Methamphetamine Addiction

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Methamphetamine addiction happens very quickly. It’s a cheap high and the ingredients are readily available in most households. And I've also been told that the recipes are available on the internet. These ‘home made’ drugs contain cold and asthma medication (ephedrine) hydrochloric acid, drain cleaner, battery acid, lye, antifreeze among others – pretty toxic stuff if you ask me, but people will do anything to get a cheap high. And that’s exactly what it is.

Meth is a stimulant producing effects similar to cocaine. This means it stimulates the central nervous system (CNS), releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine, which makes you feel good. The feeling can last between 4- 24 hr. During this time, you become more sociable. You feel life is rewarding and filled with meaning, but over time, the drug appears to reduce levels of dopamine and this can cause symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.

On the street the drug is called many names: ‘speed’, ‘meth’, ‘chalk’.’ ice’ (chunky crystals which can be inhaled by smoking) ‘crystals’ and ‘glass’.

Meth is taken orally, sniffing it, by injection and by smoking. When smoked or injected there is an intense sensation called a ‘rush’ or ‘flash’ that lasts only a few minutes but it’s extremely pleasant. Oral or snorting produces a euphoric high, but not a rush.

Users become addicted quickly and the more you use the more you want.

In the short-term, even with small amounts, you have problems sleeping, high energy, decreased appetite, hypothermia and euphoria. But there are also other affects, confusion, tremors, convulsions, anxiety paranoia and aggressiveness, hypothermia and convulsions and even death.

In the long term methamphetamine causes increased heart rate and blood pressure. It can cause irreversible damage to blood vessel in the brain producing strokes, respiratory problems, irregular heartbeat, extreme anorexia cardiovascular collapse leading to death.

Meth labs can be dangerous because they occasionally explode, causing fire. Children of users are often neglected or abandoned. (20% of labs raided in 2002 had children present). And there is also the danger of exposure to toxic fumes. This has become a societal problem.

Statistics released for 2004 from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) indicate that substance abuse treatment admissions for methamphetamine and prescription pain medications have continued to increase. The substance abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that methamphetamine admissions to treatment increased by 25% from 2002 – 2004.
And treatment doesn't always work.
So who are the primary users? White and Blue collar unemployed between 20-30 years of age, high school and college students, and women. Women and girls are attracted to the drug for weight loss. It's become a preferred choice over cocaine, because it’s cheap.

More about crystal meth

If you suspect someone in your life is using this drug, or they’re exposed to it, talk to them and find out. This drug is particularly difficult to treat and confronting the problem early on may prevent a serious addiction later.

More on crystal meth

More about stimulants

Using party drugs? Methamphetamine is similar to ecstasy.

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From methamphetamine to Stop Being Addicted

(Source: Center for Addiction and Mental Health)