Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant and is derived from its parent drug, amphetamine, which has limited medical purposes and Crystal Meth is common among those who use it.
Amphetamines were developed in the 1930’s for use in treating obesity and sleeping problems. In the case of obesity, amphetamine acts to curb appetite. In sleeping problems, a condition that causes excessive daytime sleepiness, amphetamine helps keep the patient awake. Amphetamine is also used in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers.
Crystal Meth, as we know it today, was once only found in Hawaii and some western states. The drug had been brought in from Asia. But the drug quickly found its way across the country, and statistics show that at least 10 million people have tried methamphetamine at least once.
Crystal Meth Definition
It's classified as a Schedule II stimulant, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. It is a powerful central nervous system stimulant and works on the brain and spinal chord.
Crystal Meth interferes with the normal function of neurotransmitters, which are natural chemicals produced by nerve cells that communicate with each other to regulate thinking and all body systems. One of those neurotransmitters is called dopamine, which influences our natural reward system.
For example, we do a good job, we feel good about ourselves. We get pleasure from the company of others. We enjoy a soft summer breeze.
Any pleasurable feeling relies on the function of dopamine.
Methamphetamine increases the release of dopamine. That's why Crystal Meth addiction is so common. In its legal form, the drug is only available by prescription and those prescriptions cannot be refilled.
A VERY dangerous drug
Crystal Meth is very addictive because of its pleasurable effect from the increased release of dopamine. Users become addicted quickly and as they continue to abuse the drug, higher doses are needed, and increased frequency of use.
Chronic abuse of this drug, will alter brain function by damaging neuron cell endings. The dopamine and serotonin neurons do not die, but the cell endings are cut back and while cells endings might grow back, that process is limited by the damage.
Crystal Meth studies of the human brain have shown apparent changes in the dopamine system, and these changes are responsible for reduced motor skills and impaired verbal learning.
Methamphetamine use also contributes to changes in areas of the brain associated with memory and emotion. Chronic users have experienced serious emotional and cognitive problems directly attributed to Crystal Meth.
Methamphetamine gets to work quickly, even in small amounts, and persons using it may exhibit some of the following symptoms:
- They may be more active and energetic.
- They may have less appetite.
-Their heart rate may increase or become irregular; their breathing my be more rapid; their blood pressure may rise.
- Rapid heart rate is common, as is irregular heart rate.
- Other side effects are anxiety, irritability, insomnia, tremors, a confused mental state, cardiovascular collapse and even death.
Chronic, long-term use produces anorexia, aggressiveness, paranoia, memory loss, hallucinations and delusional thinking. Long-term Crystal Meth use causes severe dental problems. Methamphetamine use also increases the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
If a user injects the drug, the HIV risk comes from used needles. But the drug is so intoxicating that users may be less inhibited and often engage in unsafe activities, such as unprotected sex.
Methamphetamine users who have HIV, experience an increase in neuro-injury and cognitive impairment, compared to HIV patients who do not use drugs.
Crystal Meth Binge and crash
The pleasurable effects of Methamphetamine will wear off before its concentration in the blood is reduced, so users will try to keep the “high” going by taking more.
The powerful lure of the drug keeps the user occupied, often for days, going without food and sleep. This is known as a “run” and that binge leads to a crash. Because of the binge and crash, users lose their sense of reality, as any health concerns are abandoned by the urge for the high. With no sense of time, no awareness of danger, people can literally throw away their lives using this drug.
Made from legal chemicals
The media runs stories from time to time about raids on the small illegal labs that produce methamphetamine. The drug is manufactured using common chemicals that can be purchased legally.
In recent years, for example, there was a crackdown on over-the-counter cough medicine because those legal medications were being used to produce methamphetamine. The portable labs are small and can fit into a suitcase.
Illegal operations are set up in home kitchens, basements, garages, hotel rooms or just about any small, private space. However, the labs are also very dangerous, as explosions are not uncommon. These dangerous manufacturing operations are started because a few hundred dollars in materials can lead to thousands on the street. Those who profit from the misery and misfortune of others figure it’s a risk worth taking.
The drug has many street names including meth, speed, crank, chalk, go-fast, zip, tina and cristy.
Methamphetamine hydrochloride is the form of the drug that is smoked, and some of its nicknames include L.A., ice, crystal, 64 glass and quartz.
Bad news, good news
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NASDUH) reported in 2005 about Crystal Meth, that 10.4 million people aged 12 and older had tried methamphetamine at least once. The rate of annual and 30-day use of the drug had not changed from 2004 to 2005, but the number of people who had tried the drug at least once had declined from 4.9 to 4.3 percent.
There have also been reported dramatic decreases in the illegal methamphetamine labs, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. However, there have been reported increases in the smuggling of larger amounts from Mexico and a much more pure form of the drug.
Methamphetamine and Cocaine Comparison
Crystal Meth and cocaine create similar effects, such as an intense “rush” and feelings of euphoria, but they are very different in the way they work in the body.
Cocaine leaves the system rather quickly, as it is metabolized by the body. But, methamphetamine can linger for hours. It stays in the body, unchanged.
Meth stays in the brain longer than cocaine, and therefore the drug is longer-lasting. Both methamphetamine and cocaine cause an increase in the levels of dopamine, but levels of dopamine are higher with meth use, because the nerve cell actions are different.
Methamphetamine is a Stimulant.
Cocaine is a Stimulant and local anesthetic.
Methamphetamine is Synthetic.
Cocaine is derived from an organic substance (leaves of coca plant).
Smoking Methamphetamine produces long-lasting high.
