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Meth: A One Sniff Addiction

Sep 5, 2008
Methamphetamines, or meth, is one of the most addictive drugs on the planet. Not only that, it is perhaps one of the most popular and widely used drugs in the USA. 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 twenty four 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.

Often times meth is made in home "underground" laboratories. This makes it hard to track and of course monitor how the meth is made. The labs themselves can be very dangerous and are subject to exploding. Many people report deaths from inhalation and chemical burns.

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. It is either snorted through the nose or inhaled as smoke. Either way provides a possibly deadly combination, but at the least an extremely addictive response. Meth is considered a club drug,giving party goers extra energy for long intensive forays into the club scene. It also lends itself to sexual enhancement and experience.

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 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, but when they do they tend to use to the extreme. High intensity users are considered to be full fledged 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. 

To learn more, the DEA has put together an informative website for parents and teens called Just Think Twice at http://www.justthinktwice.com/gotmeth whyriskit.html.
About the Author
Andrew Beckers writes about subjects that are helpful to humanity. Learn more about Meth Addiction
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