The following information started out from http://www.krem.com/meth/description.html but I have added pieces from several more pages. Anything beyond one paragraph is acknowledged at the text.
The reason for doing a separate copy is the EXTREEMLY slow loading of their pages.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant that can be injected, snorted, smoked, or ingested orally. Methamphetamine users feel a short yet intense "rush" when the drug is initially administered.
Meth is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol. The drug was developed early in this century from its parent drug, amphetamine, and was used originally in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers. Methamphetamine's chemical structure is similar to that of amphetamine, but it has more pronounced effects on the central nervous system. Like amphetamine, it causes increased activity, decreased appetite, and a general sense of well-being. After the initial "rush," there is typically a state of high agitation that in some individuals can lead to violent behavior.
The effects of methamphetamine include increased activity, decreased appetite, and a sense of well being that can last 6 to 8 hours. The drug has limited medical uses for the treatment of narcolepsy, attention deficit disorders, and obesity.
Methamphetamine can easily be manufactured in clandestine laboratories using store bought materials and is the most prevalent synthetic drug manufactured in the United States. The ease of manufacturing methamphetamine and its highly addictive potential has caused the use of the drug to increase throughout the Nation. The methamphetamine problem was originally concentrated in the west but has spread throughout almost every major metropolitan area in the U.S.
The effects of methamphetamine use can include addiction, psychotic behavior, and brain damage. Methamphetamine is highly addictive and users trying to abstain from use may suffer withdrawal symptoms that include depression, anxiety, fatigue, paranoia, aggression, and intense cravings for the drug. Chronic methamphetamine use can cause violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, and insomnia. Users can also exhibit psychotic behavior including auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances, delusions, and paranoia, possibly resulting in homicidal or suicidal thoughts.
Use of methamphetamine can cause damage to the brain that is detectable months after the use of the drug. The damage to the brain caused by methamphetamine use is similar to damage caused by Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and epilepsy.
- - - Include from - - -
Tolerance for methamphetamine occurs within minutes of use. Or simply - the pleasurable effects disappear even before the drug concentration in the blood falls. To combat this many users try to maintain the high by binging on the drug and so intensify the harmfull effects of the drug.
To understand how methamphetamine works on the brain is to understand a cruel joke.
At low doses the drug can block hunger, focus attention, steady the heart and boost endurance. That's why virtually every major military power this century has tried giving methamphetamine or amphetamines to its soldiers in battle. But try to tell a battle-weary soldier not to take too much of a good thing. They ended up with troops confused, making bad decisions and going psychotic.
Every day there are desperate people making the same mistake: smoking, snorting and injecting high doses of a drug that briefly makes the body feel good, but kills the the brain along the way. Users of the drug can become walking zombies. They often have paranoid fantasies that are fueled by days without sleep and/or food, only craving for more of the drug.
Methamphetamine works like this: it sends a message to brain cells to fire more dopamine, a feel-good chemical that is also critical to normal brain functioning. Hours after it's ingested, cell receptors begin to turn off to slow the flow of dopamine, and here's where methamphetamine differs from other stimulants, such as cocaine. While other stimulants allow brain cells to capture and repackage the dopamine, methamphetamine doesn't. The brain cells respond by releasing an enzyme to knock out the extra dopamine. With repeated use, those enzymes eventually kill the dopamine cell, and that leads to a chemical change in the way your brain works.
Ever heard of Parkinson's Disease? That's what you look like. You lose things like motivation, you become apathetic. You eventually lose interest in pleasurable things ... If you liked to go fishing, well, fishing just doesn't excite you anymore."
This methampetamine-induced brain damage has been proven in animals, but no humans have ever been tested because it would require dissection of the brain. As the drug's doing its damage, the brain begins to crave more as it becomes better at shutting off its effects. It's kind of like listening to loud music. After a while, it doesn't seem so loud. You need a lot more of the drug to maintain the high.
Abusers follow a classic pattern of consuming more and more of the drug before something happens like a car accident, arrest or family fight that scares them into quitting, but it doesn't last. Most addicts don't constantly use. It's not the fact that you can't quit. It's the fact that you can't stay quit ... You get back into it and it's off to the races.
Doctors aren't sure why, but one-third of heavy users will develop bizarre, paranoid behavior and suffer hallucinations and voices in the mind that are as real as real gets.
Individuals who seek treatment have a rough time kicking the drug, and can still suffer from psychosis for up to a half-year. Cravings, irritability, nightmares and depression are also common for months after someone goes cold turkey. The cravings eventually wane but sometimes the damage is irreparable but won't show for years.
High-intensity abusers, often called "speed freaks," focus on preventing the crash. But each successive rush becomes less euphoric and it takes more meth to achieve it. The pattern does not usually include a state of normalcy or withdrawal. High-intensity abusers experience extreme weight loss, very pale facial skin, sweating, body odor, discolored teeth and scars or open sores on their bodies. The scars are the results of the abusers' hallucinations of bugs on his skin, often referred to as "crank bugs," and attempts to scratch the bugs off.
Some treatment providers express concern for the collateral consequences of "binge" and high-intensity methamphetamine abuse: domestic violence, child neglect and abuse. At the most violent, irritable, and paranoid phases of the binge, children are at risk of physical abuse, "shaken baby" syndrome, or worse. In one highly publicized case, an Arizona man, high on methamphetamine, decapitated his 14- year-old son, believing him to be a demon, and tossed the dismembered head onto a New Mexico public highway.
- - - End of include - - -
Here are some warning signs that there may be a Meth lab in your neighborhood:
The most common chemicals used to start making meth are over-the-counter cold and asthma medications such as Sudafed, Revive and Mini-Thins, and decongestants, stimulants and diet pills, all of which contain either ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.
Do not enter a site that you think may be used for cooking meth! Labs present extreme dangers from explosions and exposure due to hazardous chemicals. Breathing the vapors and handling substances can cause serious injury, as in death. Drug labs are considered hazardous waste sites and should be entered only by trained and equipped professionals.
Never handle materials you suspect were used for making meth, such as contaminated glassware, needles and trash. Skin contact can results in burns or poisoning. Handling items can also cause some of the chemicals to explode or catch fire. Consider that when professionals respond to a drug lab, they do not enter the building until they have put on protective, chemically resistant suits and boots, special gloves, and respirators.
If you suspect a Meth lab in your neighborhood, call the police!