The hit TV show “Breaking Bad” introduced the concept of blue meth to millions of Americans. But rumors of an ultra-pure form of blue meth existed before the TV show premiered in 2008.
Rumors and misunderstandings are common in the drug world. Dealers regularly lie about the purity of the product they’re selling. People who use drugs don’t know what’s in the substance they’re taking. Even people who are addicted to drugs rarely understand how the drugs are made.
Before “Breaking Bad,” it’s unlikely that many people believed pure blue meth existed. On old drug forums, commenters have claimed to have had some experience with blue meth. Many commenters wrote that a friend of a friend knew someone who tried it once.
Those who posted online about firsthand experiences said blue meth didn’t provide a spectacular high. These people were likely using meth that had blue coloring added to it, or they were using an impure form of methamphetamine.
That’s because pure meth isn’t blue. It’s colorless. If the drug is truly created without contaminants, meth looks like white rocks or clear crystals, according to the University of Arizona. Most people don’t have the knowledge or resources to create pure crystal meth. Most of the meth on the street has a slight discoloration, such as a faint yellow, brown or orange tint.
In the AMC drama “Breaking Bad,” lead character Walter White creates a 99.1 percent pure form of crystal meth. The character reveals that it appears blue because of a unique manufacturing method and its high purity.
The drug eventually garners the nickname “blue sky.” Several characters on the show smoke the meth and quickly recognize that the drug causes a superior high. Despite its supposedly high purity, no one overdoses on meth after trying the drug.
The show leads viewers to believe White is using superior chemistry to create pure meth, but real chemists have pointed out flaws in the character’s methods. The meth ingredients and methods White uses in the show actually create less pure forms of meth in real life, according to Jonathan Parkinson, an analytical chemist.
Blue meth was a central part of the plot for the show’s five-season run between 2008 and 2013. At one point, competing drug traffickers dyed their meth blue on the show. The storyline foreshadowed events in the real world.
In 2010, blue meth appeared in Utah and Kansas. Investigators in Utah said the coloring was probably added to help dealers and drug users identify who created it. Officers from the Kansas City Police Department speculated that the drug was dyed with blue chemicals to mimic the blue meth in “Breaking Bad.”
However, Kansas police said the dealers may have also been trying to beat field drug tests, in which police officers mix suspected meth with a chemical to identify the drug. If the chemical turns blue, they know the drug is methamphetamine. Blue meth complicates the field test, but that’s unlikely to get someone off the hook for a drug crime.
Blue meth has also been found during major drug busts. In a 2013 raid, sheriff’s deputies in Canadian County, Oklahoma, found 40 pounds of blue meth worth an estimated $2.3 million. Authorities in New Mexico also confiscated blue meth in 2014.
None of the lab results from the seizures indicated that the blue meth was purer than regular crystal meth. However, some reports indicated that blue meth costs twice as much on the street as regular meth.
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