Methamphetamines, or meth, is the most addictive drug on the planet. How popular is it? In one study of high school teens, 20% had tried it and nearly eight percent had used it within the past 30 days. The average age of first use was 14.5, and almost half said they could obtain it within 24 hours. One out of every five people treated for meth addiction last year was under 18.
Meth is easy to use, cheap to make and can work as an energy booster. A single puff of meth can make a user high for up to 24 hours. It's also deadly, a concoction that can include toxic chemicals such as battery acid, drain cleaner and fertilizer.
What is meth?
Methamphetamine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. It works directly on the brain and spinal cord by interfering with normal neurotransmission. The main neurotransmitter affected by methamphetamine is dopamine.
Street methamphetamine is referred to by many names, such as “speed, " “meth, " and “chalk. " Methamphetamine hydrochloride, clear chunky crystals resembling ice, which can be inhaled by smoking, is referred to as “ice, " “crystal, " “glass, " and “tina".
What does it do?
The effects and withdrawal can be scary and include irritability, aggressive behavior, anxiety, excitement, auditory hallucinations, and paranoia (delusions and psychosis). Abusers tend to be violent. Mood changes are common, and the abuser can rapidly change from friendly to hostile. The paranoia produced by methamphetamine use results in suspiciousness, hyperactive behavior, and dramatic mood swings.
Am I addicted?
The answer isn't a simple yes or no. Methamphetamine abuse is thought to have three patterns: low intensity, binge, and high intensity. Low-intensity abuse describes a user who is not psychologically addicted to the drug but uses, binge users use a lot occasionally, and high intensity users are the addicts.
This is a difficult drug addiction to treat, and often requires hospitalization and intensive professional support. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a phone number to call to help locate treatment resources quickly - 1-800-662-HELP.