Smoking Cocaine produces a short-term high.
50% of Methamphetamine is removed from the body in 12 hours and increases dopamine release and blocks dopamine re-uptake.
50% of Cocaine is removed from the body in 1 hour.
Methamphetamine has limited medical use.
Cocaine has limited medical use as a local anesthetic for some surgical procedures.
Read about unexpected consequences of Crystal Meth.
Born without a chance!
My name is Robert Quaring. I’m 16years old and I am a meth addict. I was born 3months early 1lb 13oz. My mom is a heroin addict and my dad is in prison.
I remember being little and moving from house to house every months or two… foster care to foster care. Sometimes my mom would get me back though. I thought this was normal that everybody moved around a lot that kids didn’t go out and play with other kids.
I was 12 when I started to smoke weed and drink I got into the gang life. By 13 I’m smoking meth and robbing houses. I grew up in abusive homes I was an angry kid who hated the world.
I learned quickly that you can’t trust anybody not even yourself. I never had to go to elementary school because my mom didn’t care. If I missed the bus then I didn’t have to go. They held me back in first grade because I barley went. In fifth grade I got kicked out for gang activity. I still couldn’t read. I learned how to read small things in 6th grade. I started going to juvie.
I learned everything I needed to by then. I learned that juvie gave you structure and I like structure. I learned how to read bigger words in juvie I learned respect. I did 2months straight in Whatcom county juvenile detention center. In 8th grade I was only out for a total of 3weeks. By then I’ve been to 2different rehab.
Now I’m 16 and I’ve been to 5rehabs. I’m in the John King Recovery House in Mt. Vernon. I have 105 days clean I’d like any support I can get if you read this send me a letter or something. Thank you for reading.
Congratulations on your Sobriety. Life is One Day at Time for All of Us. You have a lot to give to others believe in yourself. I am going to share the following my 86 yr old father shared with my 18 yr old daughter right before she entered inpatient treatment.
I WILL WIN !
I'LL TELL YOU WHY !
I'VE GOT FAITH, COURAGE AND ENTHUSIASM TO WIN!!!
Find Your Higher Power and Win Young Man as I BELIEVE in You
Stay strong man! We all believe in you!
Always a chance!
I am happy and proud of those 105 days! You just keep it up. Remember all things happen for a reason, that is my belief.
I have been an addict for more than forty five years. And I still can't live without medicine due to abuse in my working ways. I really believe these are from things that happened in my youth.
I'm from the very early sixties, which was a very troubling time due to wars, civil rights, drugs and assignations of individuals whom believed the world could be a better place.
When I was a young lad my parents went through a divorce, which in those days was unheard of. I did my best to keep the family together. I was the youngest and I really didn't stand a chance.
I was so ashamed because of the era in which this happened. I carry this to this day.I didn't want children because I thought I would be the same. Genetics of course. I will finish this in another chapter soon!
Peace to all!
Thank you for sharing. You were born with a chance. Take that chance. God kept your little tiny body here for a reason. Take care and good luck. Mentor to others please.
God bless you
Your story brought a tear to my eye..the reason i'm on this website is because i'm going in rehab in 2 week, i was one of the lucky ones i had a great up bringing, it was a bad bad relationship that got me here. But gosh most people who would have had the up bringing you have had would either be dead either by the gun or drugs..you should be very very proud of yourself..stay strong..take care...Natalie xx
Boy i am proud of you.
You did it, you came away from that stuff,
a thing which hundreds of other people couldn't manage to do.
I commend you for that. Indeed, you are a very strong person. Just keep your ground and stay away from your old life. Try to follow the Lord, go to any church you feel comfortable with and you will find peace and love around you.
You're young and have lots of good things ahead of you. Make use of yourself to educate others and hopefully get your family back in track (if they are not yet there). I'm praying that you'll find love and care from the people around you.
Be strong and try to change your fate, your childhood won't be a hindrance for you to prosper in the future.
Your so strong
Wow that's amazing! so proud of you. I know it's hard to be born to a family that just doesn't care and it seems unfair but look how strong you are!
You are all you need :D Keep going never give up and do it all for you so that one day you can provide other people or your children with all you have xx God bless xox
J R M
by: Awesome !!!!
Robert that's what's up !!!! Man I'm sorry that you had to grow up in that kinda life-style, but one things for sure man and that is GOD is giving you another chance at having a healthy life-style.
Dude, you could do so much good for kids your age and younger on telling them that the gang life and drug use is no way to go !!! Man God is gonna use you to get to younger kids and get their lives on track.
I myself am fighting addiction and it's a battle everyday, but just being able to wake up and go to work everyday instead of chasing down dope all day is a great feeling.
Just keep doing what your doing and don't lose hope or faith. Hold on tight cus your in for a ride of a lifetime. God will bless you !!!! Good luck and God bless you..... c-ya. J R M in Goshen, Ohio
Much to Look Forward To
by: Ned Wicker
Congratulations on your sobriety. The treatment center is exactly the place for you to be at this time, but there is much to look forward to. Being 16 is difficult, but you have a chance.
You know that you're a meth addict and you're learning how to manage this disease. You cannot help the family you were born into, but you can decide to help yourself.
The meth will just kill you, but you can overcome by focusing on what you want to do with your life and learning how to live without the drug. Your chances are excellent, providing you are willing to let people come around and help you. When you get out of treatment go to meetings.
Keep in contact with the therapists and let them know how you are doing. Stay in the recovery community. There's a lot of life ahead and you can enjoy all of it.
I get out in less than a month an I've been going to 2 meetings a day, thank you for the support.