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What is meth? Meth is a synthetic stimulant drug which induces a strong feeling of euphoria and is highly psychologically addictive.  Pure Meth is a colorless, crystalline solid sold on the streets as glass, ice or crystal.  It can also be sold as a less pure crystalline powder called crank or speed, or in a rock formation commonly referred to as tweak, dope or raw.  Meth is sometimes prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy under the brand name Desoyxyn.

What is Meth and its Effects?

What is Meth?Meth works in the brain by causing the release of norephinephrine and dopamine.  This combination causes the user to become obsessed with menial repetitive behaviors such as cleaning, washing hands, or taking objects apart repeatedly.   Most of the necessary chemicals to create Meth are readily available in household products or over-the-counter medicines.  This drug was first synthesized in Japan in 1893 by a chemist known as Nagayoshi Nagai.  During World War II, it was given to troops in Germany as a stimulant by the name of Pervitin.  Although synthesis is relatively simple, most methods involve flammable and dangerous chemicals, which can cause fires/explosions if used by amateur chemists working with makeshift laboratories. Methamphetamine drug abuse is common in nightclubs.

Until the early 1990s, Meth was made mostly in labs run by drug traffickers.  Although these areas are still the largest producers for the U.S. market, more and more small-scale labs are now being discovered all over the United States.  Thanks in part to the heavy media coverage of this issue, thousands of these small-scale Meth labs are being discovered and shut down across the country as a result of increased police activity.

As with other amphetamines, tolerance to Meth is not completely understood.  Methamphetamine drug addiction is considered to be very complex and cannot be explained by any one single mechanism.  As with other drugs, the extent of the individual’s tolerance to Methamphetmaine varies widely between individuals and is highly dependent on dosage, duration of use, and frequency of use.

Common side effects of using include:

  • Developing the “jitters
  • Jaw clenching
  • Teeth grinding
  • Meth mouth (where the user loses their teeth abnormally fast)
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Compulsive fascination with repetitive acts
  • Talkativeness
  • Irritability
  • Panic attacks
  • Increased libido
  • Dilated pupils

Side effects associated with chronic use include:

  • Drug craving
  • Weight loss
  • Withdrawal-related depression
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Rapid tooth decay (meth mouth)
  • Amphetamine psychosis

Side effects found to be associated with overdose include:

  • Formication (the sensation of bugs crawling under the skin) “crank bugs
  • Long-term cognitive impairment
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Kidney damage
  • Possible stroke/heart failure

See also…  Methamphetamine dangers

Methamphetamine Use by AgeMethamphetamine is considered to be highly addictive, especially when it is smoked or injected.  Withdrawal  can be very intense and relapse is common. Previous Meth users have reported feeling “dull” and “stupid” when they stop taking the drug.  With long-term abuse, abstinence often leads to slow thinking and depression.  Serious drug addiction can also be linked to poor hygiene and general self-care issues.  …more on Methamphetamine addiction.

Drug-Specific Information

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