Meth Info

Methamphetamine Information

skull What is Meth?

“Meth is the devil’s best friend” - Butte County Sheriff Perry Reniff

Meth is a dangerously unique drug for three reasons:

First, there is simply no other drug on the street that can literally be “cooked up” with a combination of household products. Although many of meth’s individual ingredients could kill you by themselves, together they produce an intense, unrivaled high that can last for days.

Second, depending on the strength, meth has the power to addict a person with just one euphoric experience. Its powerfully addictive nature and ease of accessibility have made methamphetamine use the most dangerous and destructive drug epidemic the United States has ever experienced.

Third, depending on where you live, meth is responsible for 75%-90% of crime. The true “cost” of meth to society is almost impossible to calculate. Meth is responsible for our over-flowing prisons, the high rate of foster care placement, the draining of law enforcement and social services, and escalating medical costs. This rate at which this drug can destroy lives, families and communities is off the Richter scale.

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skull What Does Meth Look Like?

baggie of meth found in butte county The color and texture of meth can vary. It is usually white, slightly yellow, or even brown, depending on the purity. The drug is a bitter-tasting, crystal-like powdered substance that sometimes comes in large rock-like chunks. When the powder flakes off the rock, the shards look like glass, which is another nickname for meth. It is often sold in tiny, sealable plastic bags.
Another form of meth, in clear chunky crystals, is called crystal meth, or “ice”. Meth can also be in the form of small, brightly colored tablets. The pills are often called by their Thai name, “ yaba”.

For more info on meth paraphernalia click here to download brochure.

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skull What are the Street Names for Meth?

“My street names are many, you’ve heard them around, But no matter my name, I WILL take you down.” Poem, “I am Meth”

Methamphetamine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug known on the street as "Meth," "Speed," "Crank," "Chalk," "Fire," "Glass," "Ice," "Tweak," "Uppers," "Yaba" and other names. Addiction can result from just one experience, and it is extremely difficult to get off the drug.

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skull Why is meth so addictive?

If you try me be warned - this is no game.
If given the chance, I'll drive you insane.
I'll ravish your body, control your whole mind….
I'll own you completely, your soul will be mine.
Poem, “I am Meth”

Methamphetamine is now one of the most powerful and addictive drugs available in our society. It affects the central nervous system and has enormous potential for physical and psychological abuse. Addiction can result after a single use and the damage it does both physically and emotionally is heartbreaking.

Methamphetamine literally floods the brain with the neurotransmitter dopamine, which gives our body the ability to feel pleasure. It stimulates brain cells, enhancing mood and body movement. Immediately after smoking or injection, the user experiences an intense sensation, called a "rush" or "flash," that only lasts a few minutes, but is described as extremely euphoric. Snorting or swallowing meth also produces euphoria - a high, but not a ‘rush’. All forms can produce an intense high that can last for days to weeks, until the user “crashes,” sleeping for long periods of time.

Continually flooding the brain with huge amounts of dopamine by artificial means (using meth) results in the brain shutting down it’s own production to protect itself. The result is a lack of normal serotonin production. Soon, meth addicts need more and more of the drug to have any pleasurable feelings at all.

Meth use also damages brain cells that contain serotonin, another “feel-good” neurotransmitter. Over time, methamphetamine use appears to result in symptoms similar to Parkinson’s Disease and /or Alzheimers

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skull Meth Addiction and the Body

“If you’re using, you’re losing” - Former meth addict

If you read meth’s individual ingredients, it’s effects on the body will come as no surprise. The ingredients are literally a toxic chemical cocktail that do permanent injury to the body. We're talking about lasting destruction, including irreversible and serious damage to body organs, including the brain, liver, and kidneys. Easier to see are cosmetic changes, when sores appear as the poisonous chemicals work their way out of the body through the pores of the skin. Not everyone develops these at the same rate, and some people never develop them at all. Eventually meth users lose their teeth, a condition called “Meth mouth” Nothing can change one’s appearance so much from so little a thing as a missing tooth! Just look at the drastic change in appearance of even the most beautiful people. Though cosmetic changes are the most obvious and easy to spot, the internal damage to the body is not. Methamphetamine causes increased heart rate and blood pressure and can cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain, producing strokes. Other effects of methamphetamine include respiratory problems, irregular heartbeat, and extreme anorexia. Chronic, high-dose methamphetamine abusers are generally undernourished with a gaunt appearance, poor hygiene, rotten teeth and suffer from extreme paranoia.

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skull Meth and the Mind

The high I give you will be unsurpassed,          
You'll want it forever, the dye will be cast         
I’ll  make you feel good, like never before          
To get you to open my perilous door…         
Poem, I Am Meth

Meth users say the drug makes them feel more intelligent, powerful, secure, confident, and both socially and sexually exciting. What more could anyone ask for? This is why ex-addicts warn that “Meth will give you whatever you want, until you realize it takes away everything you ever really had.”

Chronic use can cause paranoia, hallucinations, repetitive behavior (such as compulsively cleaning, grooming or disassembling and assembling objects), and delusions of parasites or insects crawling under the skin. Some users obsessively scratch their skin to get rid of these imagined “ insects.”

The most dangerous stage of methamphetamine abuse is when the drug use has produced psychosis ("tweaking"). A user who is tweaking has probably not slept in 3-15 days, and consequently will be extremely irritable, paranoid, and prone to violent behavior. A tweaker does not need provocation to behave or react violently, but confrontation increases the chances of that reaction. If the tweaker is using alcohol, his negative feelings and associated dangers intensify.

Long-term use, high dosages, or both can bring on full-blown toxic psychosis This violent, aggressive behavior is usually coupled with extreme paranoia. Hallucinations, repetitive motor activity, increased risk of convulsions, heart attacks, and weight loss are symptoms, along with cardiovascular collapse and death.

