Crystal Meth is a highly addictive amphetamine or stimulant that has gained popularity in recent years. Knowing its effects and risks is an important way to keep your teen safe. Here are six things you may not know about the street drug, crystal meth.
1. What it looks like
Crystal meth comes in clear, chunky crystals or in a fine powder. It is either consumed orally, snorted, smoked, or dissolved into a liquid then injected. Smoking or injecting the drug is the fastest way for it to reach the brain and take effect.
Image Michael Allen Smith
2. What it does
Crystal meth affects dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain, making the user feel happy or euphoric. It also affects norepinephrine, leading to an increased sense of alertness or wakefulness. Finally, serotonin levels are also affected, leading to a change in the user’s mood and sometimes causing irritability.
3. Its short term side effects
Crystal meth can have negative short term side effects such as:
- Mood swings
- Lack of appetite
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
- Hallucinations or delusions
4. Its long term side effects
Some negative side effects of prolonged crystal meth use include:
- “Meth mouth” or dental problems such as tooth and gum decay
- Skin sores
- Kidney damage
- HIV/AIDS from unsafe injection
5. Why it’s dangerous
One reason why crystal meth is particularly dangerous is because the chemical compound can often be laced with other, unknown substances. It can be made fairly inexpensively in illegal labs with over the counter ingredients and hazardous chemicals such as paint thinner.
6. Its names on the street
Some common names on the street for crystal meth include:
If someone you know is using crystal meth, help them seek support. If you suspect someone has overdosed on crystal meth, call 911 immediately.
Feature image Sally Crossthwaite