energized. Common side effects include:
- irritability and aggression
- hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t there)
- increased blood pressure and body temperature
- fast or irregular heartbeat
Meth is also highly addictive. When you’re addicted to meth, you’ll face additional health risks, including:
- lung, liver, or kidney damage
- severe dental problems
- meth mites (a hallucination that bugs are crawling on or under your skin, which can cause you to pick your skin excessively and leave sores)
- premature osteoporosis
- permanent damage to the brain and heart
- heart attack
Additionally, like other types of illicit drug use, methamphetamine use poses a high risk of overdose. Common symptoms of a meth overdose include:
- chest pain
- trouble breathing
- change in blood pressure and/or heart rate
- extremely high body temperature
Like a fentanyl overdose, a meth overdose can be fatal when left untreated.
The only way to avoid the risks of meth and fentanyl is to stop using illegal drugs. If you feel unable to do so, you may have a drug addiction.
To learn more about addiction treatment options, please contact a Recovering Champions specialist. Our outpatient substance abuse treatment providers offer personalized, comprehensive care to help you or your loved one stay drug-free.