What is methamphetamine (meth)? Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and strong stimulant drug. It is also known as crank, crystal, ice, crystal meth, or simply meth. Methamphetamine was made in 1893 in Germany and was first used as a nasal decongestant. It came to be widely known due to its stimulant qualities when it became popular with truck drivers and people who work irregular hours as an alternative to caffeine or amphetamine.
People typically smoked it mixed with tobacco, snorted it, or sometimes injected it. Some meth is still ingested orally but most are only snorted because of the risks associated with injecting the drug. Methamphetamine has been around for many years and can continue to be found on the street because of its high potency, long-lasting effects, and low cost compared to other drugs such as cocaine.
Methamphetamine causes increased alertness and self-confidence followed by reduced fatigue and paranoia. It may also produce euphoria and feelings of invulnerability with violent aggression possible when using large amounts over a long period of time. Because Meth is so powerful it can cause psychotic behavior in some users which can include delusions, hyperactivity, hostility, unusual moods, etc. The effects of methamphetamine and its after-effects can last for a long time and continue to be present even though the user may not feel the drug any longer.
It has been distributed primarily via people selling it on the streets from their homes, apartments, cars, trucks. or vans. More recently it has been distributed in pill form in restaurants or bars that cater to truck drivers and others who have irregular schedules. Methamphetamine is often found in powder or crystal form. The crystals may be found in toiletries such as toothpaste, deodorants, etc., or on the streets.
Methamphetamine is often smoked with tobacco products which can cause lung damage and lead to death. If methamphetamine is injected it can lead to infections of the heart blood vessels and brain tissue which can result in blindness, coma, paralysis, etc. There are many serious risks that come along with using methamphetamines. A person could be paranoid, violent, hallucinate, and/or psychotic.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug that causes chemical changes to the brain that results in compulsive use. Methamphetamine makes the brain flood with dopamine which is a pleasure chemical, which is why an individual can feel great while using meth. Not only does methamphetamine make you feel good but it also lowers inhibitions and de-emphasizes the negative side effects of the drug including fatigue, etc. This is why users can take large amounts of meth and not sleep after using so much meth. Because meth causes your brain to release dopamine it can create a feeling of euphoria for hours at a time. The result is a strong drive to continue using meth to feel the same feelings of euphoria again.
Methamphetamine use can result in physical dependence as well as psychological dependence. Physical dependence occurs when your body needs more meth in order for the brain to function properly. Psychological dependence refers to needing more meth over time to keep up with the euphoric feelings it creates. While physical addiction is very serious, psychological addiction is much more damaging because it affects your work, your relationships, and other areas of life. People with methamphetamine abuse are often also addicted to other substances at the same time they are abusing this drug including alcohol or drugs like cocaine or heroin which can also be very dangerous if abused. If a person with meth abuse is also abusing alcohol or other substances they can overdose and die from an overdose of meth, alcohol, or other drugs.
Physical dependence can occur within 24 hours of using methamphetamine, whereas psychological dependence develops about six days after the first use of the drug. This means if someone starts using methamphetamines and does not stop for 2 weeks it may take them 6 days to have any withdrawal symptoms. While physical addiction is much more serious, psychological addiction affects your behaviors and emotions.
- Methamphetamine use causes changes in brain chemistry so much that the brain essentially rewires itself in order to accommodate this drug.