- November 20, 2016
- Posted by: Keith Graves
- Category: CNS Stimulants, Drug Trends
It was just a matter of time. Officers on the street are now encountering suspects that are vaping methamphetamine. So how are they doing it? Does it smell like meth when they smoke it? First, let’s look at how a vaporizer works.
All vape pens basically have the same components.
- A rechargeable lithium battery. Most are charged with a USB cord connected to your computer.
- A cartridge containing nicotine, flavoring and chemicals like glycerin or polyethylene glycol.
- An atomizer, which consists of a heating coil.
- A sensor that registers when you take a drag and activates the atomizer and LED light.
The atomizer heats the liquid to the boiling point of the liquid and then that liquid starts to turn into a vapor. It is a much lower temperature than burning a cigarette, where the users inhales smoke from the burning cigarette. The vapor dissipates quickly after exhaling and usually smells like the liquid that is being vaporized.
How Addicts are Vaping Methamphetamine
So, how are meth addicts smoking methamphetamine out of their vaporizers? They are mixing the methamphetamine with the liquid that is placed in the vaporizer. Mix in more meth than liquid and it will smell like meth when they smoke it. So, most users will mix in enough liquid to make it smell like cherries, strawberries or whatever liquid they are using to mask the smell of methamphetamine. The smoke from the meth will taste like the liquid being put in there. Can you imagine the problems we will have when teens find out that they can have cherry flavored meth out of a vape pipe?
Officers should know this process for obvious reasons. If you happen to arrest a person for DUI drugs, you now know that they can hide meth in their vape pens. I would suggest searching all vape pens when you have probable cause or consent. You can test the liquid with a presumptive test and it should test positive if there is methamphetamine in the liquid. There are pictures below for illustration.