According to the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant drug that strongly activates certain systems in the brain.
Methamphetamine is chemically related to amphetamine, but the central nervous system effects of methamphetamine are greater. Both drugs have some limited therapeutic uses, primarily in the treatment of obesity.
Methamphetamine is made in illegal laboratories and has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Street methamphetamine is referred to by many names, such as "speed," "meth," and "chalk." Methamphetamine hydrochloride, clear chunky crystals resembling ice, which can be inhaled by smoking, is referred to as "ice," "crystal," "glass," and "tina."
Methamphetamine releases high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which stimulates brain cells, enhancing mood and body movement. It also appears to have a neurotoxic effect, damaging brain cells that contain dopamine as well as serotonin, another neurotransmitter. Over time, methamphetamine appears to cause reduced levels of dopamine, which can result in symptoms like those of Parkinson's disease, a severe movement disorder.
Methamphetamine is taken orally or intranasally (snorting the powder), by intravenous injection, and by smoking. Immediately after smoking or intravenous injection, the methamphetamine user experiences an intense sensation, called a "rush" or "flash," that lasts only a few minutes and is described as extremely pleasurable. Oral or intranasal use produces euphoria high, but not a rush. Users may become addicted quickly, and use it with increasing frequency and in increasing doses
Animal research going back more than 20 years shows that high doses of methamphetamine damage neuron cell endings. Dopamine- and serotonin-containing neurons do not die after methamphetamine use, but their nerve endings ("terminals") are cut back, and regrowth appears to be limited.
The central nervous system (CNS) actions that result from taking even small amounts of methamphetamine include increased wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite, increased respiration, hyperthermia, and euphoria. Other CNS effects include irritability, insomnia, confusion, tremors, convulsions, anxiety, paranoia, and aggressiveness. Hyperthermia and convulsions can result in death.
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. Its use can result in cardiovascular collapse and death
Extent of Use
Monitoring the Future Study (MTF)
MTF assesses the extent of drug use among adolescents (8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders) and young adults across the country. Recent data from the survey indicate the following:
In 2005, 6.2 percent of high school seniors had reported lifetime use of methamphetamine, statistically unchanged from 2004. Lifetime use was measured at 5.3 percent of 10th grade students.
Eighth-graders reported significant decreases in lifetime, annual, and 30-day use.
Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG)
Results reported at the most recent CEWG meetings indicate that methamphetamine abuse and production continue at high levels in Hawaii, west coast areas, and some southwestern areas of the United States, but methamphetamine abuse also is continuing to spread eastward.
The percentage of adult male arrestees testing methamphetamine-positive in 2004 were highest in Honolulu (40.3 percent), Phoenix (38.3) San Diego (36.2), and Los Angeles (28.7).
Several other items of significance were reported, as follows:
The numbers of clandestine methamphetamine laboratory incidents reported to the National Clandestine Laboratory Database decreased from 1999 to 2005. During this same period, methamphetamine lab incidents increased in Midwestern States (Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio), and in Pennsylvania. In 2004, more lab incidents were reported in Illinois (926) than in California (673). In 2004, methamphetamine lab incidents reached new highs in Georgia (250), Minnesota (309), and Texas (677). There were only seven methamphetamine lab incidents reported in Hawaii in 2005.
In the first 6 months of 2004, nearly 59 percent of substance abuse treatment admissions (excluding alcohol) in Hawaii were for primary methamphetamine abuse. San Diego followed, with nearly 51 percent. Notable increases in methamphetamine treatment admissions occurred in Atlanta (10.6 percent in the first 6 months of 2004, as compared with 2.5 percent in 2001) and Minneapolis/St. Paul (18.7 percent in the first 6 months of 2004, as compared with 10.6 percent in 2001).
Some MDMA (ecstasy) and cocaine users are switching to methamphetamine, ignorant of its severe toxicity.
In many gay clubs found throughout New York City and elsewhere, methamphetamine is often used in an injectable form, placing users and their partners at risk for transmission of HIV, hepatitis C, and other STDs.
National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
According to the 2004 NSDUH, 12.3 million Americans age 12 and older had tried methamphetamine at least once in their lifetimes (5.2 percent of the population), with the majority of past-year users between 18 and 34 years of age. Significant decreases in past year use were seen among 12- to 17-year-olds.
Methamphetamine in Mason County
The years 2004 and 2005 saw an increase in Methamphetamine use and production. The Rural nature of this county lent itself to the clandestine production of this debilitating drug. It has been noted that criminals who were responsible for the bulk of our crime when apprehended were found to be heavy users of Methamphetamine. Many of these individuals, male and female, young and adult, required additional medical attention when incarcerated which drove up costs for the Mason County Jail.
While to this point in time the use of Methamphetamine has not taken a dramatic dip the production of Methamphetamine has. There seems to be two reasons for this. First; the precursor law passed by the Washington State Legislature has made it more difficult for those that would manufacture Methamphetamine to get the ingredients needed to complete that process. Taking ephedrine and pseudo ephedrine off of the store shelves, limiting the amount that can be purchased, having to purchase them from stock behind the counter as well as requiring a signature and identification when purchasing products containing these precursor chemicals has dramatically reduced the number of labs producing Methamphetamine in our County. Second; unfortunately we have seen an influx of high grade Methamphetamine coming into Mason County from the south as well as from Canada. This increase in the supply of Methamphetamine has filled some of the gap left by the reduction of local production.
For More information the following links.
www.Kci.org/meth_info – Anti Meth site
www.metheducation.com – Meth Education