Methamphetamine is a white, bitter tasting, odorless powder that is crystallized. It can easily dissolve within water or alcohol and can be taken in various methods that include: snorting, orally, smoking, or through needle injections. Methamphetamine is a drug that might be commonly referred to crystal, meth or bump. It is a central nervous system stimulant that is very similar to the drug amphetamine.
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Methamphetamine has a high potential for abuse, and it is classified as a Schedule II type of drug and can only be available through prescription without refills. The methamphetamine that is abused usually comes from super labs or illegal laboratories, and not over the counter. Having one of these labs can potentially harm the maker, the environment, and everyone around the area.
Methamphetamine can increase the release and even block the reuptake of the brain chemical dopamine. This leads to higher levels of dopamine in the brain which is common for drug abusers. Dopamine is responsible for reward, experience of pleasure, motivation and motor function. Since methamphetamine has the ability to release dopamine quickly in the brain, the reward sections of the brain experience an intense euphoria or a rush once the drug has been smoked, snorted, or injected into the body.
Using methamphetamine for a long period of time can significantly change how the brain is able to function. These functions can include reduced motor skills and impaired verbal learning. In other studies conducted, it also shows that chronic methamphetamine abusers have severe structural and even functional changes in the brain; in the memory and emotion areas. This is why many of the abusers of the drug have problems with emotional and cognitive situations.
Using methamphetamine for an extended period of time also leads to methamphetamine abuse and potentially a full blown addiction. It is a disease that can be characterized by the compulsive need to seek out and use the drug. This feeling or need can continue even after the drug abuse has stopped. Even if a person takes a small amount of methamphetamine, the result may still be the same.
Symptoms of Methamphetamine Abuse
- Being awake most of the time
- Rapid heart rate
- Decreased appetite
- Increased physical activity
- Increased respiration
- Increased blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat and even hypothermia
Using this drug for an extended period of time can have serious health consequences such as severe dental problems, insomnia, extreme weight loss, anxiety, mood disturbances, confusion, and extremely violent behavior. Hallucinations and paranoia are also common in long term meth abusers.
There is also the risk of transmission of hepatitis B and C and HIV. The drug is able to alter judgment and can lead to unsafe behavior between people when they are not able to think clearly due to the drug. This includes sexual behavior that is risky. Not only is sexual intercourse a way to contract these diseases, but they can also be contracted through the use of the sharing needles, syringes, and other equipment that may have blood on it.
Using methamphetamine can also worsen the effects of HIV within the person. Methamphetamine abuse should be noted and education materials should be handed out to those in schools and other recreational functions. This provides the knowledge to individuals and the youth on the effects the drug has on users.
Methamphetamine abuse can cause some very serious repercussions and help should be sought if it has turned into abuse or addiction. There are severe health problems that can come out as a result of meth abuse and fatalities are not out of the question.