Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Crystal meth for sale is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks. It is chemically similar to amphetamine, a drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.
Other common names for methamphetamine include blue, crystal, ice, meth, and speed.
How do people use methamphetamine?
People can take methamphetamine by:
injecting the powder that has been dissolved in water/alcohol
Because the “high” from the drug both starts and fades quickly, people often take repeated doses in a “binge and crash” pattern. In some cases, people take methamphetamine in a form of binging known as a “run,” giving up food and sleep while continuing to take the drug every few hours for up to several days.
How does methamphetamine affect the brain?
Methamphetamine increases the amount of natural chemical dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is involved in body movement, motivation, and reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. The drug’s ability to rapidly release high levels of dopamine in reward areas of the brain strongly reinforces drug-taking behavior, making the user want to repeat the experience.
Taking even small amounts of methamphetamine can result in many of the same health effects as those of other stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines. These include:
increased wakefulness and physical activity
rapid and/or irregular heartbeat
increased blood pressure and body temperature
What are the other health effects of methamphetamine?
methamphetamine are at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. These diseases are transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids that can remain on drug equipment. Methamphetamine use can also alter judgment and decision-making leading to risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex, which also increases the risk for infection.
Methamphetamine use may worsen the progression of HIV/AIDS and its consequences. Studies indicate that HIV causes more injury to nerve cells and more cognitive problems in people who use methamphetamine than it does in people who have HIV and don’t use the drug.1 Cognitive problem are those involved with thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering.
Long-term methamphetamine use has many other negative consequences, including:
extreme weight loss
severe dental problems (“meth mouth”)
intense itching, leading to skin sores from scratching
changes in brain structure and function
paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
hallucinations—sensations and images that seem real though they aren’t
In addition, continued methamphetamine use causes changes in the brain’s dopamine system that are associated with reduced coordination and impaired verbal learning. In studies of people who used methamphetamine over the long term, severe changes also affected areas of the brain involved with emotion and memory.2 This may explain many of the emotional and cognitive problems seen in those who use methamphetamine.
Although some of these brain changes may reverse after being off the drug for a year or more, other changes may not recover even after a long period of time.3 A recent study even suggests that people who once used methamphetamine have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, a disorder of the nerves that affect movement
Are there health effects from exposure to secondhand methamphetamine smoke?
Researchers don’t yet know whether people breathing in second hand methamphetamine smoke can get high or have other health effects. What they do know is that people can test positive for methamphetamine after exposure to secondhand smoke.5,6 More research is needed in this area.