Methamphetamine Facts

Meth is a potent stimulant that has long lasting effects and is extremely addictive. It was discovered in 1919 and by 1942 was being used to treat conditions such as depression, narcolepsy, obesity, etc. It was classified as an illegal drug in 1971 but since then its illicit use on the streets is widespread.

Meth can be administered in a few different ways: swallowing, snorting, smoking or injecting. It really depends on the amount taken and form of administration but the average effects of this powerful drug can last from four to up to twelve hours and is accompanied with a strong sense of euphoria. The high can increase the user’s energy and activity level dramatically. People who use meth regularly tend to get physically rundown because it will cause insomnia, loss of appetite, severe mood swings, paranoia, psychosis, an increase in blood pressure, confusion, aggression and sometimes violent behavior. This is a combination for heightened activity in somebody for a lot longer of a period than is natural. Because this is a powerful drug, when a heavy user stops taking it they will get withdrawal symptoms such as lethargy, extreme depression and anxiety.

The Stages In Sequence Experienced When Using Meth

There are a few different stages the user will encounter when using meth. The first of these stages is the rush. The rush is the intense euphoria and sensations which come along right when the meth hits. These sensations that come alongside the euphoria are a racing heartbeat and pulse. This can last as long as thirty minutes.

The second stage is known as the high. The high comes after the rush and during this time the user can become argumentative. This is because they actually feel aggressively smarter, quicker and sharper. Due to the fact that they feel sharper and more focused, this could lead them to concentrating on a task or item for hours on end. This stage can last up to sixteen hours.

The third stage is known as the binge. During this stage the user binges, in an attempt to maintain the high. It definitely depends on the user as well as their access to more of the drug, but this could last up to fifteen days in some cases. During binging the user will be very active on both a mental and physical level.

The fourth stage is known as tweaking. Tweaking is when the user can’t get high anymore. During this stage the user can start to get extremely itchy and think that there are bugs crawling on or under their skin. They might go without sleep for awhile and be driven to a psychotic state. Hallucinations are common while tweaking and can get pretty intense. This can drive the user to become violent to himself and others. A person going through this stage is known as a “tweaker”.

The crash is the stage that follows tweaking. During the crash the user experiences their energy quite literally crashing. They might collapse and sleep for a long while. They will feel and act lifeless. This might last as long as three days.

The meth hangover is the sixth stage. During this type of hangover the user will be starved, nutrient deprived, dehydrated, fatigued and feel exhausted not only physically but mentally as well. This can last up to fourteen days in some cases.

Withdrawal is the last and final stage. During withdrawal the user gets very depressed, lacks energy, has strong cravings, has anxiety, night sweats and apathy. Lots of times people find this stage the most difficult and relapse at this point. However if someone can get through the withdrawal they will feel a lot better once it’s over with and be able to better face the notion of sobriety.

What Is Meth Made Of?

Meth is supposedly not a very hard drug to make. However, cooking meth has a high potential to be dangerous because of the ingredients in the products involved that are highly flammable. Meth recipes vary but it is most commonly made up of acetone, lithium, toluene, hydrochloric acid, pseudoephedrine, red phosphorus, sodium hydroxide, sulfuric acid and anhydrous ammonia. Meth is a combination of these toxic substances, sometimes varied slightly. As you can see not only is this dangerous to cook but also toxic to ingest with a list of ingredients like this.

What Type Of People Use Meth?

It’s a relative question when trying to inform oneself of the drug. Due to the fact that meth is cheap, a lot of people will turn to meth when they can’t afford a more expensive stimulant or drug habit (like cocaine, for example). It’s mostly popular in rural areas, with people between the ages of 20 to 30. However meth is a growing problem and on its way to becoming more popular amongst high school students.

The drug particularly attracts women because it is known to suppress appetite and able to cause whoever uses it to lose weight pretty fast. However much weight is lost while on the drug, it doesn’t compensate for the weight gained back once the user goes back to their normal lifestyle. This is compounded by the fact that the drug causes physical deterioration and so doesn’t hold any true value in improving a woman’s appearance at all.

Meth And Health

Using meth, especially in the long term, makes a dent on someone’s health. It can cause convulsions, tremors, stroke, inflammation of the heart lining, hyperthermia and a host of other unwanted and damaging effects. Due to the fact that it is a synthetic drug, it takes its toll on the user in a harsh manner, both mentally and physically. The long term effects from using can include:

  • Tooth decay (“meth mouth”)
  • Heart attacks
  • Liver, kidney or lung damage
  • Respiratory issues
  • Damaged nose tissues
  • Infectious diseases
  • Mental confusion
  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Epilepsy
  • Stroke
  • Malnutrition

Brain damage, memory loss, inability to retain information, inability to grasp information and lacking specific cognitive abilities in general are other long term effects which can occur from using meth. It really is a damaging drug that causes harm in one’s health in many different ways.


Meth is known for being highly addictive. Like other hard street drugs, meth uses causes cravings for more of it once the high wears off. A lot of times people will start off with recreational use of this drug and end up hooked to it. Like any drug, it can be insidious and all consuming. There are rehabilitation centers specifically for meth addicts for this reason. Abusing the drug will often lead to addiction of it because during the stages of use mentioned earlier there are points that can be tough and will often cause the user to feel like they need more of the drug in order to prevent mental descent from the high.

By Robert O. Newman II, ICDAC, ICPS, CIP