Synthetic Drugs Part 3: Methamphetamine
Methamphetamine is a synthetic stimulant that affects the central nervous system and can be highly addictive. Meth can take the form of a white, bitter tasting crystalline powder. Meth can also be made into a pill and/or a white or clear rock called a crystal. Meth is used by snorting, injection or swallowing a pill. “Crystal meth” is smoked in a glass pipe.
Methamphetamine is also known as: “Meth,” “Speed,” “chalk,” and “tina”; or for crystal meth, “ice,” “crank,” “glass,” “fire,” and “go fast.”
Methamphetamine was developed early in the 20th century from its parent drug, amphetamine, and was used originally in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers. Most of the methamphetamine used in the United States comes from “superlabs”—big illegal laboratories that make the drug in large quantities. Methamphetamines can also be made in small labs in people’s homes using cold medicine and other toxic chemicals.
Methamphetamine causes a release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. The release of small amounts of dopamine makes a person feel pleasure when they do things like listen to music, play video games, or eat tasty food. Methamphetamine’s ability to release dopamine very quickly in the brain produces the feelings of extreme pleasure, sometimes referred to as a “rush” or “flash,” that many users experience. After the effects have worn off, the brain has less dopamine, which can lead to depression.
The release of dopamine in the brain causes several physical effects, similar to those of other stimulants like cocaine. These include:
- Feeling very awake and active
- Fast heart rate and irregular heartbeat
- Higher blood pressure
- Higher body temperature
- Increased risk for HIV/AIDS or hepatitis (a liver disease) from unsafe sex and shared needles
Effects of Long-Term Use
Continued methamphetamine use may cause effects that last for a long time, even after a person quits using the drug. These effects include:
- Anxiety and confusion
- Problems sleeping
- Mood swings
- Violent behavior
- Psychosis (hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there)
- Skin sores caused by scratching
- Severe weight loss
- Severe dental problems, known as “meth mouth”
- Problems with thinking, emotion, and memory
Faces of Meth:
The following pictures are from the Department of Justice. As you can see, continued Meth use will destroy your body.
Methamphetamines can kill you, simple as that. If someone you know uses Methamphetamine please encourage them to seek treatment. If you or someone you know needs help, Youth Outreach is available. Stop by or give us a call at 1.866.538.8023.
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