Methamphetamine Addiction

What is Methamphetamine?

When a person consumes methamphetamine, he or she is consuming a drug that “works directly on the brain and spinal cord.” Methamphetamine affects the way neurotransmitters communicate with one another; therefore, affecting a person’s thinking patterns and his or her behaviors. The main neurotransmitter that is affected by methamphetamine is dopamine. Dopamine controls how a person feels about a particular situation. For example, if a student receives all A’s on his or her report card, he or she should feel a great sense of accomplishment. If the student is taking methamphetamine, he or she will not feel excited about receiving all A’s. Instead, the only thing that will excite him or her is the consumption of meth.

It was in the 1970s that methamphetamine was recognized for its high potential of abuse. During this time, the drug became a Schedule II Drug.

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What is Methamphetamine Oftentimes Referred to As?

The street names for methamphetamine can include any of the following:

  • Speed
  • Crank
  • Ice
  • Dope
  • Chalk
  • Meth
  • Crystal
  • L.A.
  • Quartz
  • Glass
  • Go-go

Where Does Methamphetamine Come From?

Methamphetamine is produced on both a domestic and international basis. At one time, the drug was mainly distributed by motorcycle gangs, however, over time, local producers have become one of the top sources for the product.

How is Methamphetamine Made?

Unfortunately, it is relatively simple to make meth. In fact, children as young as ten years old have been known to produce the drug. There are more than 2,500 recipes to make meth, all of which use a wide assortment of ingredients. For the most part, meth is made from over-the-counter medications, anhydrous, lye, nitrate, salt, and a few other ingredients.

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Who are Meth “Cooks?”

People who make meth are commonly referred to as meth “cooks.” On average, these “cooks” will teach ten other people per year how to make the product. The drug can be made at home, out in the woods, in a vehicle or basically anywhere a “cook” chooses.

How Long Does it Take to Make Meth?

It takes anywhere from two hours to several days to make meth, with the time period depending on the ingredients used as well as the type of meth being made.

How Much Can Meth be Sold For?

On average, in the year 2013, a gram of meth can be sold for $100. If the potency of the drug is believed to be above average, a seller may charge extra. This amount is far less than what the drug was being sold for in the year 1999, with a gram costing about $240.

Who Uses Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine use is not restricted to a certain group of people. People of all ages, races and socioeconomic backgrounds use the drug. Due to the ability to produce the drug from one’s own home, as well as the affordability of the drug, many people who live in poverty abuse the drug. Some of the most common users include any of the following:

  • Students in high school and college
  • Blue-collar workers
  • Unemployed people

In What Ways can Methamphetamine be Consumed?

  • Smoked
  • Snorted
  • Injected intravenously
  • Taken orally

What Happens When a Person Consumes Meth?

The way that a person consumes meth will determine the effects. If injected, the user will feel an intense, immediate and pleasurable rush. If smoked or snorted, the rush is intense, but it does not kick in until three to five minutes after it is consumed. If the drug is taken orally, the effects take at least 15 minutes to begin. No matter the way the drug is consumed, it stimulates the central nervous system, causing users to have high levels of energy. If taken for long periods of time, the drug can cause acute psychiatric problems, suicide or even murder. No matter how the long the drug has been taken, users risk death due to heart failure, stroke and/or major brain damage.

What are the Short Term Effects of Methamphetamine?

  • Euphoria
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Chest pain
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Pupil dilation
  • Impaired speech
  • Sweating
  • Respiratory disorders

What are the Long Term Effects of Meth?

  • Methamphetamine psychosis
  • Violent behavior
  • Blood clots
  • Disturbed personality development
  • Liver damage
  • Hallucinations
  • Lung disorders
  • Infertility

Can a User Overdose on Methamphetamine?

Yes. The exact amount that has to be consumed to overdose depends on the user’s weight, the way the drug is administered and the potency of the drug.

Are There Signs that Can be Recognized to Determine If a Person is Using Meth?

Yes. Common symptoms include any of the following:

  • Extreme moodiness
  • Picking at skin
  • Anxiousness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Violent behavior
  • Severe depression
  • Weight loss
  • Poor hygiene
  • Repetitious behavior

Why Do Methamphetamine Users Become Addicted to the Drug?

People who use meth enjoy the initial effects of the drug, also known as the “high.” On the other hand, when “coming down” from the drug, a user feels the need to consume more of the drug so that the “high” can once again be obtained. The effects of the drug can initially last for 24 to 48 hours, meaning a meth addict may only consume the drug every couple of days. Consuming the drug only every few days makes some users believe they are not in fact addicted.

Does Methamphetamine Have Withdrawal Symptoms?

Yes, including any of the following:

  • Fearfulness
  • Increased appetite
  • Sweating
  • Extreme cravings for the drug
  • Depression
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Shaking
  • Irritability
  • Hyperventilation
  • Loss of energy
  • Nausea

Is it Difficult to Treat a Methamphetamine Addiction?

Many treatment providers condone methamphetamine abuse as “the hardest to treat” type of addiction. Casual users of the drug will not fully recover from the withdrawal symptoms for six to eight months. Regular users can endure many of the withdrawal symptoms for up to three years after they quit. Due to the longevity of the symptoms, this makes it very hard for a meth addict to successfully recover.

Why Do Some Meth Users Enter Into Treatment?

There are a wide array of reasons as to why a meth user may enter into treatment. One of the most common reasons is that the user ends up in trouble with the law. To keep the user from having to spend time behind bars, he or she may be offered the option to enter into treatment.

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Is Methamphetamine Treatment Cost-Effective When Compared to Incarceration?

Yes. In fact, treating a meth user cost about one-tenth the price of having him or her incarcerated.

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