Your face on meth: Face2Face Software by Abalone LLC

By Scott M. Bruner
Police1 Product Editor

If there’s one thing universal about teenagers – it’s their nigh obsessive concern about appearance. That’s one reason why Abalone LLC’s Face2Face software is making such an impact on preventing young people from getting involved with methamphetamines.

Face2Face is a software program that is able to show people what their faces would look like subject to the ravages of methamphetamine abuse. It is able to show a visual prediction of the effects of meth after 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years of abuse. The visuals – especially to youth – can be astonishing.

“We just started to use Face2Face recently, but the response is overwhelming,” said Mendocino community services officer Maureen Wattenburger, “Juveniles, for example, are very concerned about their appearance and seem to be shocked when observing the ‘before’ and ‘after’ 3D images.”

The hope is the very visceral experience of watching your face become emaciated and scarred with the telltale signs of addiction will provide an effective deterrent to drug use. The software was developed when Mendocino, Calif., sheriff Tom Altman approached Abalone LLC software to assist the county’s Methamphetamine Awareness Program, a joint venture between the County and the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians. The program is now able to tour local schools demonstrating to students the very real visual impacts of meth use.

Face2Face employs two 12 megapixel Pentax Option S12 cameras on tripods take pictures of a subject seated in front of backpaper to create a three-dimensional image of the person’s face. The actual software can be run on a Windows XP or Vista machine, and after a brief moment of identifying features, then begins to molds the original face into a startling methamphetamine caricature. The results can be startling.

Face2Face has been adopted by several police departments in California including Santa Cruz, Los Angeles and Orange County as well as in Alabama and Texas. Recently, the U.S. Air Force ordered the software as part of their drug reduction program at the Okinawa Airbase.

The Face2Face system, which includes all the necessary hardware, is currently on sale for $2,995, though it usually lists for $3,795 and is available at

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