Super Meth and its Increase in Pennsylvania

Young man speaking with a therapist

Most people are aware of the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania, but the state has also seen an increase in methamphetamine overdose deaths as well. And now, there’s a new form of meth that’s stronger and purer called “super meth.” This substance has been making it into many large cities, including Tucson, Arizona, Atlanta, Georgia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Let’s learn more about super meth, what makes it especially dangerous and its connection with fentanyl. 

What Is Super Meth? How Does it Compare to Regular Meth? 

Super meth, also known as P2P meth, is a variant of standard methamphetamine. Instead of using ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which is now regulated and sold behind counters, it uses phenyl-2-propanone (P2P). This allows drug cartels to make the substance cheaply and easily, where they then smuggle it through U.S. borders where it’s distributed to major cities. 

The key differences between super meth and regular meth are its purity (super meth is up to 97% pure), its prevalence (91% of DEA samples in 2012 were manufactured using the P2P method) and its price (it’s less expensive). The combination of these factors make super meth a highly potent, addictive and destructive substance. 

What are the Dangers of Super Meth? 

Standard methamphetamine has been considered a party drug, creating an energetic, euphoric high that lasts for 12 hours. However, super meth has a high that lasts up to 24 hours. It’s also possible for regular users to experience severe dental decay and gum disease (also known as “meth mouth”), cognitive deficits, neurological damage and cardiovascular problems. 

Chronic meth use also puts people at risk for infectious diseases, sores, a weakened immune system and poor hygiene. Over time, meth can damage the systems in the body, leading to organ failure, decreased brain function and overdose. These risks are even greater when using super meth. Signs of overdose include chest pain, rapid heart rate, breathing problems, elevated body temperature and paranoia. 

Methamphetamine and Fentanyl 

Overdose deaths have increased sharply in PA. A part of this problem is fentanyl, a synthetic opioid used to treat severe pain. However, illicit fentanyl is made in labs and smuggled into the U.S. Because fentanyl is cheap and easy to produce, it’s often added to other substances to make them stronger and more productive, including methamphetamine. 

While some fentanyl is mixed into methamphetamine without the user knowing, other times, the user combines it on their own. They do this to counteract the effects of fentanyl, which slows down the nervous system. This combination is referred to as speed-balling or goof-balling. It’s important to know that this is a dangerous mixture that raises the risk for overdose and death, specifically from respiratory depression. The risks are even greater for those who haven’t taken opiates before. 

Getting Help for Meth Use Disorder in Easton, PA 

Methamphetamine is a powerful substance, and it can be difficult to quit. However, it is possible to make a full recovery from meth use and live your life to the fullest. Recovery Cove offers outpatient services that will align with your schedule. We offer a range of therapeutic interventions, such as group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, family counseling, holistic practices and yoga. Contact us today at 484-549-COVE to learn more about how we can support your recovery.