Methamphetamine is the white crystalline powder that produces different stimulating effects depending on the route of administration. Along the streets, methamphetamine is well known by many names such as Meth, speed, ice, chalk, crystal fire, or glass and can be taken orally, smoked, snorted, or injected. Smoking meth creates an intense sensation called “rush” or “flash,” that lasts only for a few minutes. Snorting, swallowing, or injecting the drug creates a euphoric effect on the brain, but is not that quick though.
Methamphetamine Drug Classification
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and very potent drug that is commonly abused by over 314, 000 teenagers in 2008. Because of its high potency, meth is classified as Schedule II by the NIDA and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); anyone caught abusing the drug and positive with drug testing is subject to varying penalties.
Top 10 Dangers of Using Meth
1. Abusing meth creates a quick tolerance. Once you try it, you get hooked to it and as time goes by your body would need larger amounts of meth to get high. This instance is one of the most common reasons behind numerous criminal assaults. Because of the need for more drugs, people are actually motivated to kill to obtain money and buy drugs.
2. Chronic meth abuse creates a long-term negative effect on mental health such as hallucinations and delusions of parasites crawling on the skin. Teenagers especially can become so paranoid that they may be sent to hospitals for intensive care.
3. Taking high doses of meth can cause psychosis wherein teens become more aggressive and violent, eventually hurting their families without realizing it.
4. Meth abuse leads to extreme weight loss and severe dental problems including “Meth Mouth.” The ADA uses the term "meth mouth" to define advanced tooth decay caused by bruxism, poor hygiene, and hyposalivation.
5. According to NIDA, meth is responsible for most of the HIV cases among teens as it also arouses sexual orgasms which lead to risky sexual behaviors. Meth is also found to be positive among rape suspects in notorious rape cases, children abuse, and sexual assaults. In 2004, the State of California held 182 suspects liable for criminal conduct due to meth abuse.
6. Meth use with shared needles can cause transmission of Hepatitis A and B, along with other bloodborne diseases.
7. Drugged driving is a top cause of unexpected road accidents among teens. Meth is strong enough to impair the driver's senses and consequently affect their reaction time.
8. Meth can cause cardiovascular problems such as increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat, inflamed heart, and hyperthermia.
9. Long-term meth use can lead to stroke since the drug causes a sudden rise in body temperature and blood pressure. According to According to SAMHSA's Drug Abuse Warning Network, there were 125 deaths caused by meth use between 1993 and 1997.
10. Meth abuse causes infertility, and can actually lead to a miscarriage in expecting mothers. Babies born prematurely to meth-abusing moms may experience cardiovascular and neurological complications throughout their lifetime.
How to Know if Someone is Using Meth
There are many ways to determine if a person is abusing meth. Physical side effects of meth use include:
- Incessant talking
- Rapid eye movement
- Increased body temperature (as high as 108 degrees)
- Dilated pupils
- Extreme sweating
Meth can also cause feelings of extreme pleasure, which is why the drug is often abused by teenagers. However, while perceived positive effects last a few minutes to hours, meth metabolites can remain in the body for drug testing for up to 90 days.
Methamphetamine drug tests can instantly detect the presence of methamphetamine metabolites in collected samples. Based on federal cutoff levels, a urine sample containing 500 ng/mL of methamphetamine metabolites will yield a positive drug test result. If a confirmation test finds 250 ng/mL of meth metabolites, the donor is a confirmed positive for meth abuse. Meth abuse can also be determined via hair follicle exam (cutoff: 300 ng/mL) or saliva drug test (cutoff: 50 ng/mL).