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.
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.
For more info on meth paraphernalia click here to download brochure.
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.
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
“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.
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.
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.
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:
Signs of Long Term Use:
Safety Tips for Approaching Someone High on Meth:
(Taken from the National Drug Intelligence Center)
Now that you’ve met me, what will you do?
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.
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.
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