how do people use meth
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It (contracted from N–methylamphetamine) is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is mainly used as a recreational drug and less commonly as a second-line treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity. Methamphetamine was discovered in 1893 and exists as two enantiomers: levo-methamphetamine and dextro-methamphetamine.
Methamphetamine properly refers to a specific chemical substance, the racemic free base, which is an equal mixture of levomethamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine in their pure amine forms. It is rarely prescribed over concerns involving human neurotoxicity and potential for recreational use as an aphrodisiac and euphoriant, among other concerns, as well as the availability of safer substitute drugs with comparable treatment efficacy. Dextromethamphetamine is a stronger CNS stimulant than levomethamphetamine.
Both racemic methamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine are illicitly trafficked and sold owing to their potential for recreational use. The highest prevalence of illegal methamphetamine use occurs in parts of Asia and Oceania, and in the United States, where racemic methamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine are classified as schedule II controlled substances. Levomethamphetamine is available as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug for use as an inhaled nasal decongestant in the United States.
Internationally, the production, distribution, sale, and possession of methamphetamine is restricted or banned in many countries, due to its placement in schedule II of the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty. While dextromethamphetamine is a more potent drug, racemic methamphetamine is illicitly produced more often due to the relative ease of synthesis and regulatory limits of chemical precursor availability.
Change in mood
In low to moderate doses, methamphetamine can elevate mood, increase alertness, concentration and energy in fatigued individuals, reduce appetite, and promote weight loss. At very high doses, it can induce psychosis, breakdown of skeletal muscle, seizures and bleeding in the brain. Chronic high-dose use can precipitate unpredictable and rapid mood swings, stimulant psychosis (e.g., paranoia, hallucinations, delirium, and delusions) and violent behavior.
Recreationally, methamphetamine’s ability to increase energy has been reported to lift mood and increase sexual desire to such an extent that users are able to engage in sexual activity continuously for several days while binging the drug. Methamphetamine is known to possess a high addiction liability (i.e., a high likelihood that long-term or high dose use will lead to compulsive drug use) and high dependence liability (i.e. a high likelihood that withdrawal symptoms will occur when methamphetamine use ceases).
Withdrawal from methamphetamine after heavy use may lead to a post-acute-withdrawal syndrome, which can persist for months beyond the typical withdrawal period. It is neurotoxic to human midbrain dopaminergic neurons at high doses.
It has been shown to have a higher affinity and, as a result, higher toxicity toward serotonergic neurons than amphetamine. Methamphetamine neurotoxicity causes adverse changes in brain structure and function, such as reductions in grey matter volume in several brain regions, as well as adverse changes in markers of metabolic integrity.
It belongs to the substituted phenethylamine and substituted amphetamine chemical classes. It is related to the other dimethylphenethylamines as a positional isomer of these compounds, which share the common chemical formula C10H15N.
What You Should Know
Where Does It Come From?
Methamphetamine is a man-made stimulant that’s been around for a long time. During World War II, soldiers were given meth to keep them awake. People have also taken the drug to lose weight and ease depression. Today, the only legal meth product is a tablet for treating obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s rarely used and is available only by prescription. Find out the differences between Adderall and methamphetamines, as well as amphetamines vs. methamphetamines.
Crystal meth is made with the ingredient pseudoephedrine, which is found in many cold medicines. It helps ease congestion. Because it’s used to make meth, the federal government closely regulates products with this ingredient.
Most of the crystal meth used in this country comes from Mexican “superlabs.” But there are many small labs in the U. S. Some are right in people’s homes. Making meth is a dangerous process because of the chemicals involved. Along with being toxic, they can cause explosions.
How Does It Make You Feel?
The powerful rush people get from using meth causes many to get hooked right from the start. When it’s used, a chemical called dopamine floods the parts of the brain that regulate feelings of pleasure. Users also feel confident and energetic.
A user can become addicted quickly and soon finds they will do anything to have the rush again. As they continue to use the drug, they build up a tolerance. That means they need higher doses to get the same high. The higher the dose, the higher the risks. Get more information on how meth use affects the body.
What Are the Effects?
- Meth can make a user’s body temperature rise so high they could pass out or even die. Learn more about meth overdose deaths in the U.S.
- A user may feel anxious and confused, be unable to sleep, have mood swings, and become violent. Read more on the physical signs of meth use.
