Methamphetamines - Meth

Meth was discovered in 1893.  It is a central nervous system party drug stimulant people use recreationally and abuse to elevate mood, increase alertness and reduce fatigue. Street names commonly include Meth, Speed, G, Glass, Tina and Ice, there are many more.  It’s an odorless solid white or crystal substance. It’s less commonly used for treatment of obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and narcolepsy.  Meth is highly addictive and for this reason it is rarely prescribed for these conditions.

High doses or long-term Meth use can cause:

  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, tension headache
  • Violent behavior
  • Seizures, bleeding of the brain, brain damage
  • Sensation of flesh crawling
  • Muscle breakdown which can lead to kidney damage or failure

Meth can be taken many ways snorted, smoked, injected (either dry or dissolved in water), swallowed or inserted into the anus or urethra.

Often people who abuse opiates combine them with Meth, this can be referred to as speed-balling.  A person with a history of abusing multiple drugs is known as a poly-substance user. It’s not uncommon for an addict to trade addictions either. Using amphetamines while on opiates or methadone is dangerous and puts people at a greater risk of overdose and other adverse health effects.

In pregnant and nursing women, methamphetamine crosses the placenta and is secreted in breast milk.  While research cannot draw definite conclusions about how Meth affects a baby’s development, there is evidence to suggest that Meth is harmful to a developing fetus.   (Please See Pregnancy information page for more resources.)

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