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VERIFY: Is "Strawberry Meth" a real concern?

We verify social media warnings about a new type of strawberry-flavored meth targeting children.

The social media warning is dramatic: A new drug called "Strawberry Quick" that looks like Pop Rocks candy, but it's methamphetamine that's strawberry-flavored, in order to be more appealing to children.

The warning also comes with a graphic photo of a child who presumably fell victim to this new drug.

But is it true?

Our Verify team found it's a decade-old warning that has resurfaced in 2018. The first warnings of this type of meth began in 2007, starting with a drug raid in Carson City, Nevada.

Detectives found pink-colored meth, which the drug dealer marketed on the street as, "Strawberry Meth." The confiscation prompted a law enforcement bulletin by the Nevada Public Safety Department. News outlets across the country seized on the story, and warning letters were distributed in countless schools nationwide.

However, sometime after the media blitz -- the story changed.

We reached out to the Carson City Sheriff, who is still on the job. In an email, Sheriff Ken Furlong said, "investigators later believed that it was methamphetamine colored" pink.

So does strawberry-flavored meth really exist?

We turned to the Drug Enforcement Agency, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

All three agencies told us that they could not verify, or had no data on strawberry-flavored meth.

As for the photos of a child's graphic wounds?

We found the same photos in an online medical journal which reported on the case of a 6-year old South African girl who had oral lesions from Human Papillomavirus. One of the references in the article is a book, co-authored by Dr. Amy Paller, Chair of Dermatology at Northwestern University's School of Medicine.

"She has warts. It has nothing to do with methamphetamine," said Dr. Paller, who is not happy that the girl's photo is being misused.

"We're seeing warts in a child with immunodeficiency. It's upsetting. First of all, this poor girl. Can you imagine? Fortunately, she doesn't know what's going on. Wouldn't that be horrible?" said Dr. Paller.

While the strawberry-flavored meth warning is false, there are real concerns about colored meth that is being packaged as candy.

Last year, Harris County Sheriff's Office investigators in Texas, seized 600 pounds of multi-colored methamphetamine lollipops. The estimated street value was $1 million dollars.

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