Preventing Methamphetamine Use

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine ("Meth") is an illegal stimulant that is extremely addictive and dangerous.  Meth use is a serious problem across the nation, as well as locally. Deaths associated with Meth use are climbing at an alarming rate. Overdose deaths involving meth more than quadrupled from 2011 to 2017 in the United States.  In Oklahoma, meth-related deaths increased from 341 deaths reported in 2018 to 523 deaths reported in 2019.  That is an increase of 53.4%.*

 

Meth can be smoked, snorted, injected, or consumed and can come in various ways: white, odorless powder, clear, chunky crystal, compressed pill, and yellow, pink, orange, or brown rock. The ingredients used to produce meth are toxic, corrosive, and ignitable. Some of the ingredients used to create meth are also used in batteries, nail polish remover, paint thinner, and drain cleaner. 

Meth has many names. Below are a few you may or may not have heard of: 

  • Speed

  • Crystal

  • Ice

  • Crank

  • Quartz

  • Rocket Fuel

How Does Meth Affect Your Brain and Body?

Meth causes your brain to release dopamine which produces a feeling of pleasure. Using meth causes changes in your brain circuits that control your ability to make decisions, reward, stress, and limit your impulse control. These changes make it incredibly difficult to stop using meth even when it is negatively impacting your brain, body, and life.

Short Term Effects

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature

  • Risk of stroke

  • Decreased appetite

  • Irregular heartbeat 

Long-Term Effects

  • Weight loss

  • Violent behavior

  • Hallucinations

  • Anxiety

  • Paranoia

  • Severe dental issues

  • Skin sores due to intense itching and scratching

Other Health Concerns

  • Using Meth can lead to an overdose.

  • High doses of meth can cause your body's temperature to rise to dangerous levels, which can result in multiple organ problems, like stroke, heart attack, and can lead to death

  • Risk of infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis due to sharing needles

  • Heart and brain complications

  • Pregnancy and pregnancy-related issues such as premature delivery, low birth weight, and miscarriage 

  • When Meth is combined with alcohol, it is able to hide the depressant effect of alcohol therefore increasing risk of alcohol poisoning and driving intoxicated.

  • Withdrawal from meth can cause anxiety, depression, and extreme fatigue

Signs of Meth Use

It is important to know the signs of meth use. Be on the lookout for: 

  • Inability to sleep or unusual sleep patterns

  • Aggressive behavior or mood swings

  • Unusual behavior such as irritability, confusion, paranoia, and hallucinations

  • New nervous, obsessive behaviors such as scratching or fidgeting

  • Physical changes in the body such as deteriorating skin and/or teeth, sores, and extreme weight loss

  • Presence of paraphernalia such as burnt spoons, surgical tubing, syringes

What Treatment Options Are Available?

There are currently no FDA-approved medications to treat Meth addiction; however, behavioral therapy could help someone stop using Meth and recover. Some of the behavioral therapy methods used include cognitive-behavioral therapy, 12-step facilitation therapy, and the Matrix Model. 

Where Can I Get Help?

If you have a friend or family member using meth, encourage them to stop and seek help. 

For free and confidential information and treatment referrals (available in English and Spanish), call SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357) or visit the SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator at findtreatment.samhsa.gov 

To find a local treatment facility, visit https://oklahoma.gov/odmhsas/treatment.html

Content on this page was provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse - drugabuse.gov

* Source - Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics 2020 Oklahoma Drug Threat Assessment