CAMBRIDGE, Ohio (WCMH) – Calling it a rare and dangerous substance, the Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office said it has never seen something like this before: a vape pen containing methamphetamine.
The sheriff’s office first found the pen — also known as an e-cigarette — when deputies searched someone after arresting them on Thursday. Detectives did a field test on the flavored nicotine oil in the pen, and the results came back positive for methamphetamine. The sheriff’s office said it then sent the mixture to the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement laboratory for more testing. Within a day, the lab confirmed the vape pen had methamphetamine concentrated in with the nicotine.
“This is the first case reported by officials in Southeastern and Central Ohio, and the first case that the laboratory came across for the six counties it conducts tests for,” the sheriff’s office wrote.
A detective for the Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office told NBC4 that the meth-nicotine mixture was street-made rather than bought at a store, and that people may be trying it for a “different kind of high,” since it mixes a depressant with a stimulant. The sheriff’s office said this kind of combination can also be extremely dangerous.
While the vape pen containing meth is a first-of-its-kind case for law enforcement in Central Ohio, it’s not the first time that the pens have been used for the drug. In what Utah school officials called “more than one incident,” the Sacramento Bee reported in 2019 that multiple high school students’ vape pens tested positive for methamphetamine.
The idea of using vape pens to inhale illegal drugs is also something that prompted scientific research within the same year. A study published on the National Library of Medicine website tested just how efficient using vape pens for meth could be, going as far as using as to conduct an experiment with one.
“Methamphetamine was successfully detected in the aerosol produced by the KangerTech Aerotank e-cigarette,” the researchers wrote. “Utilizing an e-cigarette to aerosolize [methamphetamine] allows users to vape the illicit drug in public without suspicion.”
The sheriff’s office recommended people wanting to use vapes go through official businesses and retailers to buy their cartridges.
“This substance has made its way into our communities and is believed to be actively pushed into our local community through illegal narcotic sales and distribution,” the sheriff’s office wrote.
Detectives were searching for where the meth-mixture vape pen came from as of Wednesday. They did not name the arrested person who had it due to an ongoing investigation.