It comes in clear crystal chunks or shiny blue-white rocks. Also called “ice” or “glass,” it's a popular party drug. Usually, users smoke crystal meth with a small glass pipe, but they may also swallow it, snort it, or inject it into a vein. People say they have a quick rush of euphoria shortly after using it. But it's dangerous. It can damage your body and cause severe psychological problems.
Where Does It Come From?
Methamphetamine is a man-made stimulant that's been around for a long time. During World War II, soldiers were given meth to keep them awake. People have also taken the drug to lose weight and ease depression. Today, the only legal meth product is a tablet for treating obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It's rarely used and is available only by prescription. Find out the differences between Adderall and methamphetamines, as well as amphetamines vs. methamphetamines.
Crystal meth is made with the ingredient pseudoephedrine, which is found in many cold medicines. It helps ease congestion. Because it's used to make meth, the federal government closely regulates products with this ingredient.
Most of the crystal meth used in this country comes from Mexican “superlabs.” But there are many small labs in the U. S. Some are right in people's homes. Making meth is a dangerous process because of the chemicals involved. Along with being toxic, they can cause explosions.
How Does It Make You Feel?
The powerful rush people get from using meth causes many to get hooked right from the start. When it's used, a chemical called dopamine floods the parts of the brain that regulate feelings of pleasure. Users also feel confident and energetic.
A user can become addicted quickly and soon finds they will do anything to have the rush again. As they continue to use the drug, they build up a tolerance. That means they need higher doses to get the same high. The higher the dose, the higher the risks. Get more information on how meth use affects the body.
What Are the Effects?
- Meth can make a user's body temperature rise so high they could pass out or even die. Learn more about meth overdose deaths in the U.S.
- A user may feel anxious and confused, be unable to sleep, have mood swings, and become violent. Read more on the physical signs of meth use.
- Looks can change dramatically. A user may age quickly. Their skin may dull, and they can develop hard-to-heal sores and pimples. They may have a dry mouth and stained, broken, or rotting teeth. Know the effects of meth on your mouth. Meth can also affect the heart. Ongoing meth use may also lead to lung damage.
- They may become paranoid. They may hear and see things that aren’t there. They may think about hurting themselves or others. They may also feel as though insects are crawling on or under their skin. Find out more on methamphetamine psychosis.
- A meth user is at higher risk for HIV/AIDS. The drug can affect judgment and lessen inhibitions. Someone under the influence of the drug may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as unsafe sex. Learn more about meth use and sexual function.
What Are the Signs Someone Is Using Meth?
Have you noticed changes in someone you care about? Consider these signs:
- Not caring about personal appearance or grooming
- Obsessively picking at hair or skin
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Dilated pupils and rapid eye movement
- Strange sleeping patterns -- staying up for days or even weeks at a time
- Jerky, erratic movements; twitching; facial tics; animated or exaggerated mannerisms; and constant talking
- Borrowing money often, selling possessions, or stealing
- Angry outbursts or mood swings
- Psychotic behavior, such as paranoia and hallucinations
Read more on the signs a loved one is addicted to meth.
How Meth Addiction Is Treated
Meth addiction is one of the hardest drug addictions to treat, but it can be done. If you know someone with the problem, don't try to help them by yourself. Users need a professional counselor or drug treatment program. To find resources in your area, use the Treatment Locator created by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), or call 800-662-HELP.
Get additional information on meth addiction treatment options.