Methamphetamine: Life or Meth | Ambrosia Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center
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Methamphetamine
Life or Meth

Meth is one of the most addictive and destructive illegal drugs. Continued use will render the user unable to sustain activity, causing a harsh crash. The effects on personality can be just as severe as the physical effects.

COMMERCIAL NAMES
STREET NAMES
COMMON FORMS
COMMON WAYS TAKEN
COMMERCIAL NAMES
Desoxyn®
STREET NAMES
Crank, Chalk, Crystal, Fire, Glass, Go-Fast, Ice, Meth & Speed
COMMON FORMS
White powder or pill; crystal meth looks like pieces of glass or shiny blue-white ‘rocks’
COMMON WAYS TAKEN
Swallowed, Snorted, Smoked & Injected

Critical Information

Health Effects

Meth is dangerous. The drug is chemically similar to amphetamine, a central nervous stimulant prescribed to increase performance and memory.  It is fast acting and high-jacks key areas of the brain within seconds.

Some of the many, serious health effects include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart failure
  • Mood disturbances
  • Violent, aggressive, paranoid behavior
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Increased body temperature
  • Loss of appetite & malnourishment
  • High blood pressure
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Convulsions
  • Unusually active

Demographics

Meth addiction is a growing problem in rural areas. In fact, the Midwest accounts for nearly 90% of all drug cases, with Oklahoma leading the nation in both meth labs and arrests.

The drug can be found across various demographics, especially:

  • High school and college students and college athletes (ages 14+)
  • Blue-collar workers
  • Men and women (equally) in their 20’s and 30’s who are jobless
    Age in Years Usage by Percentage
    18-23 24%
    24-30 35%
    31-40 19%
    41+ 6%

How Loved Ones Can Help

If you suspect your loved one is using meth, arm yourself with various ways to help them overcome their addiction. Because meth addiction is difficult to handle, we have listed ways both you and your loved one can recover.
1. Know the Signs
Beyond the paraphernalia, meth is notorious for quickly altering the users physical appearance, including:

  • Skin sores (from picking)
  • Hair loss
  • Decaying teeth
  • Strange sleep patterns
  • Engages in obsessive and repetitive tasks
  • Incessant talking
  • Dilated pupils
  • Exaggerated mannerisms
  • Excessive sweating

2. Research Treatment Facilities
Treatment facilities give your loved one the physical, mental and spirutal tools they need to overcome their addiction in a supervised and supported manner. Even if your loved one has been to treatment before, always have a solution ready.

3. Hold An Intervention

By confronting your loved one in a calm, collected way, an intervention serves as a foundation for your new relationship and increases the chance that a reluctant individual will get the treatment they need.
4. Set Boundaries
Even if your loved one doesn’t enter treatment, it does not mean the intervention was a failure. The intervention serves as a way to set boundaries so you will no longer enable their addiction. Providing food, shelter or money often only helps fuel the addiction. Support the recovery, not the addiction.

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7.5K+ Clients Helped
Ambrosia Treatment Center
Alexander T.
Treatment Center
When I was 19, I was introduced to crystal meth. I didn’t stop using until six years later. When I had my first child, I thought I was given a new lease on life. I wanted to stop using for my daughter, but I couldn’t. Throughout my addiction I was always able to put food on the table, a roof over our heads and be there for my family. I didn’t believe I was an addict, because I could hold down a job. It wasn’t until I came into recovery that I realized I was. What started off fun, turned into a miserable existence in meth. I’ve learned so much since accepting my powerlessness over drugs. And, I’ve chosen a new way of life since.
March 6
5 5
Ambrosia Treatment Center
Aaron A.
Treatment Center
Meth was pure, clean and powerful. What started out as fun on the weekends, turned into a way of life. Using meth became the most important thing. I lived to use, used to live, and did whatever I needed to do to obtain the drugs to support my habit. Caught up in the legal system for over seventeen years with fifty-seven arrests and five trips to prison, I finally reached bottom. I decided I did not want to live like that anymore. I decided to seek help. I was beaten physically, emotionally and spiritually when I entered recovery. I'm now living a life that is filled with purpose. I am no longer a slave.
June 2
5 5
Ambrosia Treatment Center
Samantha B.
Treatment Center
I was fourteen when I was introduced to crystal meth. I was on my way to school on the bus, saw a bag full of white powder on the floor, and I took it home. It wasn’t long before I was in serious trouble with the law. The hopes and dreams I had as a child began to disappear. The freedoms of normal life were no longer mine. And, I was only fifteen years-old. This life would continue for another twelve years. My addiction has claimed many innocent victims, including my children. I am now thirty-one years old. I got clean 4 years ago, and am currently putting the pieces of my life back together. I am not perfect, but I do know that in order to live, I need to stay clean. That's exactly what I've been doing.
December 26
5 5

