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Anthrax-Killing Foam Proves Effective in Meth Lab Cleanup, Study Suggests

Posted by Sun on March 9, 2012

ScienceDaily (Feb. 16, 2012) — Sandia’s decontamination foam, developed more than a decade ago and used to decontaminate federal office buildings and mailrooms during the 2001 anthrax attacks, is now being used to decontaminate illegal methamphetamine labs.

Mark Tucker, a chemical engineer in Sandia’s Chemical & Biological Systems Dept. and co-creator of the original decontamination foam, said it renders all types of typical chemical and biological agents harmless.

“For structures contaminated with meth, owners have two choices: demolish it or reclaim it,” said Kevin Irvine, vice president and general manager at EFT Holdings, which licenses the Sandia formulation and sells it under two names, EasyDecon ® DF200, certified against chemical and biological agents, and Crystal Clean, intended for meth cleanup.

The meth cleanup problem is a big one. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Clandestine Meth Lab registry lists thousands of locations in the U.S. where law enforcement agencies have found chemicals or paraphernalia indicating the presence of either clandestine drug laboratories or dumpsites.

In 2007, EFT released Crystal Clean, a chemically identical formula to EasyDecon DF200, but packaged and marketed specifically for meth cleanup. Sites contaminated with meth are considered crime scenes, but the contamination is chemical rather than biological.

The approximately 700 remediation companies that clean up meth lab contamination also do other types of crime scene cleanup because they are accustomed to the sampling and documentation process.

Holding the bag

“Property owners are often liable for expensive cleanup costs since most insurance companies won’t pay for cleanup related to methamphetamine, viewing damage resulting from meth labs as arising from a criminal act,” Irvine said. “That means that property owners and landlords are often left holding the bag for the cost of remediating a residence or business contaminated as a result of meth cooking.”

According to the Department of Justice, the chemicals used to cook meth and the byproducts from its manufacture, produce toxic fumes, vapors and residues. The report said anyone exposed to these byproducts, especially children, could suffer short- and long-term health problems. Prolonged exposure to meth byproducts may cause cancer; damage the brain, liver, kidney, spleen and immunologic system; and result in birth defects.

Tucker said many cleaning methods don’t remove methamphetamine and the chemicals used to produce it. Incompletely or improperly cleaned surfaces, such as floors, countertops and drywall, can remain contaminated for months or even years, even after many cleanups.

Sandia’s decontamination formulation includes a collection of mild, nontoxic and noncorrosive chemicals found in common household products, such as hair conditioner and toothpaste. It contains both surfactants, which lift agents off a surface, and mild oxidizers, which break down the agent’s molecules into nontoxic pieces that can be washed down a household drain like detergent or dish soap.

Formulation left meth nondetectable

In experiments from a few years ago, John Martyny, associate professor and industrial hygienist at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center’s Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and a national expert on the effects of meth exposure on children, compared the effectiveness of common cleaners, such as detergent and bleach, on methamphetamine cleanup. Martyny included Sandia’s decontamination formula in the testing. His experiments showed that, after cleaning with EasyDecon, the methamphetamine present on tested surfaces was likely oxidized to another compound and was nondetectable.

Irvine said even if a meth site is known, it doesn’t always mean it gets cleaned up, due to the expense. Some states don’t have cleanup guidelines and don’t require homeowners to disclose whether a structure is contaminated with meth. Some families have discovered they were living in a house contaminated with meth only after family members were hospitalized for respiratory problems characteristic of chronic meth exposure.

In the 22 states that have guidelines, structures contaminated with meth are seized by police and the structure is quarantined by a local or state agency (depending on the state) until the structure is proven cleared of methamphetamine to a certain level. During structure remediation with Crystal Clean, a remediation crew removes everything from the structure, including carpets and drapes, until the house is stripped bare except for the fixtures.

The crew mixes the Crystal Clean solution on site and sprays the foam on walls, ceilings and floors. The foam expands to about 15 times its liquid volume through a special nozzle that draws air into the spray, allowing it to reach contamination in crevices and in the air. In an hour, it collapses back to a liquid. Using only fresh water, rags and sponges, the crew then removes the benign residue from all surfaces.

After the site is cleaned, an independent industrial hygienist tapes off a sample area in the cleaned structure and takes a number of swipe samples appropriate for the location size. The samples are treated as evidence, a formal chain of custody is established and they are taken to an independent lab. The lab runs the samples through a mass spectrometer to determine the level of contamination.

Foam deployed as a preventive measure

In most instances, Crystal Clean reduces the levels to .02 μg/100 square cm (microgram/sq. cm) or less, which is considered nondetectable.

Irvine said the Crystal Clean formula is more expensive than other cleaners, but it saves greatly on labor costs and lab costs because other cleaning solutions usually require more than one cleaning, with a larger crew doing the cleaning and with costly sampling taking place in between cleanings.

Another advantage of this cleanup method, Irvine said, is that some other methods are destructive or use more corrosive substances and the resulting chemical residues are themselves toxic. Crystal Clean is rendered nonhazardous and nontoxic, requiring only a surface wipe when finished.

Sandia’s decontamination formula was developed with funding provided by the DOE and NNSA Chemical and Biological National Security Program (CBNP).



