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What is Methamphetamine?

By Meagan Drillinger
Used illegally as a stimulant, methamphetamine directly affects the body's central nervous system.

Methamphetamine is a powerful and highly addictive chemical substance. Used as illegally as a stimulant, it directly affects the body's central nervous system. Street names for methamphetamine include meth, blue, ice, and crystal.

What is Methamphetamine?

There is no legal use for methamphetamine. It is a manufactured substance that causes an immediate euphoric reaction.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methamphetamine was developed in the early 20th century and originally used as a nasal decongestant and bronchial inhaler. Its stimulative properties resulted in increased activity, decreased appetite, and a general sense of pleasure. However its potency caused it to have a longer-lasting and more harmful effects on the central nervous system than expected.

Side Effects of Methamphetamine Use

According to American Addiction Centers, methamphetamine use can lead to side effects including:

  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Rotting teeth
  • Intense scratching
  • Thinning body
  • Acne or sores
  • Convulsions
  • Liver damage
  • Stroke
  • Lowered immunity
  • Increased libido
  • Death

In fact, the toll of methamphetamine on the body has made it one of the most dangerous drugs on the American market. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that 1.6 million Americans had used methamphetamine in 2017.

Treatment & Resources for Meth Addiction