What does meth or crack smoke smell like? Need to know if my houseguest is smoking it

Like story short, I have had a house guest over my house for the past 2 weeks as he moves out of his apartment. I noticed it was odd he was literally taking 30 minute hot as hell showers but didn’t want to confront him because he should be out soon.

However now I noticed after he takes a shower I smell a weird smell. It smells like, burning plastic? It’s got a very strong chemical odor, burning plastic or nicotine smoke is what it most smells like to me. It also only happens in rooms he’s been in a while even in the backyard so it’s following him around so it’s not an electric short or anything like that. If he’s trying to be a high schooler hiding his nicotine smoke despite being 40 I’d be fine with that but when I confronted him about it today he denied it and he has no reason to deny him smoking cigarettes in the back since I told him it would be okay if he did that but he still denied it.

Now I’m afraid he’s doing hard drugs, meth or crack is the only thing I can think of that he could smoke like that and try to deny doing it in my house. It’s definitely not weed smoke since I’ve had friends over who smoked weed (legally since it’s California) and it’s not that kind of smoke smell.

Well “burning plastic” definitely sounds familiar to this former crack smoker (more like experimented a couple of times).

But your friend sounds highly functional so that gives me pause as to what he may be up to.

I don’t understand the relationship of the shower, the hotness thereof, and the smoking of this illicit substance, whatever it is. Surely he’s not smoking in the shower itself? And if he is just smoking in the bathroom, why does the shower have to be super hot?

Here’s a parent’s guide to drug smells. Both meth and crack seem to smell like chemicals or burnt plastic. Also, if the bathroom fan is running, stand near the outside vent while he is engaged in this pastime, and you will get whatever smell he is generating (if any).

Generally high schooler students (or people still living with their parents) will try to mask marijuana or other illicit substance by smoking while a hot shower is running so it “covers” the smells with the steam fog. Then they’ll use the fan or open a window to clear out both the smoke and fog.

A forensic pathologist, whose business it was to testify about this stuff in court, described it to me as follows: “Meth smells like… meth.” [“chemical” is not very specific, considering the millions of different ones. Thiazole does not smell like ammonia or ether or phenol…]

I’m trying to follow the steps here. You presumably know that the shower was “super hot” by the amount of steam left behind. So your guest is either innocent or not very bright if he didn’t do step two, clear the room of steam and smoke.

It doesn’t seem like a very good plan anyway. Steam has no smell to mask anything else. Why not just clear the room of smoke while smoking, even standing next to the window or fan to make that easier? Teenagers are not known for analytical thinking in situations like this, but I assume your guest is old enough to figure this out.

If he’s smoking enough meth that he feels the need to hide it, his cognitive functions may not be all that, either.

OP has not indicated any loss of cognitive function in his guest, it seems to be all about the smell.

One of the marks of addiction is that you start to take it to feel normal, not high. I’ve known many functional alcoholics that acted calm and rational while drinking amounts that would cause a non-alcoholic to be rip roaring drunk. Heroin users can appear sick until they get their fix, after which they can appear normal.

At a minimum the steam (which is actually water vapor if you don’t hear screams of someone’s skin being burned off) helps carry the smoke out through a fan or open window. The heat increases the pressure inside the room and the water vapor escaping produces a current taking smoke with it. Smoke is harder to move around than water vapor, you can stand by window waying your hands and all the smoke could still be hanging around the far end of the room.

Well, I was thinking of blowing your own smoke out the window or straight at the fan intake as you’re smoking. But I do see your point about steam carrying the smoke out.