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YORK, Maine — Concern over what appeared to be a new type of candy-flavored crystal methamphetamine prompted a local school superintendent recently to alert parents — although local police and the federal drug agents say the drug has not been found on the East Coast yet.
Meanwhile, urban-myth Web sites question whether the so-called "strawberry quick" meth actually exists. A Drug Enforcement Agency spokesperson said a pink-colored meth has been confiscated in widely scattered incidents over a number of years, although there is no trend and incidents have been mostly on the West Coast.
York Superintendent of Schools Henry Scipione said the concern arose recently when he received an e-mail that originated from the Biddeford, Maine, chief of police, warning about flavored meth called "strawberry quick" — named for the Nestle product Strawberry Quik. The e-mail had come to him from a parent, and "I wasn’t sure what it’s distribution was. When these things start floating around, they take on a life of their own."
Scipione said he didn’t want to take any chances.
"I’d rather have people aware of it than not," said Scipione, who sent out an e-mail to parents late last week telling them about the drug. "You always want to strike a balance between keeping people informed and alarming them."
Biddeford police may well have received the same recent notification from the DEA that Portsmouth police received, said Capt. Janet Champlin. Champlin said the notice referenced "candy flavored methamphetamines" found throughout the nation.
"We believe it’s true" that there are instances of drug dealers distributing a similar drug, she said. "We’ve been made aware of it. It’s brightly colored and resembles rock candy. It was found out west, and it’s not been seen on the East Coast. But as drugs tend to go, it moves its way east."
DEA spokesperson Michael Sanders said an advisory had been sent to regional offices seeking input on whether there had been recent reports of colored meth, which was in turn distributed to local police, but he said no regional office reported seeing any.
There is something of an urban myth surrounding this kind of meth, in that widely scattered incidents of pink-colored meth have mushroomed into preponderance of strawberry quick meth reports, Sanders said.
The nexus appears to be an incident in Blue Springs, Mo., when police confiscated two homemade bongs used for smoking meth, said Sanders. They had told police they had used Kool Aid instead of water in the bong, which apparently gave the meth a pink color.
Since then, Sanders said, there have been "similar sporadic events" of a pink colored meth, although "there haven’t been enough investigations to warrant a trend."
Scipione said the initial e-mail he saw could have led parents to believe the meth was "readily available, which is not true. But if you read that as a parent, you might be concerned."
He said he’s received "quite a bit of response from parents" since the e-mail went out, all positive, thanking him for the warning. "I think we struck the right balance," he said.