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Meth Facts

Meth Facts: Use and Abuse of Meth

  • An estimated 8.8 million people (4.0 percent of the population) have tried methamphetamine at some time in their lives.
  • Due to the toxic waste created by meth, many first responders to meth related calls are injured by hazardous materials. The most common symptoms of meth exposure are respiratory problems, eye irritation, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath.
  • Meth facts show that heavy usage often takes the form of binges, known as "runs," in which the addict injects meth every two to three hours. During a run the meth addict does not eat and stays awake for days at a time.
  • Immediately after meth injection, the user experiences a "rush," a sudden feeling of intense pleasure. Snorting and oral ingestion of meth take several minutes to take effect and do not produce a rush in this way.
  • Meth facts reports that this drug is a neurotoxin, meaning it damages the nervous system. Meth use can cause dependence and addiction psychosis, stroke, dangerously high body temperature, and cardiac arrhythmia. Withdrawal often results in severe depression and paranoia.
  • Meth is a synthetic drug produced or sold as pills, capsules or powder that can be smoked, snorted, injected or swallowed. Meth is accessible in many different forms and varies in color from white to brown. Most meth comes in a powder form resembling granulated crystals or in the rock form known as "ice".
  • Methamphetamine is a Schedule II stimulant, which means it has a high potential for abuse and is available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled.
  • Methamphetamine is commonly known as "speed," "meth," and "chalk." In its smoked form, it is often referred to as "ice," "crystal," "crank," and "glass."
  • Methamphetamine poses a particular problem because it can be produced in clandestine laboratories using over-the-counter drugs, house-hold products, and other readily available chemicals. These laboratories are subject to a high risk of explosion, causing fires and releasing toxic gases.
  • Meth facts show that some meth labs are now portable and can be easily dismantled, stored, or moved. This portability helps meth manufacturers avoid law enforcement authorities. Meth labs have been found in many different types of locations, including apartments, hotel rooms, rented storage spaces and trucks. Meth labs have been known to be booby trapped and lab operators are often well armed.
  • The manufacture of meth has a severe impact on the environment. The production of one point of meth releases poisonous gas into the atmosphere and creates 5-7 lbs of toxic waste. Many lab operators dump the toxic waste down household drains, in fields and yards or on rural roads.

Meth Facts: Effects of Meth

  • Although there is an initial general sense of well-being, methamphetamine use has been associated with both long- and short-term problems such as brain damage, cognitive impairment and memory loss, stroke, paranoia, anorexia, hyperthermia, hepatitis, HIV transmission, and violence.
  • Chronic meth abuse can lead to psychotic behavior including intense paranoia, hallucinations, and out-of-control rage that can result in violent episodes. It is not uncommon for chronic users to develop sores on their bodies where they have scratched at what are called "crank bugs".' This is a term used to describe a common delusion that bugs are crawling under the skin. Insomnia and anxiety are also common.
  • Meth facts reports that chronic meth abuse can result in inflammation of the heart lining. Those who inject meth could notice damaged blood vessels and skin abscesses. Chronic meth users progressively lose their ability to relate to others socially.
  • Meth use during pregnancy can cause prenatal complications such as increased rates of premature delivery and altered neonatal behavior patterns, such as abnormal reflexes and extreme irritability. It could also be linked to congenital deformities.
  • Methamphetamine gives its users a boost of energy and causes them to feel more alert. It also acts as an appetite suppressant.
  • Methamphetamine has mood-altering effects, behavioral effects such as increased activity and decreased appetite, and a high lasting 8 to 24 hours.
  • Methamphetamine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that dramatically affects the central nervous system.
  • Meth facts show that this drug works by tricking the brain into releasing large amounts of dopamine, the brain chemical responsible for the sensation of pleasure and well-being.
  • Negative side effects of meth include convulsions, dangerously high body temperature, stroke, cardiac arrhythmia, stomach cramps and shaking. Chronic use of meth can result in a tolerance for the drug. Long term users often try to intensify the desired effects by taking higher doses, taking it more frequently or changing their method of ingestion. Some abusers will refrain from eating or sleeping for days while they binge, or "run", on meth. During these episodes, an user may inject as much as a gram of meth every 2-3 hours for several days until they run out of the drug or are too dazed to function.
  • Meth facts from drug abuse researchers have reported that as much as 50 percent of the dopamine-producing cells in the brain can be damaged after prolonged exposure to relatively low levels of methamphetamine.
  • Smoking or injecting meth will cause an intense rush almost immediately, while snorting the drug results in about a 5 minute delay. Those who take Meth orally will not notice meth's effects for about 20 minutes. Meth causes a release of high levels of dopamine into the section of the brain that controls the feeling of pleasure.
  • Unlike opiates, methamphetamine often increases libido. Because of this, the drug is often used in conjunction with sex, which increases the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Meth Facts: Meth Withdrawal and Overdose

  • After meth use is stopped, several withdrawal symptoms can occur, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, paranoia, aggression and an intense craving for the drug. Psychotic symptoms can sometimes persist for months or years after an addict has stopped using meth.
  • As an addict goes through meth withdrawal (a state known as "tweaking"), they can often become intensely paranoid and violent.
  • Meth facts reports that hypothermia and convulsions can occur when an user overdoses and, if not treated immediately, can result in death. Research has shown that as much as half of the dopamine-producing cells, or "feel good" chemicals, in the brain can be damaged by prolonged exposure to relatively low levels of meth. Also, serotonin-containing nerve cells may be damaged more extensively, leading to long-term sleep deprivation.

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