What is it?
Methamphetamine or Meth is a powerful addictive stimulant that is
similar to adrenaline, and dramatically affects the central nervous
system. The fact that it is widely manufactured from inexpensive
ingredients in simple labs, often homebased, contributes to its
widespread use. Toxic ingredients such as battery acid and drain
cleaner are also used to produce meth.
Meth, crank, crystal, speed, ice and glass. Use is often referred
to as “doing a line.” Binging is “doing a run.”
How is it used?
Methamphetamine is a white or colored powder that can be taken
intravenously, smoked, snorted through the nose, or made into pill
form and swallowed. Smokeable methamphetamine is known as glass or
Signs of usage:
When under the influence of meth, the user may be very talkative
with a high level of energy. Dry mouth can be observed, as well as
dilated pupils. Users may also scratch at imaginary bugs on the
face and other skin, leaving sores. Weight loss can be observed
after a period of use.
Effects of usage:
At first the user feels energized, focused, positive, and alert.
Many people take the drug to stay awake and active. However, the
first “high” is usually not attained again with the same dose, so
more meth is taken the next time. Many teenage girls and young
women take meth to lose weight, which seems easy because of loss of
appetite. Insomnia, sweating, and repeated motor activity are
common effects as well as some alarming psychological and physical
effects. These can include paranoia; increased heart rate; increase
in blood pressure; delusional thinking; anger and aggression;
tremors, and at higher doses, palpitations and hypothermia.
How long do the effects last?
The effects of meth can last anywhere from three to 12 hours. Users
often “do a run” for several days straight in an effort to increase
and prolong meth’s perceived positive effects, going without sleep
Effects of withdrawal:
When the feeling of well being and energy wears off, the meth user
may experience entirely opposite effects, because the drug
suppresses the normal production of adrenaline in the body.
Irritability and fatigue may result. This often leads to the desire
to use more in order to remain high.
Many of the effects of meth use can be negative, such as
sleeplessness, anger and paranoia. More dramatic reactions include
convulsions and agitation. An overdose can result in a potentially
fatal cardiac arrest or stroke. There is also a possibility of lead
poisoning. Meth abuse during pregnancy can result in congenital
deformities and premature delivery.
Effects of prolonged usage:
The pleasure/tension cycle is self-perpetuating. Long-term meth use
is devastating. The user is unable to function in daily life and
experiences exhaustion when the drug wears off. Dental decay is a
well-known result of prolonged use. Long term use and higher doses
needed to get high increase the risk of toxicity, overdose and
death. Death by overdose rose 125 % between 1998 and 2002. Meth may
permanently cause brain damage after prolonged use.
Usage by youth:
The heartbreak of meth’s high incidence of use by teens and young
people is exacerbated by the desire by young women to be thin. Meth
use crosses every income and social background, and is common at
“rave” clubs. The Internet is rife with sites that provide meth
recipes and information on where to obtain ingredients. More than
.3 % of 12 to 17-year olds and 18 to 25-year olds currently use
meth. Among students, methamphetamine use was reported in 2000 to
be 1.3 % of eighth grade students, 1.5 % of tenth grade students
and 1.5 % of high school seniors. Higher percentages have actually
used methamphetamine at some time, including almost 12 % of high
school seniors. At least 4% of the U.S. population reports using
Hospital emergency and treatment admissions for meth use increased
throughout the 90s. In
the past few years, the use of meth among teens has increased
significantly for youth aged 12
to 17. Over the past few years, meth produced in Mexico has also
*Information provided by Dr. Barbara
A. Krantz, Chief Medical Officer at the Hanley Center
*First Check Diagnostics Corp. is offering these resources for
informational purposes only, and the Hanley Center is no way
affiliated with any of the entities that provide the