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What Does Meth Smell Like?
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What Does Meth Smell Like?

Meth SmellWhat does meth smell like? To start, a meth user’s body odor tends to be a sharp chemical smell. Kind of like a mixture of vinegar and ammonia, primarily due to the fact that highly toxic and non-biodegradable chemicals are used in the manufacture of the drug. When the active ingredient (hydrogenated pseudoephedrine, or in the old days ephedra) is absorbed by the body, the remaining manufacture chemicals (as well as whatever else was used) are dumped into the body's waste disposal system. Additionally, chronic meth users tend not to shower, so if the odor worsens over time that's a good indicator.

Next, when it comes to answering the question, “What does meth smell like?” let’s look at meth labs. A meth lab is an illegal drug manufacturing site containing materials required to manufacture meth. Meth is made from common household items that are readily available at supermarkets and hardware stores. When these ingredients are mixed together or "cooked" to produce the drug, they generate a large amount of chemical waste. This waste is typically dumped down the drain, but may be stored, buried, or dumped elsewhere on the property.

What does meth smell like? Meth labs emit noxious and extremely strong odors that are hard to cover up. A meth lab can have a strong uncommonly sweet smell; not like a perfume, but something more like a lightly scented cleaning chemical. There is a point in the process where it may smell like a gas leak or rotten eggs. Some of the odors related to a meth lab have been described as smelling like:

  • Ammonia
  • Auto parts cleaner
  • Ether
  • Lighter fluid
  • Rotten eggs

Additionally, when it come to “What does meth smell like?”, if you were living next to or near by a meth lab you would probably smell these things repeatedly. Sometimes meth cooks will cover the windows with tin foil to keep the scent from escaping and people from seeing in. Spotting a meth lab can be tough, but the smell is generally a tell-tale sign. The ingredients used in making meth are extremely toxic and flammable. If you are concerned about the possibility that there may be a meth lab near you; call the fire department or police and have them investigate.

In addition to the question of, “What does meth smell like?” let’s look at some other indications of meth use and abuse.

  • Early Signs of Meth Use
    • Euphoric "high" state (excessively happy)
    • Paranoia
    • Decreased appetite
    • Increased physical activity. Obsessive, fidgety behavior. As a stimulant, one of the signs of meth use is that it causes users to suddenly start exhibiting behavior more commonly associated with people who suffer from OCD (like compulsive hand-washing, cleaning). Sometimes a meth user will repeatedly perform the same task over and over again
    • Anxiety, shaking hands, nervousness
    • Incessant talking. Loquaciousness. A meth user often engages in constant, rambling conversation
    • Rapid eye movement
    • Increased body temperature (can rise as high as 108 degrees and cause death)
    • Dilated pupils
    • Sweating not related to physical activity
  • Continued Signs of Meth Use: the above symptoms, plus…
    • Weight loss. Tragically, the goal of weight loss has actually motivated people to start using meth. But extended meth use can cause severe and unhealthy weight loss. The drug that many take in order to look more attractive ultimately leads to physical degeneration that is sometimes unbearable to witness
    • Strong body odor
    • Shadows under the eyes
    • Dry or itchy skin
    • Pale complexion
    • Acne/Acne-type sores
    • Irritable and moody (mood swings)
    • Picking at skin or hair. Another one of the signs of meth use include skin lesions and frequent sores that take a long time to heal. Not only does meth naturally inhibit the body's ability to fight off minor infection, but it can also cause meth addicts to nervously pick at their skin until it bleeds. Chronic meth users often suffer from the hallucination that they have insects crawling beneath their flesh
    • Aggressive or violent behavior
    • Depression (withdrawal/tolerance effect). During withdrawal stages, meth addicts often suffer from depression that remains until their next fix
    • Severe nail biting
    • Nose bleeds, nasal perforations
    • Dermatitis around the mouth
    • Lack of personal hygiene 
    • Wakefulness that lasts for days, or perhaps more than a week. If your neighbor, roommate, or family member doesn't sleep for days, during which time you observe the kind of nervous, high-energy behavior described above, there's a distinct possibility that meth abuse is the cause. Meth abuse often manifests itself in waves of "tweaking," in which a user will take repeated doses of meth, foregoing sleep for days at a time
  • Advanced Signs of Meth Use: the above symptoms, plus…
    • Extreme weight loss
    • Hair loss
    • Discolored, rotten or missing teeth. Tooth decay (commonly referred to as "meth mouth"). Meth abuse over a period of time causes nervous tooth grinding, saliva deficiency, and extreme lapses in hygiene. The result is dramatic tooth decay
    • Corneal ulcerations
    • Severe mental illness symptoms, similar to schizophrenia (including anger, panic, paranoia, auditory and visual hallucinations, repetitive behavior patterns)
    • Absence from work or daily routine. The inevitable crash follows this kind of tweaking. Users will often sleep for long periods of time, their body drained of energy

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