What is meth?

Highly addictive, crystal meth is an illegal drug that produces a sense of euphoria in the drug user’s mind and body. Similar to cocaine, meth increases the amount of dopamine in your brain, which is in part why it can be so addictive. Dopamine contributes to our motor function, reward systems, and overall motivation.

Meth is made in illegal labs — from Mexican super labs to homegrown labs in the U.S. — that mix over-the-counter drugs with various harmful substances. One of these substances is pseudoephedrine, a cold medicine ingredient that can help reduce congestion. For those that become addicted to meth, the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that users can experience speech problems, as well as impaired motor skills.

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What does meth look like?

Occasionally sold as large rock-like chunks, crystal meth is a powdery, crystallized substance that sometimes has shards that resemble glass. Sometimes the rocks are a blue and white color, while other times it may be clear.


How is meth taken?

There are a variety of ways people consume meth. To start, people can smoke it using pipes. Meth can also be snorted. Other ways to ingest meth include injecting it and swallowing it.

Why do people use meth?

Many young adults take meth at dance clubs and parties. It is a preferred drug of many as its effects can last for up to 12 hours, which is longer than cocaine. For some people, meth use can lead to rapid weight loss. However, this weight usually returns once the drug is no longer used. Depressed people may also use meth for its euphoric effects. While they are only temporary, the dopamine surge can easily become a highly addictive antidepressant. Other reasons people may use meth include its ability to increase your sex drive, as well as the pleasure associated with sexual acts.



  • Chicken flipping
  • Speed
  • Crank
  • Hot rolling
  • Rocket fuel
  • Getting fried
  • Tweaking
  • Cotton candy

History of Meth

The original form of meth was first made by a Japanese chemist in 1893. Crystallized meth was later made in 1919 by combining iodine with red phosphorous. In the late 1800s, the drug was used as a treatment for things like asthma and narcolepsy. What many people don’t know about meth is that it was originally created to be an alternative to the ephedra plant, which is a type of shrub. For more than 5,000 years, the shrub’s extract was used in Chinese medicine. However, once a Japanese chemist discovered its active ingredient — a stimulant called ephedrine — the road to creating more accessible alternatives began.

During World War II, meth was used as an alternative to caffeine. Nazi leaders often distributed the drug in a tablet called Pervitin. This over-the-counter medication was often marketed as an antidepressant that also helped improve alertness. Once the war was over, use continued and even increased dramatically. In the 1960s, meth became available as an injectable.

What are the Symptoms of Meth Addiction?

Because meth affects both a user’s mind and body, symptoms of addiction are wide-ranging. To start, a person may suddenly lose interest in things they used to enjoy. This can include any pastimes, relationships, and career aspirations. While a meth user may initially try to hide their addiction, before long, its effects will be so prominent that it will be hard to keep the drug a secret. What may begin as a recreational activity can quickly become a meth user’s number one priority.


Signs and Symptoms

  • Hyperactivity
  • Skin sores
  • Rotting teeth
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Dilated pupils
  • Mood swings
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Agitation


  • Glass pipes
  • Needles
  • Burnt spoons
  • Broken light bulbs
  • Burnt aluminum foil
  • Razor blades
  • Mirrors
  • Tie-offs

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What are the Effects of
Meth Addiction?

Meth addiction can affect you in a short period of time. Your body may start to depend on it after you start. At first, you or your loved one may start to experience withdrawal symptoms when you’ve stopped taking meth, as soon as a few hours after your last dose. Below are the symptoms you may have when you continue to take meth excessively.

Short Term Effects of Meth Addiction

  • Hyperactivity
  • Feeling talkative
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling like there is no need to sleep
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Appetite suppression
  • Confusion
  • Irritability

Long Term Effects of Meth Addiction

  • Frustration
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Psychosis
  • Chronic liver damage
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart failure

Meth Addiction Statistics


of Americans aged 12 and older tried meth at least once in 2015.

1.6 million

people in the U.S. reported using meth in 2017.

$550 million

is how much meth costs the U.S. in treatment annually.

How is Meth Addiction Treated?

Meth addiction can be treated in rehabilitation facilities, such as Gratitude Lodge, that offer meth detox programs. It’s a safe, professionally staffed place where you’ll naturally get rid of the rest of the meth in your body, and you’ll be given medication to help withdrawal symptoms that may occur. After the physical addiction has gone away, mental addiction, which takes longer to treat, will be the next focus.

There are programs in rehab such as group therapy, individual counseling, and a 12-step program to help the mental addiction of meth. Meth addiction has to be treated in a medical environment because serious and fatal side effects could accompany withdrawal symptoms when there is a long term addiction.


Common Drug Combinations with Meth?

Meth is commonly paired with alcohol, which is a depressant. It’s also used with Xanax, a sedative and addictive benzo (benzodiazepine) that gets rid of anxiety that comes with using meth. Other drugs such as opioid painkillers or morphine are commonly mixed because it creates a greater high than each drug on their own. These should not be mixed because the mixture could end in a fatal overdose.

  • Alcohol
  • Xanax
  • Benzos
  • Opioids
  • Morphine
  • Suboxone
  • Ecstacy
  • Viagra
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