What is meth?
Methamphetamine is a
powerfully addictive central nervous system stimulant.
What are other names for meth? (top)
The most common names used are crank, crystal and speed,
ice and glass.
What does meth look like and how is it taken?
Meth is available
as a crystalline powder or in rock-like chunks. Meth varies in color,
and may be white, yellow, brown, or pink. Meth can be smoked, injected
How is meth made?
Meth can be made
from household ingredients, including over-the-counter cold medications
containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, red phosphorous, hydrochloric
acid, anhydrous ammonia, drain cleaner, battery acid, lye, lantern fuel
and antifreeze. The fumes, vapors, and spillage associated with cooking
meth are toxic, combustible, and hazardous to children, adults and the
Where is meth made?
Two-thirds of our
country's meth supply is produced in super labs in Mexico and Southern
California, and trafficked throughout the country. The remaining third
is made in small meth labs found in basements, kitchens, garages,
bedrooms, barns, vacant buildings, campgrounds, hotels, and trunks of
What are the short-term effects of taking meth?
smoking or injection, the user experiences an intense sensation, called
a "rush" or "flash," that lasts only a few minutes and is described as
extremely pleasurable. (Snorting or swallowing meth produces euphoria
a high, but not a rush.) Following the "rush," there is typically a
state of high agitation that in some individuals can lead to violent
behavior. Other possible immediate effects include increased wakefulness
and insomnia, decreased appetite, irritability and aggression, anxiety,
nervousness and convulsions.
What are the long-term effects of taking meth?
Meth is addictive,
and users can develop a tolerance quickly, needing larger amounts to get
high. In some cases, users forego food and sleep and take more meth
every few hours for days, bingeing until they run out of the drug or
become too dysfunctional to continue using. Chronic use can cause
paranoia, hallucinations, repetitive behavior (such as compulsively
cleaning and grooming or disassembling and assembling objects), and
delusions of parasites or insects crawling under the skin. Users can
obsessively scratch their skin to get rid of these imagined insects.
Long-term use, high dosages, or both can induce full-blown toxic
psychosis. This behavior is usually coupled with extreme paranoia. Meth
can also cause strokes, heart attack and death.
What are signs of meth use?
you think someone you know might be using meth, or you're a parent who
suspects your teen might be using, here is a list of warning signs to
Shortness of breath
Sores that do not heal
Burns on lips or fingers
Track marks on arms
Withdrawal from family and friends
Change in friends
Long periods of sleeplessness
Long periods of sleep
Twitching and shaking
Erratic attention span
Repetitious behavior, such as picking at skin, pulling out hair,
compulsively cleaning, grooming or disassembling and assembling objects
such as cars and other mechanical devices
Aggression or violent behavior
Carelessness about appearance
Deceit or secretiveness
Delusions of parasites or insects crawling under the skin
all cases of meth use, a user may experience a loss of inhibitions and a
false sense of control and confidence. This can lead to dangerous
behavior and potential harm to the user and to those around him.
Are there effective treatments for meth abuse?
There are no specific treatments for meth abuse. The most effective
treatments for drug abuse and addiction are cognitive behavioral
interventions that are designed to help modify the patient's thinking,
expectancies, and behaviors, and to increase skills in coping with
life's stressors. Drug abuse recovery support groups may be effective in
combination with behavioral interventions to support long-term,
drug-free recovery. There are currently no pharmacological treatments
for dependence on meth.
some established protocols that emergency room physicians use to treat
individuals who have had a methamphetamine overdose. Because
hyperthermia and convulsions are common and often fatal complications of
such overdoses, emergency room treatment focuses on the immediate
physical symptoms. Overdose patients are cooled off in ice baths, and
anticonvulsant drugs may be administered also.
methamphetamine intoxication can often be handled by observation in a
safe, quiet environment. In cases of extreme excitement or panic,
treatment with anti-anxiety agents such as benzodiazepines has been
helpful, and in cases of methamphetamine-induced psychoses, short-term
use of neuroleptics has proven successful.