Table of Contents
I. Getting Help
Guide to Methamphetamine and Crystal Meth Addiction

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. The Basics of Methamphetamine

Primary Dangers of Methamphetamine Use

  • Addictiveness: Methamphetamine is classified as a highly addictive stimulant.
  • Increased risk of disease: Because of needle and syringe sharing, as well as an increase in risky behavior, meth abusers are more likely to contract HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
  • Mental issues: Meth abuse can lead to a wide array of mental issues, ranging from sleep problems to crippling paranoia.
  • Risk of overdose: The CDC found that methamphetamine is fifth most prevalent drug in fatal overdoses in the United States in 2016.
  • Long-term bodily effects: Prolonged abuse can wreak havoc on the body, bringing on heart problems, severe dental issues, and excessive weight loss.
  • Legal risk: The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies methamphetamine as a Schedule II stimulant under the Controlled Substances Act, which means that any usage of meth is subject to felony charges at the state and federal level.

Key Facts about Methamphetamine

  • It has several street names. The most common alternative names for powder or pill form methamphetamine are meth, chalk, speed, and Tina. Crystal meth can also be known as ice, crank, fire, go fast, and glass.
  • Methamphetamine is manufactured. Meth is a chemical compound that is manufactured in “superlabs” mainly in Mexico and Southeast Asia but can be made in small, clandestine labs anywhere. Its production includes toxic chemicals like acetone and anhydrous ammonia (a fertilizer).
  • It can be smoked, snorted, swallowed, or injected. Standard methamphetamine typically comes in the form of powder or a pill and can be snorted, swallowed, or injected in this form. Crystal meth, which takes the form of large “crystals” is most commonly smoked with a glass pipe. Smoking and injecting methamphetamine deliver the quickest and most intense high.
  • The rush from methamphetamine and crystal meth is strong but short-lived. Meth, specifically when smoked or injected, delivers a strong and euphoric “rush” sensation that both comes and goes quickly, lasting anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes and is followed by a 6-12 hour high. To avoid the crash, users often take repeated doses in a “binge and crash” pattern that can extend over several days with no sleep.

II. Statistics on Methamphetamine Use

Global Use

According to the United Nations World Drug Report, the amount of methamphetamine seized worldwide has nearly quadrupled from 2009 to 2014, spiking in 2012, with the sharpest increase in East and South-East Asia. Though the number has increased overall since 2009, the spread and growth of methamphetamine use has slowed down from 2012-2014 compared to 2009-2014.

In the United States

Nearly 12 million people have used methamphetamine without prescription

According to the DEA and 2011 NSDUH survey, 11.9 million people in the United States (roughly 4%) reported nonmedical methamphetamine use at least once in their lifetime. According to the same survey, there were 133,000 people aged 12 and older that used meth for the first time that year.

The U.N.’s report shows that methamphetamine is third amongst drugs most commonly tied to unemployment in the United States behind heroin and crack, with 25% of past-month users being unemployed.

Meth use in the United States has dropped since the mid-2000’s

According to a RAND study conducted in 2014 to detail America’s drug use from 2000-2010, methamphetamine estimates are “subject to greatest uncertainty” because of several legal changes that occurred during the decade, as well as gaps in data collection from 2004-2006 when meth use was believed to be at its peak. The best estimate from the study is that the number of chronic methamphetamine users increased from 0.9 million in 2000 to 1.6 million in 2010, with a sharp peak from 2005-2006 with 2.6 million chronic users. According to a SAMHSA study that number decreased to 1.6 million nonmedical stimulant users in 2014.

Most of the methamphetamine in the United States comes from outside sources.

Mexican superlabs are the main providers of meth to US users, and Southeast Asia is a lesser sources as well. Smaller labs were a growing problem in the US, particularly in the southwest, but precursor laws (such as restrictions on pseudoephedrine) have reduced the number of lab seizures in the United States from over 10,000 in 2003 to around 6,000 in 2010 according to the RAND study.