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What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a powerfully addictive substance that affects the central nervous system. It is as addictive as crack cocaine but is 10 times as strong and 10 times as dangerous.

It is called crank, glass, ice, speed, go fast, chalk, and crystal.

A poison is any substance that produces disease conditions, tissue injury, or otherwise interrupts natural life processes when in contact with or absorbed into the body. Most poisons taken in sufficient quantity are lethal. A poisonous substance may originate as a mineral, vegetable, or an animal and it may assume the form of a solid, liquid, or gas. A poison, depending on the type, may attack the surface of the body or, more seriously, internal organs or the central nervous system.  METH IS POISON!

Methamphetamine KILLS either by Overdose, Suicide, Drug Related Health Problems or Drug Related Violence. The average life expectancy for a heavy meth user is 5-7 years.

Short term effects may include:

  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessive talking
  • Excessive sweating
  • Hyperactivity

Long term effects include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Psychiatric disorders including meth-induced psychosis
  • Fatal lung and kidney disorders
  • Violent and/or irrational behavior
  • Immune system deficiency
  • Tooth decay
  • Hair loss

For more meth facts, click here.

Meth Labs

The use of methamphetamines as an abused drug has risen dramatically in the last 10 years. The reasons are understandable: it can be made from readily available materials found in drug stores, home improvement stores, and agricultural chemical supplies - by mail and the internet. It can be made in small quantities in a basement, garage, storage space, bathroom or bedroom in just a few hours. It doesn’t have to be smuggled in from Afghanistan or Columbia.

The dangers are also as dramatic: fire explosions, pollution, short and long term health effects, contamination of homes, vehicles, children and law enforcement personnel. 

Exposure can result from inhalation or physical contact with a variety of known chemicals with known effects and a host of exposures to reactions that can occur from the chemicals used in meth cooks.

The probability that methamphetamine will contaminate a building where a cook has occurred is almost certain. It is also certain that contamination persists weeks, months, and possibly years after a meth cook or cooks have occurred. It is highly likely that methamphetamine contamination will occur in furniture, floors, walls, furnishings, clothing and personal items such as toys.

Practically anyone associated with a meth cook area; family, friends, law enforcement, custodial personnel, will have positive urine tests for methamphetamines.

The most important thing to remember about meth labs is that they are extremely dangerous.  If you suspect a meth lab call your local law enforcement immediately.  Do not touch anything and leave the premises.  The following are signs of a possible meth lab:

  • Access denied to landlords, neighbors, and other visitors
  • Chemical staining on walls and floors
  • A multitude of expensive home items such as stereos with no visible means of support
  • Cash purchases and payments
  • Covering or blacking-out of windows
  • Security measures such as cameras or baby monitors outside of buildings
  • Guard dogs
  • Unusual traffic patterns, such as excessive night traffic or large numbers of visitors with short stays
  • Burn pits, stained soil or dead vegetation indicating dumped chemicals or waste from a meth lab
  • Abnormal chemical odors not normally associated with apartments, houses or buildings. These odors may be similar to sweet, bitter, ammonia or solvent smells.
  • Large amounts of household chemicals found in odd places such as:
    • Bathrooms
    • Kitchens
    • Laundry rooms
    • Motel rooms

35% of meth labs busted have children present.  80% to 100% of these children test positive for methamphetamine.  That is not counting the labs that have had children present at one time or another.  The following link contains information about the dangers children face living in these toxic homes.

Dangers to Children Living in Meth Labs

Tweaking

Heavy Meth users are often involved in domestic disputes and motor vehicles accidents. They may also be present at "raves" or parties and they may participate in spur of the moment crimes, such as purse snatching's or assaults, to support their habit.

Detaining a heavy meth user alone is not recommended and law enforcement officers should call for backup.

The most dangerous stage of meth abuse for abusers, medical personnel and law enforcement officers is called "tweaking". A tweaker is a heavy Meth user who probably has not slept in 3-15 days and is irritable and paranoid.

Tweakers often behave or react violently and if a tweaker is using alcohol or another depressant, his negative feelings and associated dangers intensify. The Tweaker craves more meth, but no dosage will help re-create the euphoric high, which causes frustration, and leads to unpredictability and potential for violence.

A tweaker can appear normal: eyes can be clear, speech concise, and movements brisk. But a closer look will reveal the person's eyes are moving ten times faster then normal, the voice has a slight quiver, and movements are quick and jerky. These physical signs are more difficult to identify if the tweaker is using a depressant.