Frequently Asked Questions

What is using meth like?

Stages of the Meth Experience

1. The Rush

The rush is the initial feeling when snorting, smoking or injecting meth which can last up to 30 minutes. The physical response includes accelerated heartbeat, metabolism and blood pressure.

2. The High

The second stage commonly results in increased energy, exaggerated mannerisms and obsessive or argumentative aggressions towards an insignificant item (such as digging). The high can last four to sixteen hours.

3. The Binge

A binge is uncontrolled or repeated use of any drug (including alcohol) driven by the urge to maintain the high by continuously using more. The longer the binge lasts, the more mentally and physically hyperactive the abuser becomes. Each time, the rush becomes fainter and eventually is lost for good. A binge can last anywhere between three to fifteen days.

4. Tweaking

The tweaking stage is the most dangerous. The initial rush can no longer be felt, even though the cravings for meth are still intense. A common side effect is scratching of the skin and feeling like bugs are crawling underneath the skin. Additionally, appetite, sleep and clarity are often gone. The abuser is in a psychotic state, seeing and hearing things that no one else can perceive. Abusers can become harmful to themselves and others during this stage.

5. The Crash

The crash is when the body shuts down after days of no rest or food, unable to cope with the overwhelming drugs digested. The crash typically involves one to three days of sleep, producing a debilitating hangover.

How is meth used?

Methamphetamine is taken orally, smoked, snorted, or dissolved in water or alcohol and injected. Smoking or injecting the drug delivers it very quickly to the brain, where it produces an immediate, intense euphoria. Because the pleasure also fades quickly, users often take repeated doses, in a “binge and crash” pattern.

Why is meth dangerous?

Meth is composed of over 10 toxic chemicals and exposure to these chemicals can be fatal. Crystal meth can cause permanent brain damage that may be irreversible even once the drug is stopped. Areas of the brain responsible for emotion, memory, verbal learning and motor skills are altered with long-term meth use.

Meth use can cause irreversible physical harm to the body:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Damaged blood vessels in the brain that can cause strokes or cardiovascular death
  • Liver, kidney, and lung damage

Meth use also causes long-term damage to the mind:

  • Loss in sexual desire
  • Ruins the ability to have healthy sleep habits.
  • Confusion, moodiness, anxiety and delusions

Why is meth becoming more popular?

Crystal meth is cheap because the ingredients are readily available, making it easier than other drugs to make. Meth is also highly addictive, resulting in a drug of long-term use.

Methamphetamine was developed in Japan 1919 during World War II when both sides (U.S. and Japan) used it to keep their troops awake. Although methamphetamine is not a new drug, it has become more potent and dangerous in the past three decades.

In the 1950’s, meth was prescribed as a diet aid and as an anti-depressant, often stimulating the brain’s neurons to help ward off post-traumatic stress and mental illness. It soon became widespread in the sports industry, football and baseball athletes often took part in the stimulant to increase performance.

When the Food and Drug Administration deemed meth illegal for most use (excluding similar properties used in amphetamines), gangs began creating illegal superlabs across the nation, manufacturing and distributing the highly illicit drug. Known as “poor man’s cocaine,” meth became popular within rural communities.

Today, most of the drug is available through online black markets, Asian countries and throughout the Czech Republic. Both supply and demand for meth in the U.S. are high.

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