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New “Strawberry Quick” candy crystal meth rumour explodes on Facebook

A warning about strawberry flavoured crystal meth for kids that looks and smells like “Pop Rocks” candy has exploded with a new viral life and is popping up every few minutes on Facebook.

The fresh iteration for the “Strawberry Quik Crystal Meth” alert has been moving across the globe rapidly in the last few days despite attempts by several hoax websites to shoot it down.

The highly credible Snopes.com did add a caution, however: The rumour first started in 2007 is false, but police have seized pink crystal meth that could look like candy.

So quickly has the rumour been circulating that arguments have broken out on Facebook and the Internet security website Sophos.com has weighed in to discredit it.

The most common post reads: “ALL PARENTS PLEASE BE AWARE!! . There is a drug going around the schools. it looks like popping candy that kids eat & also smells like strawberries & also comes in other flavours like chocolate ect (sic) . this drug that looks like popping candy is actually crystal meth rocked up with strawberry flavor & can kill them.”

Other versions have turned up on U.S. parenting blogs in the last few days but the Facebook message has moved through North America, France and Australia.

One version, dating to May 2007 when the hoax spread by email and turned into a news story, identified the warning as coming from Special Agent Todd V. Coleman of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Coleman told Urban Legends the email wasn’t from him, the website Hoax Slayer reported.

Police in Carson City, Nev. had originally reported that strawberry flavoured, sweetened crystal meth was being sold on the streets in January, 2007, but later admitted none had actually been found.

A few months after publishing a USA Today story quoting the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as confirming crystal meth in a dozen flavours had spread to nine states, the website drugfree.org admitted that: “Flavored meth is somewhat akin to the Loch Ness Monster: everyone has heard of it, but firsthand sightings are hard to track down and verify.”

The initial confusion, according to Snopes, appeared to be that hot pink crystal meth does exist but it’s not strawberry flavoured or sweetened and isn’t specifically marketed to children.

Nevertheless, police in Oxfordshire, England, sent warnings to 80 schools about Strawberry Quick, named for the powdered drink mix, before admitting they’d been duped, the BBC reported in 2008.

A Yahoo France group republished a Eurotox chart following the spread of the rumour by month and year back to December, 2004.

Hoax about crystal meth being marketed to kids has made the rounds before and still has not been verified.

Strawberry Quick Meth scare spreads widely via Facebook

For the last few days Naked Security has received enquiries from readers asking about a message that has been widely shared across Facebook.

Although the message isn’t related to computer security issues, it seems to have raised enough concern that it feels appropriate to discuss it here.

The message, which is sometimes distributed with an image of what appears to be pink-coloured crystalized methamphetamine, claims that children are being targeted with drugs that taste of strawberries.

. There is a drug going around the schools . It's known as Strawberry Quick . or strawberry meth . it looks like pop rocks that kids eat, smells like strawberries &. also comes in other flavors like chocolate, etc. Please tell your children not to take candy from anyone even a classmate because this drug that looks like pop rocks is actually crystal meth rocked up with strawberry flavor & can kill them :'( . PLEASE RE POST. So all parents are aware of this . Thank You!

The Hoax Slayer website, however, points out that the messages are highly exaggerated and inaccurate and can be dated back as far as 2007.

So, if you are forwarding this message to your Facebook friends, you are perpetuating what seems to be a baseless scare rather than providing a useful warning.

Nonsense messages like this clog up social networks just like commercial spam, wasting time and hardly helping the signal:noise ratio.

Keep your wits about you and stay informed about the latest scams, hoaxes and malware attacks spreading fast across Facebook. One of the best ways to do that is to join the Sophos Facebook page, where more than 160,000 people regularly share information on threats and discuss the latest security news.

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Facebook users are sharing messages warning that children are being targeted with strawberry-flavoured crystal meth. But is there any truth in the widespread warning?