Methamphetamine (also called crystal meth or just meth) is a man-made stimulant drug. Many people use it illegally, but it is occasionally used legally by prescription to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obesity as "Desoxyn".
Methamphetamine has two isomers, "left-handed" and "right-handed". Left-handed methamphetamine helps fight stuffy nose and is legal. Right-handed methamphetamine makes people feel high and is mostly illegal. This page is mostly about the right-handed form.
Ways of using methamphetamine[change | change source]
Snorting[change | change source]
When meth is snorted, the methamphetamine crystals are ground up and made into little lines (also called rails). Then they are inhaled through the nose with rolled-up paper, rolled-up dollar bills, empty plastic pen tubes, short plastic straws, or other things that can be made into a small "tube" shape.
When meth is snorted, its effects last longer than when it is smoked or injected. The effects can last as long as twelve hours. However, it takes longer to feel the effects, and there is not as strong of a "rush" (a very happy feeling called euphoria).
Smoking[change | change source]
When meth is smoked, the crystals are placed into a glass pipe (called a "meth pipe") or a hollowed-out lightbulb. The crystals are warmed up from underneath by a flame (like from a lighter or matches). The methamphetamine is not actually "smoked" this way; it is heated up until it melts. When it melts, it turns into a gas that the user then breathes in.
Injecting[change | change source]
Methamphetamine can be mixed with water, then put into a needle and injected. Meth can be injected under the skin (this is called "skin-popping); into a muscle; or into a vein. Injecting meth into a vein causes the quickest, strongest euphoria.
Eating[change | change source]
If methamphetamine is eaten, it gets absorbed into the body from the digestive system. The effects take longer to start, but they last longer.
Effects[change | change source]
Desired effects[change | change source]
Desired effects are the things people want to feel when they take methamphetamine. These include:
- Having a lot of energy
- Being able to stay awake for a long time
- Losing weight
Adverse effects[change | change source]
Adverse effects are the bad things that using methamphetamine can cause. Meth has many adverse effects. For example:
Addiction[change | change source]
One of the reasons meth is so addictive is that people feel very bad when the effect begins to wear off. Many users claim to have an uncontrollable urge to get more of the drug after using it.
When people are addicted to meth, they will have withdrawal symptoms when they do not take meth. This means they will feel sick when they do not have the drug. For example, without meth, people will feel anhedonia. This means they cannot feel good without taking meth.
Overdose[change | change source]
Overdosing on meth (taking too much) can make a person very sick. Some of the symptoms of methamphetamine overdose are very dangerous, and can even kill a person. For example, overdosing on meth can cause:
- Very high heart rate
- Heart attack (or, in the worst cases, the heart can stop beating)
- Very high blood pressure, which can cause a stroke
- Trouble breathing
- Kidney damage or kidney failure
- Coma (in the worst cases)
"Meth Mouth"[change | change source]
"Meth Mouth" is a term used to describe destroyed teeth in people that use methamphetamine. Meth mouth can happen very quickly. A new addict can go from having healthy teeth to losing all of their teeth in as little as one year. The decay (rotting teeth) is not caused by methamphetamine itself, but by meth users not brushing their teeth, having a lot of sugary drinks, and having dry mouth.
The life expectancy of a meth addict is 5-10 years.
Other effects on the body[change | change source]
Methamphetamine's effects on the body can include:
- Rhabdomyolysis (the muscles in the body break down)
- Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
- Sweating a lot
- Loss of appetite (not wanting to eat) and losing a lot of weight
- Bruxism (clenching the jaw very tightly; the person cannot control this)
- Increased libido (wanting to have sex)
Effects on feelings and behavior[change | change source]
- Taking risks (doing dangerous things) without thinking things through (like having unprotected sex, which can spread sexually transmitted diseases)
- Doing things over and over again (like tapping a pencil for hours at a time); this is called "punding"
- Feeling paranoid
- Psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions (for example, a person may feel like there are insects crawling under their skin)
- Feeling irritable (easily annoyed)
- Panic attacks
Long-term effects[change | change source]
People who take meth over a long time often have serious psychological problems, like:
- Mood swings (very quick changes in mood)
- Delusions (believing things that are not true)
- Very bad paranoia
References[change | change source]
- "METHAMPHETAMINE (Trade Name: Desoxyn®; Street Names: Meth, Speed, Crystal, Glass, Ice, Crank, Yaba)". deadiversion.usdoj.gov. http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drugs_concern/meth.htm. Retrieved January 23, 2011.[dead link]
- "NIDA – Research Report Series – Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction". drugabuse.gov. http://drugabuse.gov/researchreports/methamph/methamph2.html#what. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- "DESOXYN" (PDF). accessdata.fda.gov. Food and Drug Administration. pp. 1, 7. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/005378s026lbl.pdf. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- "CRS Report for Congress" (PDF). house.gov. May 22, 2006. http://www.house.gov/gallegly/issues/crime/crimedocs/RS22325.pdf. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- "NIDA – Research Report Series – Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction". drugabuse.gov. http://drugabuse.gov/researchreports/methamph/methamph3.html. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- "Methamphetamine Fast Facts". justice.gov. http://www.justice.gov/ndic/pubs3/3981/index.htm. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
- "Illinois Attorney General – Basic Understanding Of Meth". illinoisattorneygeneral.gov. http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/methnet/understandingmeth/basics.html#Anchor-Ho-22954. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
- "CEWG Publications – 6/99 Seattle Advance Report – Epidemiologic Trends in Drug Abuse – NIDA". archives.drugabuse.gov. http://archives.drugabuse.gov/about/organization/CEWG/AdvancedRep/699ADV/699adv.html. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
- Heller, MD, MHA, Jacob L. (April 5, 2013). "Methamphetamine Overdose". www.nlm.nih.gov. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007480.htm. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
- "WHAT IS THE LIFE EXPECTANCY OF A METHAMPHETAMINE ADDICT?". DRS. http://www.drugrehab.ca/what-is-the-life-expectancy-of-a-methamphetamine-addict.html. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- "DrugFacts: Methamphetamine". www.drugabuse.gov. U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse. January 2014. http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
- "Signs of Methamphetamine use in youths – Alcohol and Drug Abuse Information – Vermont Department of Health". healthvermont.gov. http://healthvermont.gov/adap/meth/youth_signs.aspx. Retrieved January 23, 2011.