Methamphetamine

meth Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and dangerous stimulant that dramatically affects the central nervous system when smoked, snorted injected or orally ingested. Methamphetamine is white, odorless, and sometimes referred to as “speed,” “meth,” “ice,” “crystal,” “crank,” and “glass.”

Who uses methamphetamine?

  • While methamphetamine has typically been associated with white, male, blue-collar workers in rural areas, the drug is now reportedly being used by diverse groups in all regions of the country.
  • Young adults who hang out in clubs or attend raves use methamphetamine at alarmingly high rates with the age of first use averaging between 20 and 22 years.
  • Methamphetamine use is increasing among gay and bisexual men, making this population more vulnerable to contracting and spreading sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV/AIDS.
  • Increasing use of methamphetamine is reported among male and female commercial sex workers who also trade sex for drugs and among members of motorcycle gangs. Also, people in occupations (such as long-haul truckers) that demand long hours, mental alertness, and physical endurance, have been using this drug at increased rates.

Some scary trends…

  • Methamphetamine is not usually bought and sold on the streets like marijuana, cocaine or heroin. Users report that they typically obtain methamphetamine from closely-knit networks of friends and acquaintances or at “invitation only” parties.
  • Methamphetamine can be made with readily available inexpensive materials — including some household products. That means that there is great variation in the processes and chemicals used and that the final product that is sold as “methamphetamine” may not be methamphetamine at all, but rather a highly altered chemical mixture with some stimulant-like effects. Uncertainties about the drug’s sources and the pharmacological agents used in its production makes it especially difficult to determine toxicity, and resulting consequences and symptoms.
  • Methamphetamine is often being used in dangerous combination with other substances, including cocaine/crack, marijuana, heroin, and alcohol.
  • There is emerging evidence that the intravenous use of methamphetamine is on the rise. Injecting methamphetamine or any other drug puts the user at increased risk for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases.

What happens when someone uses Methamphetamine?

  • Methamphetamine users are likely to experience several signs of extreme agitation, including rapid speech, decreased appetite, and increased physical activity levels. Other common symptoms of Methamphetamine use include: dilated pupils, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and elevated body temperature.
  • Users may also experience intense paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, bouts of insomnia and they may display aggressive and violent behavior.
  • Long term use of Methamphetamine — like other drugs — is likely to have a substantial impact on a person’s health, overall functioning and relationships.

Treating methamphetamine addiction…

  • Withdrawal from methamphetamine is typically characterized by drug craving, depressed mood, disturbed sleep patterns, and increased appetite. Antidepressant medications can be prescribed to combat the depressive symptoms frequently seen in methamphetamine withdrawal.
  • Several cognitive behavioral interventions designed to help modify a patient’s thinking and behaviors, and to increase skills in coping with various life stresses, have been found to be effective. Getting help for methamphetamine addiction sooner rather than later is important in reducing the potential for negative consequences and enhancing the likelihood of treatment success.
  • If you or someone you know is struggling with methamphetamine addiction, please call LICADD at 516-747-2606 for immediate assistance.