What Is Meth?

Meth is a synthetic amphetamine or stimulant that is produced and sold illegally in pill form, capsules, powder, or chunks. Meth is extremely addictive and can be smoked, snorted, injected, or eaten. Some common street names for meth are "crank," "crystal-meth," "glass," "ice," "speed," "zip," and "quartz."

Methamphetamine affects the central nervous system and causes the brain to release dopamine, a natural chemical that makes you feel pleasure. Dopamine is vital to normal brain function. The presence of meth in the brain causes the brain to release an enzyme that destroys the surplus dopamine in the brain. This enzyme will destroy the brain's ability to produce dopamine over time. The use of meth results in a permanent altering of the brain's natural chemistry. In other words, meth causes brain damage.

Each time a meth user uses, they will need to use more meth to achieve the same high that was initially experienced. The more methamphetamine consumed, the bigger the "crash" when the drug wears off. Meth users may sleep for long periods at a time or experience what is called "tweaking" when they are "crashing." A "tweaker" is paranoid, delusional, and very aggressive.

Meth dangerously increases a user's heart rate and blood pressure. The extra energy can lead to convulsions and tremors, stroke, heart attack, coma, or death. Methamphetamine is more harmful than cocaine and heroin, is highly accessible, and is cheaper to produce. Meth causes the body to cannibalize itself, taking away appetite for everything except meth. Production is on the rise due to the easy accessibility of the key ingredients used in the manufacturing process.

Side Effects of Meth

Short-term side effects:
  • A false sense of well-being
  • Convulsions, twitching and jerking
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased muscle tension, grinding of teeth
  • Stimulation of the adrenal gland
  • Constriction of blood vessles
  • Rise in blood pressue
  • Impaired speech
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hallucinations
  • Acne, sores
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
Long-term side effects:
  • Malnutrition
  • Liver damage
  • Brain damage
  • Severe weight loss
  • Fatal kidney and lung disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Permanent psychological problems
  • Lowered resistance to illness
  • Stroke
  • Coma
  • Death