What is Methamphetamine?



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Prevention Network Newsletter, Summer 2006.

The evils of Methamphetamine, also known more commonly as Meth go deep. They touch the addict, the family of, the cooker, and society at every point - the first responder, the children, and the finances of the area.  Meth has spread across every state in the nation.  It has affected every area of life in towns and cities where it has passed, injuring and killing thousands in its path.  Meth is a highly toxic, dangerous synthetic (lab-made) street drug, made from very easily attainable products that you can purchase at  most stores with little expense. The three main ingredients in Meth are: Pseudoephedrine/ephedrine: common cold medicine ingredient, Red phosphorus: is in the striker of match boxes/books Iodine Crystals/Flakes: used in the cooking process.

A batch of Meth is cooked, either in small clandestine labs or in super labs, (often operated by Mexican or Asian cartels). Super labs are believed to cook eighty percent of the Meth found in America today.  In one or two hours a batch can be cooked. One batch, in a small clandestine lab is usually equal to one-ounce/ twenty-eight grams. It is sold in “Baggies” of one or two grams.  It comes in a range of colors, from white/yellow to a dark red/brown.  The whiter the Meth is the higher the purity.   Meth can be orally ingested, applied to mucous membranes, snorted, injected or smoked.     The route of administration will determine the effects the users feel as well as how long the effects will last.

Meth today, across the country, is not seen for the dangers it represents to the abuser/addict. The warnings are starting to get out but in the mean time many newcomers are experiencing Meth and becoming addicted.

Meth is used by many in the form of inhaling or ingesting.  However, the more dangerous forms of using include injecting and smoking.  Both methods of use create a “HIGH” so high, that the user feels he cannot go without his Meth thus adding to his addiction cycle.


Meth allows its abuser to stay awake for days People begin using Meth for a variety of reasons.  Many people start their use due to fighting fatigue or wanting to loose weight. The user of Meth does not experience any negative side effects from using, so it makes it that much more potentially addicting. Meth use is described in three patterns of use.  They are referred to as low intensity, binge and high intensity.  When a user is not psychologically or physically addicted to the drug the pattern of use is referred to as low Intensity.  The routes of administration are usually to apply to mucous membranes, ingest it or snort it.   Binge users are psychologically and physically addicted.  High intensity users use the most often and are psychologically and physically addicted.  They have many negative consequences ranging at least from physical, legal, financial and spiritual. They are usually willing to trade or do anything for Meth. Both the binge users and the high intensity users prefer to inject or smoke.  Treatment providers of Meth users are seeing poly drug use as the norm.  We are seeing a higher number of comorbid diseases of Meth users than we are with Heroin or Marijuana.  Some of the more common diseases seen are Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Antisocial Behaviors, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Simple Phobia, Panic Disorder, and Mood Disorder.

Treatment for Meth users is successful.  It usually involves long term treatment.  It should be provided by a treatment team that is knowledgeable of Meth and its special considerations for treatment.



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Last modified: 01/14/12