Methamphetamine is a drug contained in prescription medications to treat disorders like narcolepsy and ADHD. In the past it was also used as a nasal decongestant and bronchial inhaler. Because it can be easily manufactured using over-the-counter ingredients, abuse of methamphetamine is a widespread problem.
Also known as speed, ice, meth, and crystal, methamphetamine is a long-lasting stimulant. It stimulates the brain to produce high levels of dopamine, which are responsible for giving one a feeling of reward, pleasure, and movement. Meth gives users a burst of energy that is sustained for several hours.
Methamphetamine can be taken into the body in a variety of ways. The most popular method is smoking because this has the quickest effect on the brain. A meth user initially experiences euphoria within just a few minutes of inhalation. It lasts a short time, though, and gives way to a prolonged period of increased wakefulness and physical activity. This can have a negative effect on the cardiovascular system and people using the drug see an irregular, rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure. An overdose of meth can result in hyperthermia, convulsions, and even death.
One major problem with methamphetamine is that the effects of the drug wear off before it is actually metabolized out of the body. While cocaine is 50% out of the body after only one hour, meth is only 50% out of the body after 12 hours. This increases the risk of an overdose because people under its influence may administer another dose of the drug before the first dose has left their body.
Methamphetamine is becoming a drug of choice at a rapid pace and every state in the U.S. is reporting a severe problem with it. It is highly addictive and quitting is very difficult once a dependence is formed.