For pregnant women, meth use can cause premature labor, detachment of the placenta, low birth weight, and neurological damage to the fetus. Intravenous users can suffer from AIDS, hepatitis, infections and sores at the injection site, and infection of the heart lining and valves.

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skull How Can I Spot Someone who is High on Meth?

Under the influence of the drug, users often become agitated and feel "wired." Their behavior becomes unpredictable. They may be friendly and calm one moment, angry and terrified the next. Some feel compelled to repeat meaningless tasks, such as taking apart and reassembling bits of machinery. Others may pick at imaginary bugs on their skin. Hard-core methamphetamine addicts get very little sleep and it shows.

Chronic users and "cooks" — those that manufacture the drug — may have open sores on their skin, bad teeth, and generally appear unclean. Habitual users may develop nervous twitching, lip biting, picking or tapping behaviors that they did not have before methamphetamine use. Paranoid and erratic behavior combined with regular late-night activity are potential indicators.

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skull Safety Tips for Approaching Someone High on Meth

The most dangerous stage of methamphetamine abuse is when the drug use has produced psychosis ("tweaking"). A user who is tweaking has probably not slept in 3-15 days, and consequently will be extremely irritable and paranoid. A tweaker does not need provocation to behave or react violently, but confrontation increases the chances of violent reaction. If the tweaker is using alcohol, his negative feelings and associated dangers intensify.

Signs of Use:

  • Stimulated movement and speech (hyperactive)
  • Dilated pupils
  • Feelings of intense excitement and euphoria
  • Lack of sleep
  • Increased energy
  • Mood swings, irritability, nervousness
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Chest pain, heart palpitations, hot flashes, dry mouth, sweating

Signs of Long Term Use:

  • Mental Confusion
  • Deteriorating school grades or work performance
  • Aggressiveness, violence, emotional ability
  • Central Pallor: the center of the face becomes very pale
  • Weight loss (women & young women sometimes start the drug for this)
  • Diarrhea, vomiting
  • Body Odor: Meth’s chemicals are present in the user’s perspiration and emit a putrid smell resembling glue and mayonnaise.
  • Bad Teeth: The abuser’s teeth first turn gray and then black.
  • Hallucinations, paranoia
  • Tremors or shaking, convulsions
  • Hypertension
  • Palpitations, cardiac arrhythmia
  • Scars/Open Sores on Exposed Skin

Safety Tips for Approaching Someone High on Meth:

  • Keep a social distance. Preferably a seven to ten foot radius. Once a tweaker has been identified, contact law enforcement.
  • Do not shine bright lights at him or her. The tweaker is already paranoid and if he/she is blinded by a bright light, he/she could run or become violent.
  • Slow your speech and lower the pitch of your voice. A tweaker hears sounds at a fast pace and in a high pitch, and a side effect of the drug is a constant electrical buzzing sound in the background.
  • Slow your movements. This will decrease the odds that the meth user will misinterpret your physical actions.
  • Keep your hands visible. Because the meth user is already paranoid, if you place your hands where she or he cannot see them, she/he may feel threatened and become violent.
  • Keep the person talking. A person who is high on meth who falls silent can be extremely dangerous. Silence often means that paranoid thoughts have taken over reality and anyone on the scene can become part of the tweaker’s paranoid delusions.

(Taken from the National Drug Intelligence Center)

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skull Who uses Meth?

Now that you’ve met me, what will you do?
Will you try me or not? It's all up to you.
I can bring you more misery than words can tell,
Come take my hand, let me lead you to hell…
Poem, “I am Meth”

Meth now crosses all boundaries of age, race and sex. Whether its blue collar or white collar professionals looking for energy or sexual stamina, curious teens looking for a rush, shift workers and truck drivers looking to stay awake, or women who want to lose weight, meth seems to have something for everyone. It’s highly addictive power makes it an equal opportunity drug. No one walks away unscathed.

Although meth is rarely prescribed by a physician, there are a few accepted medical reasons for its use, such as the treatment of narcolepsy, attention deficit disorder, and — for short-term use — obesity.

According to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 12.3 million Americans ages 12 and older reported trying methamphetamine at least once during their lifetimes, representing 5.2% of the population ages 12 and older.

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skull Where Does Meth Come From?

         If you need me, remember I'm easily found, 
         I live all around you - in schools and in town.
         I live with the rich; I live with the poor,
         I live down the street, and maybe next door.
         Poem, I Am Meth

Most of the methamphetamine in Butte County used to be manufactured, or "cooked" in small, clandestine laboratories. These labs can be set up in homes, garages, storage units, apartments, motel rooms, even the trunk of a car.

Meth is easily produced from a few over-the-counter, inexpensive ingredients. See meth’s individual ingredients.

The main ingredient in Meth is ephedrine/pseudo ephedrine. This chemical is contained in many legal drugs, including bronchodilators like Vick’s Inhalant, decongestants like Nyquil Nighttime Cold Medication, Sudafed, diet pills, and therapeutic agents like Dioxin.

During the last two decades, more and more meth has been imported from Mexico, with organized crime gangs operating the business.

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skull Meth and Crime

When I finally possess you, you'll lie, cheat and steal 
By this time you’ll know my addiction is real. Poem, I Am Meth

Because it is easy to produce, easy to sell and so addictive it is the fastest-growing "recreational" drug on the street. Its addiction and use are often connected with other crimes such as burglary, robbery, forgery and theft including credit card and identity theft. Addicts will literally do anything to pay for their habit.

Methamphetamine is the cause of a significant amount of crime in Butte County. Burglaries, assaults, robberies, and even homicides and suicides have been linked to methamphetamine use, manufacturing, and sales in Butte County. To see specific statistics of how meth affects Butte County, Click Here

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