What is meth?
Methamphetamine, or "meth", is a very potent CNS (Central Nervous System) stimulant that stimulates the brain and spinal cord by changing the normal ways that the CNS metabolizes neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitter are so named because they are specific chemicals that relay messages between nerve cells.
The predominant neurotransmitter that is affected by meth is a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine levels in the brain are part of our natural reward system. When you do something that supports your survival and, therefore, feel good, you are experiencing the effects of dopamine within your CNS.
Methamphetamine is a synthesized chemical that was overly used in the Second World War because the army didn't understand the negative effects that come from the use of this drug, but only recognized that the troops could work harder and longer under its influence. Methamphetamines are highly addictive and are becoming one of the most abused drugs in America. There are legal pharmaceutical preparations of methamphetamine that are prescribed for specific ailments, but most of the meth found on the streets are made from makeshift laboratories that combine ephedrine with other toxic chemicals that produce a drug that has more side effects than does the commercially produced product.
What are the slang terms for meth?
There are many street names for meth, depending on the area of the country, these are some of the most common: speed, ice, crank, chalk, and zip. Some of the names are descriptive of the type of meth, for instance, pure methamphetamine hydrochloride, which is a form of the drug that is easily smoked is called L.A. and when it has the clear look of frozen water it is called "ice or crystal", hence the common term "crystal meth". Much of the crystal meth is smuggled to the U.S. from Taiwan and South Korea.
How is meth manufactured?
Unfortunately, meth is easily produced in makeshift laboratories that are easily set up from instructions on the Internet. There are literally hundreds of Internet articles that teach someone different means by which to make meth from the essential raw product of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. Ephedrine is an over-the-counter cold medication that can be purchased at any pharmacy. A person that wants to make methamphetamines can invest a few hundred dollars in equipment and chemicals to synthesize thousands of dollars of meth. It is also reported that every person that makes meth teaches an average of ten others how to do the same.
Where are these meth labs located?
The simple answer, for the United States, is almost anywhere. Arrests have been made in urban and rural areas alike. They have been found in vacant buildings, motel rooms, barns, storage buildings and in people's cars. It doesn't take a sophisticated laboratory to make meth with these makeshift labs, so they are usually putting them in a place where they believe they won't be detected by law enforcement and others that could stop their clandestine activities.
Is making meth in a homemade lab dangerous?
The process of changing ephedrine is a volatile chemical process that can cause harm in many ways, but the most common danger comes from the solvents that are used in the process. There are many different recipes for making meth, but they all involve chemicals that have poisonous and/or flammable fumes. Some of the most common solvents are acetone, ammonia, benzene, ether, hydrochloric acid and muriatic acid. All of these chemicals have dire consequences for anyone that may come in contact with them or their fumes.
What is the cost of methamphetamines on the street?
The cost of meth varies according to the demands of the market and purity of the meth being sold. The approximate price of one gram of meth being sold on the streets is about one hundred dollars. One gram of meth equals about fifteen to twenty "hits" of this drug.
Who are the typical users of methamphetamines?
It is difficult to pinpoint a typical user since meth use transcends specific demographics, but most of the meth is sold to people in their 20s and 30s from many walks of life. 35% of the users are between the ages of 23-30 and only 6% are over 40 years of age.
Is meth a drug that is used by teenagers?
As with most drugs, over time, more and younger teenagers are experimenting and using meth. One national survey showed that the number of senior high school meth users doubled between 1990 and 1996. The teenage percentage has contiued to rise.
Do meth users combine the use of meth with other drugs?
It is common for someone using meth to feel overly anxious when they have taken enough of the drug to give them the high that they are seeking. To counteract this jittery feeling, meth users will many times abuse alcohol or other downers, or tranquilizers such as Valium and Xanax.
What are the physical effects of using meth?
Meth use has many side-effects that are dangerous, but the most common problems are those related to the cardiovascular system. Meth use commonly causes chest pains that originate from the rapid changes in blood pressure, which can lead to heart attacks and death in some cases. Meth also increases the heartbeat and can cause irreversible damage to one's vascular system. There are also the problems associate with the lowering of one's calcium levels which causes "meth-mouth" and other tooth decay as well as jaw problems from the clenching of ones teeth while their bodies are speeding from the influence of this drug.
Psychological dependence on this drug causes meth users to ignore their better judgments and continue using the drug even though they find obvious physical problems arising from its use. Because of the appetite depressant effect, meth users are notorious for going many days without eating, often not sleeping either, and consequently losing body mass, including from essential organs.
It is important to note that street meth may have many unknown chemical toxins in it was well as meth. It is impossible to predict what chemicals are being used in the makeshift labs that are producing meth and all of these solvents are toxic to the body. Some of the poisons will cause immediate problems and other will lodge in the body until the concentration reaches a point where it will cause severe problems. Meth use will tax the liver in its attempt to rid the body of these toxins, which causes fatty-liver syndrome and can lead to hepatic failure.
There are other long-term effects that are worthy of attention. Long-term use of meth will cause kidney failure as well as the above-mentioned liver problems. Again, this is due to the toxic nature of this drug. There are also problems associated with the lungs, brain damage blood clots as well as other psychological problems such as depression, hallucinations and negative behavior changes, and extreme weight loss equivalent to starvation.
Chronic meth use is associated with malnutrition, problems with one's immune system as well as a rapid aging that has multiple problems related to ones skin. It is safe to say that meth use is one of the most hazardous drugs in terms of one's health and physical well being.
Where can I get meth treatment?
The Narconon drug rehabilitation program has helped many people get off methamphetamine. Some other drug rehab programs use substitute drugs to help a person get off meth and other drugs, but the Narconon drug rehab program doesn't use drugs to get a person off drugs, but has instead a strong, healthful nutritional component. The Narconon drug rehab program is unique and has a strong success rate. The drug detox procedure that the Narconon program provides helps to release all of the chemicals from the body that the user has collected over the years. These chemicals are stored in the fatty tissue of the body and, unless gotten rid of, can trigger drug cravings and hold a person back in life.
For more information about the Narconon drug rehabilitation program, contact a Narconon representative.