Methamphetamine (meth) is a highly addictive stimulant with potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulating properties. Meth is labeled as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that it has a high potential for abuse and limited medical use. Today there is only one legal meth product used medicinally; the FDA approved medication called Desoxyn®. It is available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled. It is currently marketed in 5-milligram tablets and has very limited use in the treatment of obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Since Meth is man-made distributors have to “cook” chemicals to produce a product. Mexican drug trafficking organizations have become the primary manufacturers and distributors of methamphetamine to cities throughout the United States, including in Hawaii. Illegal laboratories in the United States also produce and distribute meth but it is on a much smaller scale. The “cooking” methods used depend on the availability of chemical ingredients. Currently the main ingredient in meth is over the counter products that contain pseudoephedrine. The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 requires retailers of non-prescription products containing pseudoephedrine, ephedrine or phenylpropanolamine to place these OTC products behind the counter or in a locked cabinet so they are not easily accessible in large quantities. Consumers must be over the age of 18 and are required to show identification and sign a logbook for each one of the products purchased.
Typically meth comes in either a pill or powder form. Crystal meth resembles glass fragments or shiny blue-white “rocks” of various sizes. Meth can be swallowed, snorted, injected or smoked. Individuals who smoke or inject meth report a brief but intense sensation initially, this is known as a “rush.” Oral ingestion or snorting produces a long lasting high instead of a rush, which reportedly can continue for as long as half a day. Both the rush and the high are believed to be the result of the release of very high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine into areas of the brain that regulate feelings of pleasure.
To intensify the effects, users may take higher doses of the drug, take it more frequently or change their method of intake. There are times when meth abusers will go without food and sleep while taking part in a form of binging known as a “run.” Meth users on a “run” inject as much as a gram of the drug every two to three hours over several days until they run out of meth or become too disorganized to continue.
Long-term meth use carries heavy consequences which include a lot of damaging effects to the body as well as addiction. Chronic meth abusers suffer physically from violent behavior, anxiety, confusion and insomnia. They suffer mentally from paranoia, aggression, visual and auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances and delusions such as the sensation of insects creeping on or under the skin. This intense paranoia can result in homicidal or suicidal ideation. Meth abuse may also cause extreme anorexia, memory loss and severe dental problems.
Researchers have reported that as much as 50% of the dopamine-producing cells in the brain can be damaged after prolonged exposure to even relatively low levels of meth. Researchers also have found that the serotonin-containing nerve cells may be damaged even more extensively from the same amount of use. Taking even small amounts of meth can result in increased wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite, rapid breathing and heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure and hyperthermia (overheating). High doses of Meth can elevate an individual’s body temperature to dangerous, sometimes lethal levels. High doses can also cause convulsions, cardiovascular collapse and death.
Street names of methamphetamine include: Batu, Bikers Coffee, Black Beauties, Chalk, Chicken Feed, Crank, Crystal, Glass, Go-Fast, Hiropon, Ice, Meth, Methlies Quick, Poor Man’s Cocaine, Shabu, Shards, Speed, Stove Top, Tina, Trash, Tweak, Uppers, Ventana, Vidrio, Yaba and Yellow Bam. Drugs that have similar effects include: Cocaine and potent stimulant pharmaceuticals, such as amphetamines and methylphenidate.
If you or someone you love has a problem with methamphetamine, call our professionals at Sobriety Resources (855)289-2640 today to experience the freedom of sobriety.