- Looks can change dramatically. A user may age quickly. Their skin may dull, and they can develop hard-to-heal sores and pimples. They may have a dry mouth and stained, broken, or rotting teeth. Know the effects of meth on your mouth. Meth can also affect the heart. Ongoing meth use may also lead to lung damage.
- They may become paranoid. Those can hear and see things that aren’t there. They may think about hurting themselves or others. Those can also feel as though insects are crawling on or under their skin. Find out more on methamphetamine psychosis.
- A meth user is at higher risk for HIV/AIDS. The drug can affect judgment and lessen inhibitions. Someone under the influence of the drug may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as unsafe sex. Learn more about meth use and sexual function.
Symptoms And Warning Signs Of Meth Abuse
The extreme psychological and physical toll that Meth takes on the body makes it one of the most dangerous drugs on the market. Meth deeply affects both a user’s brain and body, and these symptoms and warning signs are visible in a variety of ways.
One of the first symptoms of Meth abuse is a sudden loss of interest in areas of life that were once important to the person. Hobbies, relationships, and career goals will all begin to take a back seat to getting and using Meth. Initially, many people will attempt to hide their drug use, but the longer someone uses Meth, the more prominent it becomes in their lives. Methamphetamine chemically alters how a user thinks and feels, which can make what was once a recreational drug activity a major life priority.
Another telling symptom of Meth use is “tweaking” – a period of anxiety and insomnia that can last for 3 to 15 days. Tweaking occurs at the end of a drug binge when a person using Meth can’t achieve a rush or high any longer. It can cause psychological side effects, such as paranoia, irritability, and confusion due to the desperation to use again. Tweaking from Meth can also cause people to experience hallucinations and become prone to violent behavior.
Another sign that someone is using Meth is the crash phase. During this period, the body is deprived of the dopamine that Meth was previously supplying and causes extreme exhaustion. A crash can last anywhere from 1 to 3 days and is characterized by long periods of sleep, intense drug cravings, and depression.
The Dangers Of Meth
The serious health risks of using Meth are widely known, yet many people still experiment with the drug. The euphoric rush that causes so many to use Methamphetamine is caused by the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Meth is more dangerous than other stimulants because a larger percentage of the drug remains unchanged in the body and stays present in the brain longer.
The drug is toxic to nerve terminals in the brain and Meth can destroy the brain cell synapses where dopamine is released, causing mood disturbances and dependence on the drug. Prolonged Meth use changes the brain chemistry of users, destroying the wiring in the brain’s pleasure center, and makes it increasingly difficult to experience any sort of pleasure without the drug. In addition to behavioral changes, chronic Meth use can also cause irreversible damage to bodily systems. And blood vessels in the brain, which can result in a stroke.
HOW IS METH MADE?
Unlike drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, which are derived from plants, meth can be manufactured using a variety of store bought chemicals.
The most common ingredient in meth is pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, commonly found in cold medicine. Through a cooking process the pseudoephedrine or ephedrine is chemically changed into meth. The ingredients that are used in the process of making meth can include: ether, paint thinner, Freon®, acetone, anhydrous ammonia, iodine crystals, red phosphorus, drain cleaner, battery acid, and lithium (taken from inside batteries).
And the people who cook the meth usually do not have any chemistry training. Cooking meth is relatively simple, but highly dangerous and toxic.
There are two basic categories of meth labs:
Superlabs produce large quantities of meth and supply organized drug trafficking groups that sell the drug in communities across the U.S. Most of the larger labs are controlled by Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations operating in the U.S. and Mexico.
Small Toxic Labs produce smaller quantities of meth.
HOW DOES METH AFFECT EVERYONE ELSE?
As you can imagine, all those toxic chemicals used in the meth manufacturing process take a toll on the environment. Every pound of meth made can generate up to five pounds of toxic waste that may seep into the soil and groundwater.
The manufacturing process also generates toxic fumes. These fumes can severely harm anyone exposed to them. Meth labs also generate highly explosive gases.
Drug Endangered Children
Meth also has a very serious impact on children. Many children are rescued from homes with meth labs or meth using parents. Meth, chemicals, and syringes are all within reach of these children. Parents high on meth neglect their children. And the mental, physical, and emotional consequences for these Drug Endangered Children are often severe.
Millions of our tax dollars are spent each year to clean up meth labs, to care for Drug Endangered Children, and to pay for law enforcement to deal with the meth problem.
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