"Meth," "speed," "chalk," "ice,"
"crystal," "crank," "fire,"
and "glass" are street terms for a man-made drug called
methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is among the most addictive substances
around. The drug can easily be made in secret laboratories from
relatively inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients. This white,
odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder can be smoked, snorted,
injected, or swallowed. Teens may think that the bizarre way the
drug makes them feel is cool; however, the drug is altering their
brains — maybe permanently.
Methamphetamine is not usually sold and bought on the streets like
many other illicit drugs. Instead, people obtain supplies through
friends or acquaintances. It is typically a closed or hidden sale.
Most teens who come in contact with methamphetamines will do so
attending a "rave" or private club. It is at these clubs
where the drug is often sold.
Because methamphetamines can be made with readily available, inexpensive
materials, there is great variation in the processes and chemicals
used. This means that the final product that is sold as "methamphetamine"
may not be that drug at all. Uncertainties about the drug's
sources and its content make it difficult to know how powerful this
substance may be and what the consequences are of this potent mixture.
Signs of a Methamphetamine User
Users may experience
- signs of agitation, excited speech, decreased appetites, and
increased physical activity levels (other common symptoms include
dilated pupils, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and elevated body
- occasional episodes of sudden and violent behavior, intense
paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and bouts of insomnia
- a tendency to compulsively clean and groom and repetitively
sort and disassemble objects such as cars and other mechanical
Long-Term Effects of the Drug
- change the brain's ability to manufacture a chemical
substance essential for the normal experience of pleasure and
for normal psychological functioning (these changes in the brain
can persist long after the user stops taking the drugs)
- cause a stroke
- create a mental disorder that mimics schizophrenia
- be extremely addictive.
Kicking the Habit
There are currently no medications available to treat addiction
or overdose to methamphetamines. Withdrawal from this drug is typically
characterized by drug craving, depression, disturbed sleep patterns,
and increased appetite.
- Skip parties where you know there will be alcohol and drugs.
- Get involved in drug-free activities.
- Urge your school, faith community, or neighborhood to organize
an anti-drug rally.
- Talk to school counselors about starting an alcohol or drug
abuse prevention program.
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Crime Prevention Tips Provided by:
National Crime Prevention Council