Methamphetamine

By Brett Veilleux

What is Meth?

Meth is a whitish or yellowish crystalline powder, crystals or pill. It can be snorted, smoked, injected, or swallowed. It is composed of pseudoephidrine, a decongestant, and a number of toxic ingredients such as dry cleaner or lye.

Common chemicals: acetone, lithium, toluene, hydrochloric acid, red phosphorus, sodium hydroxide, sulfuric acid

Meth can be prescribed by a doctor but its uses are limited and it is taken in much smaller doses than abusers.

Classification

Meth is a synthetic stimulant, which excites the central nervous system. It causes an increased alertness or physical activity, elevating mood and energy, and then leads to rebound depression and anxiety.


Slang Terms

Ice, speed, chalk, crystal, glass, crank, yaba, fire, tina, tweak, poor man's cocaine, uppers, trash, yellow bam, methlies quick, go-fast, stove top


How meth alters consciousness

Meth increases the release and blocks the reuptake of dopamine, causing a high amount of dopamine in the brain. Since dopamine is involved with pleasure and reward large releases of it in the pleasure centers of the brain cause a rush or euphoria.


Effects

Psychological effects: mania, paranoia, obsessive compulsive behaviors, hallucinations, and psychosis

Physiological effects: brain damage, organ failure, stroke, open sores, extreme weight loss, rapid heart beat, and rotting teeth

These effects can still be present years after using meth

Dependence

Psychological: mood swings, depression, getting no enjoyment from usual activities, feeling irritable, angry, agitated, restless, insomnia, problems with concentration and memory, cravings for meth


Physical: chemical and molecular changes in the brain, lack of energy, aches and pains,

Myths

  • Meth dependence is not treatable
  • Average time from first use of meth to death is five years
  • Using meth makes holes in the brain