Methamphetamines - Drug Addiction
There is another variety of amphetamine - often known as ‘ice’ or ‘crystal meth’ which is even more powerful than ‘ordinary’ amphetamines. This is known as methamphetamine.
What is methamphetamine?
This type of amphetamine has a much stronger effect than the others on the body’s nervous system. It is also a stimulant which has the ability to engender the same euphoric reaction as experienced in other drugs but last for much longer.
What does methamphetamine look like?
It takes the form of a white, bitter tasting powder with transparent crystals and it’s these crystals which give it its characteristic look. It can be easily dissolved in water or another liquid, taken orally as a tablet or smoked. The form that is smoked looks very similar to common rock salt.
How is it used?
Methamphetamine can be injected, swallowed or smoked in a pipe (known as ‘ice’) in a similar way to crack.
What is its street name?
It is known by a variety of street names which include:
- Crystal meth
Who uses methamphetamines?
Originally popular with 1960’s hippie culture it has now been appropriated by clubbers, partygoers and cocaine users who use it for its cocaine-like effects.
How much does methamphetamine cost?
It can cost around £15 to £25 for half a gram.
What happens when you take methamphetamine?
The effects are very similar to those experienced with other amphetamines. They include a rise in blood pressure, increased heart rate, intense feeling of euphoria (‘rush’ or ‘high’), suppressed appetite and arousal.
The psychological effects include increased confidence, a feeling of being ‘wired’ (hyperactivity), alertness and a sense of superiority or of being in control.
The effects can last for several hours, as much as 12 hours in some cases.
Large doses of methamphetamine can result in heart palpitations, chest pain, dry mouth, irritability, paranoia and anxiety.
This drug acts instantly upon the brain and body and can lead to dependency and then addiction. The ‘ice’ form of methamphetamine is particularly potent and more risky than other forms of this drug.
People who take this drug soon find that they need ever larger amounts in order to achieve the same ‘rush’, and to prevent withdrawal symptoms. If someone goes a few days without methamphetamine then they will experience the following withdrawal symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
What tends to happen is that someone will smoke or inject this drug in order to ease these symptoms. This leads to a vicious circle in that they take the drug to feel good but when they come down from this they then feel tired and miserable so take the drug again to improve their mood and so on.
This results in a situation in which the user goes through highs and lows on a regular basis which eventually leads to long term health problems.
What are the risks of using methamphetamine?
The risks are practically the same as for any form of amphetamine which include the following:
- Risk of seizures, strokes or heart attack from raised blood pressure and heart rate.
- Overdose: the risk of this happening is greatest when the drug is injected.
- Psychosis: possible long term damage to certain brain cells which are responsible for movement and memory.
- Increased risk of infections from ‘impure’ amphetamines or diseases such as HIV/AIDS from shared needles.
- Risk of sexually transmitted diseases: this drug increases the sex drive and libido which can lead to sexually harmful behaviour.
Methamphetamine has been re-classified from a Class B drug to a Class A drug (injected form).
Guide to Drug Addiction
- Drug Addiction Guide
- About Drug Addiction
- What is addiction
- What causes an addiction
- Addictive personality
- Drug addiction myths
- Genetics and addiction
- Signs of an addiction
- Risk factors for drug addiction
- Stress and addiction
- Social use of drugs
- What is pseudo-addiction
- Am I Addicted to drugs
- Social effects of drug addiction
- Drug addiction and crime
- Types of addictions
- Alcohol addiction
- Caffeine addiction
- Anabolic steroids
- Hallucinogenic drugs
- Legal high drugs
- Prescription drugs
- Young people and addictions
- Treating addiction
- Assessing drug addiction
- Medical help
- Addiction support
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
- Relapse prevention
- Self help