highly addictive central nervous system stimulant
that can be injected, snorted, smoked, or ingested
orally. Methamphetamine users feel a short yet intense
"rush" when the drug is initially administered.
The effects of methamphetamine include increased
activity, decreased appetite, and a sense of well
being that can last from 20 minutes to 12 hours.
The drug has limited medical uses for the treatment
of narcolepsy, attention deficit disorders, and
Methamphetamine can easily be manufactured in clandestine
laboratories using store bought materials and is
the most prevalent synthetic drug manufactured in
the United States. The ease of manufacturing methamphetamine
and its highly addictive potential has caused the
use of the drug to increase throughout the Nation.
The methamphetamine problem was originally concentrated
in the West but has spread throughout almost every
major metropolitan area in the U.S. with the exception
of the Northeast.
Poor Man's Cocaine
Yaba, the Thai name for a tablet form of methamphetamine
mixed with caffeine, is appearing in Asian communities
in northern California and Los Angeles areas. These
tablets are popular in Southeast and East Asia where
they are produced. The tablets are small enough to fit
in the end of a drinking straw and are usually reddish-orange
or green with various logos. There are indications that
methamphetamine tablets are becoming more popular within
the rave scene because of the tablet's similar appearance
to club drugs such as Ecstasy.
effects of methamphetamine use can include addiction,
psychotic behavior, and brain damage. Methamphetamine
is highly addictive and users trying to abstain from
use may suffer withdrawal symptoms that include depression,
anxiety, fatigue, paranoia, aggression, and intense
cravings for the drug. Chronic methamphetamine use can
cause violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, and insomnia.
Users can also exhibit psychotic behavior including
auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances, delusions,
and paranoia, possibly resulting in homicidal or suicidal
thoughts. 11 Use of methamphetamine can cause damage
to the brain that is detectable months after the use
of the drug. The damage to the brain caused by methamphetamine
use is similar to damage caused by Alzheimer's disease,
stroke, and epilepsy.
Chronic methamphetamine abuse can result in inflammation
of the heart lining and, for injecting drug users, damaged
blood vessels and skin abscesses. Social and occupational
connections progressively deteriorate for chronic methamphetamine
users. Acute lead poisoning is another potential risk
for methamphetamine abusers because of a common method
of production that uses lead acetate as a reagent.
Medical consequences of methamphetamine use can include
cardiovascular problems such as rapid heart rate, irregular
heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and stroke-producing
damage to small blood vessels in the brain. Hyperthermia
and convulsions can occur when a user overdoses and,
if not treated immediately, can result in death. Research
has shown that as much as 50% of the dopamine-producing
cells in the brain can be damaged by prolonged exposure
to relatively low levels of methamphetamine and that
serotonin-containing nerve cells may be damaged even
Methamphetamine abuse during pregnancy can cause prenatal
complications such as increased rates of premature delivery
and altered neonatal behavior patterns, such as abnormal
reflexes and extreme irritability, and may be linked
to congenital deformities. Methamphetamine abuse, particularly
by those who inject the drug and share needles, can
increase users' risks of contracting HIV/AIDS and hepatitis
B and C.