Methamphetamine What You Should Know

Methamphetamine, or meth, is a central nervous system stimulant with a high potential for abuse and dependence.  A synthetic drug, meth is closely related chemically to amphetamine, but produces greater effects on the central nervous system.  Meth is illegally manufactured using ephedrine or pseudoephedrine in combination with other explosive and toxic chemicals.  Meth usually takes the form of an off-white or yellowish colored, bitter tasting, crystalline powder, that is readily soluble in water or alcohol.

Methamphetamine sends a message to the brain to fire more dopamine, a feel good chemical that is critical to normal brain functioning.  Hours after ingestion, cell receptors begin to turn off the flow of dopamine.  While other stimulants like cocaine allow the brain to repackage the dopamine, methamphetamine does not.  Instead, the brain cells respond by releasing an enzyme that diminishes the dopamine cells.  With repeated meth use, the dopamine cells are killed of leading to a chemical change in the brain that lasts a long time.  This lack of dopamine creates a cranky, violent person incapable of feeling happiness or having fun, even months after stopping methamphetamine usage.

Methamphetamine can be smoked, injected intravenously, snorted, or ingested orally.  The drug’s euphoric effects are longer lasting that cocaine, from 8 to 24 hours, a big part of the popularity.  This high is followed by a severe crash causing the abuser to sleep for up to three days straight.  Short term meth use causes increased alertness, paranoia, an intense high, hallucinations, aggressive behavior, violent behavior, loss of appetite, acne or sores, and convulsions.  Long term effects of meth use include fatal kidney and lung disorders, brain damage, depression, hallucinations, violent and aggressive behavior, severe weight loss (meth literally eats away at body fat and muscle), tooth decay (gray or black teeth), paranoid-schizophrenia, decreased sociability, poor coping skills, putrid body odor (similar to glue and mayonnaise), open sores and scarring on the skin (self inflicted wounds from removing hallucinatory “crank bugs” from the skin), disturbed personality development, liver damage, heart attacks, stroke or death.

Clan Labs

“Betty Crankers”

Methamphetamine can be make from many toxic chemicals and over the counter ingredients.  The toxic combination can explode and kill you.  These “home-grown” labs can be anywhere; in a house, motel room, even in the trunk of a car!  Home cookers can follow several recipes in their quest for a cheap high and a quick buck.  The chemical wastes are flammable and poisonous. They can cause burns, cancer, respiratory failure, and death.  the chemical process for cooking meth is volatile and extremely dangerous.  “Cooks” die in chemical explosions taking bystanders, and sometimes their own children with them.  The toxic chemical wastes are often dumped in sewers and in the ground.  the clean-up costs are in the thousands of dollars due to disposal methods and the special suits required by law enforcement officers for protection.


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