Common street names: Batu, Bikers Coffee, Black Beauties, Chalk, Chicken Feed, Crank, Crystal, Glass, Go-Fast, Hiropon, Ice, Meth, Methlies Quick, Poor Man’s Cocaine, Shabu, Shards, Speed, Stove Top, Tina, Trash, Tweak, Uppers, Ventana, Vidrio, Yaba, and Yellow Bam.
Methamphetamine (meth) is a stimulant. The FDA-approved brand-name medication is Desoxyn®. Currently, meth is mainly made with diverted products that contain pseudoephedrine. Regular meth is a pill or powder. Crystal meth resembles glass fragments or shiny blue-white “rocks” of various sizes.
Meth is swallowed, snorted, injected, or smoked. To intensify the effects, users may take higher doses of the drug, take it more frequently, or change their method of intake. In some cases, meth abusers go without food and sleep while taking part in a form of binging known as a “run.” Meth users on a “run” inject as much as a gram of the drug every two to three hours over several days until they run out of meth or become too disorganized to continue.
Meth is a highly addictive drug with potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant properties. Those who smoke or inject it report a brief, intense sensation, or rush. Oral ingestion or snorting produces a long-lasting high instead of a rush, which reportedly can continue for as long as half a day. Both the rush and the high are believed to result from the release of very high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine into areas of the brain that regulate feelings of pleasure. Long-term meth use results in many damaging effects, including addiction.
Chronic meth abusers exhibit violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and psychotic features including paranoia, aggression, visual and auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances, and delusions such as the sensation of insects creeping on or under the skin. Such paranoia can result in homicidal or suicidal thoughts. Researchers have reported that as much as 50% of the dopamine-producing cells in the brain can be damaged after prolonged exposure to relatively low levels of meth. Researchers also have found that serotonin-containing nerve cells may be damaged even more extensively.
Taking even small amounts of meth can result in increased wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite, rapid breathing and heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and hyperthermia (overheating). High doses can elevate body temperature to dangerous, sometimes lethal, levels, and cause convulsions and even cardiovascular collapse and death. Meth abuse may also cause extreme anorexia, memory loss, and severe dental problems.
High doses may result in death from stroke, heart attack, or multiple organ problems caused by overheating. Cocaine and potent stimulant pharmaceuticals, such as amphetamines and methylphenidate, produce similar effects.