Meth (Methamphetamine) is a highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. This drug has single-handedly destroyed persons and their families because of its addictive nature.
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT ME?
This is a drug that not only harms the user’s physical and mental well being, but also their family. According to the 2013 Monitoring the Future Survey, about two percent of youth have tried meth by the 12th grade. In 2008, approximately 13 million people over the age of 12 said they had used methamphetamine—and 529,000 of those are regular users. Children are frequently taken into state custody because their parents were cooking meth.
Meth is a stimulant to the central nervous system. When the drug enters the brain, it causes a large release of the neurotransmitter dopamine causing intense feelings of pleasure for the user.
Short Term Effects
- Feeling alert and active
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased or irregular heart rate
- Increased body temperature
- Decreased appetite
- Increased respiration
Long Term Effects
- Mood swings
- Problems sleeping
- Anxiety and confusion
- Violent behavior
- Psychosis (seeing/hearing/feeling things that are not there)
- Severe weight loss
- Involuntary movements/twitching
- Skin sores from scratching
- Severe dental problems (also known as “meth mouth”)
- Problems with thinking, emotion and memory
- Increased risk for contracting Hepatitis B & C
- Increased risk for contracting HIV
- Increased risk for contracting STD/STIs
What is “meth mouth”?
Meth mouth refers to the poor dental health of many meth users. Meth mouth is caused by a variety of meth’s side effects such as lack of saliva, tooth grinding or clenching, decreased blood flow, bad hygiene and poor diet.
Why are meth users so thin?
Weight loss is a side effect of meth use for a variety of reasons. Meth is an appetite suppressant, meaning that, when people use meth, they do not feel hungry. This means that many meth users are not getting adequate nutrition. This can also result in muscle degradation, hair loss and dull, acne-ridden skin.
What is “chasing the high”?
This refers to meth users trying to replicate their original or first high. A person’s first high produces massive dopamine release which can essentially never be replicated. Meth users will increase their dosage in order to try and achieve their first high. Now addicted, meth users will continue to use meth, even though it gives them little or no pleasure.
Why do meth labs blow up?
Many of the chemicals used to make meth are flammable and incredibly unstable. This includes materials such as acetone, lithium, hydrogen chloride, sodium hydroxide, petroleum ether, ammonia and red phosphorus. This, combined with meth users’ diminished mental capacity, creates a “perfect storm” for fires and explosions.
What are the signs of a meth lab?
Meth labs can exist anywhere, but some things to look for are:
- Strong or unusual odors like acetone (smells like nail polish remover) or ammonia (smells like cat urine)
- Open windows vented with a fan, even in winter
- Fuel cans, glassware with rubber tubing, drain cleaner and duct tape in the trash or on the property
- An excessive amount of bottles, containers or coffee filters in the trash or on the property
- Blackened windows or curtains always drawn
- Visitors at all hours of the day and night
What should I do if I suspect a meth lab in my neighborhood?
If you suspect a meth lab in your neighborhood, you should report your suspicions to law enforcement immediately. NEVER try to investigate a meth lab on your own.
HOW TO GET HELP
If you, or someone you know, has a problem, talk to a trusted adult. Seek out local substance use treatment centers in your area for further help. A physician or a counselor should be able to assist you in finding treatment centers.
You can also seek out local self-help groups such as Crystal Meth Anonymous.
Call Centerstone at (888) 291-HELP to schedule an appointment with a therapist. If you feel like you need immediate help, please call (800) 681-7444 for 24-hour Crisis Services.