Methamphetamine is a synthetic stimulant that affecs de central nervous system. The shortened name is simply ‘meth’. When it is in its crystalline form, the drug is called crystal meth, ice, Tina, or glass. It is a highly addictive drug. Usually crystal meth is smoked in glass pipes, similar to how crack cocaine is used. It may be injected (either dry or dissolved in water), snorted, swallowed, or inserted into the anus or urethra.
Methamphetamine is available with a prescription for obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder) , but crystal meth is a street drug, made in illegal labs by chemically altering over-the-counter drugs. Making crystal meth usually involves reducing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, found in cold and allergy medicine.
The drug is commonly manufactured in illegal, hidden laboratories, mixing various forms of amphetamine (another stimulant drug) or derivatives with other chemicals to boost its potency. Common pills for cold remedies are often used as the basis for the production of the drug. The meth “cook” extracts ingredients from those pills and to increase its strength combines the substance with chemicals such as battery acid, drain cleaner, lantern fuel and antifreeze.
It is used by individuals of all ages, but is most commonly used as a “club drug,” taken while partying in night clubs or at rave parties. Highly addictive, meth burns up the body’s resources, creating a devastating dependence that can only be relieved by taking more of the drug. Crystal meth’s effect is highly concentrated, and many users report getting hooked (addicted) from the first time they use it.
Meth increase levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which stimulates brain cells, enhancing mood and body movement. Users describe what the crystal meth high is like as similar to cocaine, only lasting for a longer period of time. There is an almost instant euphoria, followed by an increase in energy and alertness that can last for up to 12 hours.
Short term effects
When taken, the drug create a sense of well-being and energy, and so a person will tend to push his body faster and further than it is meant to go. Thus, drug users can experience a severe “crash” or physical and mental breakdown after the effects of the drugs wear off.
Users can experience
- Loss of appetite and extreme weight loss.
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- disturbed sleep patterns
- delusions of power
- increased aggressiveness and irritability
Other serious effects can include insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, anxiety and paranoia. In some cases, use can cause convulsions that lead to death.
Long term effects of Meth
Meth use can cause irreversible harm: increased heart rate and blood pressure; damaged blood vessels in the brain that can cause strokes or an irregular heartbeat that can, in turn, cause cardiovascular collapse or death; and liver, kidney and lung damage.
Users may suffer brain damage, including memory loss and an increasing inability to grasp abstract thoughts. Those who recover are usually subject to memory gaps and extreme mood swings.
The drug users can display a number of psychotic features, including paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions (for example, the sensation of insects creeping under the skin)
A common sign of meth abuse is extreme tooth decay, a condition that has become known in the media as “meth mouth.” Users have blackened, stained, or rotting teeth, which often can’t be saved, even among young or short-term users. The exact causes of “meth mouth” are not fully understood. Various reports have attributed the decay to the corrosive effects of the chemicals found in the drug, such as anhydrous ammonia, red phosphorus and lithium, which when smoked or snorted might erode the tooth’s protective enamel coating; however, it’s more likely that this degree of tooth decay is brought on by a combination of side effects from a meth high.