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Meth takes heavy toll on users

Posted by Sun on March 5, 2012

By Shaun Hittle

March 5, 2012

By the time a methamphetamine addict gets to Stacey Hauck, there isn’t much left.

“We call it hitting bottom,” said Hauck, clinical director of addiction services for the Community Mental Health Center of Crawford County. “There’s nothing left, and no one left.”

Reaching that low is usually the only way back.

“People have to lose everything,” said Hauck, who helps oversee a 24-bed inpatient treatment center in Girard — the only one in southeast Kansas — as well as outpatient treatment in the county. The Girard facility is “always full,” and the waiting list for those seeking help is about four weeks.

As much as anyone, Hauck has witnessed the progression of meth use, and growth, in the region over the past couple of decades.

She was around when meth was made in large labs and imported from Texas. Today, she sees the ease with which the drug can be made using the “one-pot” method that law enforcement reports seeing the last few years.

“It’s so accessible,” she said.

And she knows firsthand the desperate state of those addicted to the drug.

On June 4, Hauck will celebrate 24 years of sobriety from the drug that stripped her down to nothing.

“I know what they’re talking about,” she said.

When Hauck discusses treatment of meth addicts in southeast Kansas, the success stories such as hers are sprinkled among the challenges the treatment community faces battling the addictive drug.

In addition to the waiting list for the inpatient center, patients are guaranteed only 14 days of treatment and get 28 at max. That’s a change from a decade ago, she said.

“Times are shorter and shorter and shorter,” Hauck said. And the need is increasing.

Along with a recent increase in meth lab incidents in Kansas, treatment providers are beginning to see a rise in meth treatment admissions. Numbers for the state, which just include state-run facilities, peaked in 2005 and 2006 with 1,997 admissions each year. Those numbers dropped to 1,706 in 2010 but jumped again in 2011, with 1,971 reported to the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

When someone has bottomed out and realized the need for such treatment, their life is a wreck; family ties have been cut and resources have been spent, Hauck said.

“Many times people end up homeless” even after treatment, Hauck said, detailing the struggles for recovering addicts in getting jobs, securing housing and staying out of the environment they came from.

“Everything you’ve got to change, is everything,” she said.

‘Cook meth, go to prison’

In a nondescript office building in Pittsburg, the largest city in Crawford County, which led the state in 2011 with 40 meth lab incidents, Steve Wilhoft, assistant attorney general for the Southeast Drug Enforcement Task Force, spends his days sending meth manufacturers to prison.

Middle-aged with thick-framed glasses and suspenders, he wouldn’t pass as a hardliner to seasoned criminals. But ask around about Wilhoft, who prosecutes large drug cases in a six-county region in southeast Kansas, and people will tell you he’s all business.

In the building’s lobby, a law enforcement officer tells a story about Wilhoft. The officer was working a case and made an arrest. He approached Wilhoft for the first time and asked what he thought the plea bargain would be. Wilhoft was surprised. There wouldn’t be a plea bargain in this case, or any others, the officer was told.

“If you cook meth, you go to prison,” Wilhoft said. “There’s no way around it.”

Meth manufacturing is a level-one drug severity crime in Kansas, and without any prior convictions, Wilhoft says a conviction will net about seven years.

In Wilhoft’s eyes, that’s seven years that a meth producer, who is also often a user, will be free of the drug and unable to feed anyone else’s addiction. It’s the one thing he’s able to do to limit the production of the drug in the region.

“For every meth cook we take off the streets, we’re saving lives,” said Wilhoft, who spent seven years as the county attorney in neighboring Labette County, where he saw the larger labs and now, one-pot labs. “We’re plugging the hole in the dam to keep that tide from getting loose and hurting others.”

Wilhoft keeps a couple of binders with pictures from the cases he’s worked, which display the equipment drug makers use: iodine-stained tubing, two-liter jugs, empty pseudoephedrine packages, glass pipes in various shapes and sizes.

Another binder shows the devastating fires that result from one-pot meth labs gone wrong and homes in disarray.

In the last page of the binder, Wilhoft shows a photo from a meth lab seizure where authorities had to remove several children from the home.

The photo is a close-up of a loaded handgun, sitting on a table, surrounding by toys.

“This is the most powerful picture I’ve ever seen,” he said.


Ask law enforcement in southeast Kansas what can be done to curb meth manufacturing and use, and the discussion starts with an insistence that pseudoephedrine become a prescription-only drug.

“What are we losing?” asked Parsons Deputy Police Chief Scott Gofourth, who helped enact a prescription-only policy in the city of Parsons in 2011.

While sales of pseudoephedrine, found in products such as Claritin, Mucinex and Sudafed, account for more than $600 million nationally, they account for less than $300,000 per year in sales in Kansas, according to a 2012 legislative report from the Kansas State Board of Pharmacy.

A law requiring a prescription for products containing pseudoephedrine was proposed during the 2011 Kansas legislative session but didn’t make it out of committee. The bill was carried over to the most recent legislative session, but the bill didn’t receive a hearing.

Drug companies oppose such laws, citing a loss in revenue, and some health care groups say the move will drive up the cost of health care, as patients will be required to fund the bill for another office visit.

Pharmacist reaction is mixed, said Mike Larkin, executive director of the Kansas Pharmacists Association. Resistance stems from concerns about limiting access for legitimate patient needs, such as allergy sufferers, as well as an increase in record-keeping.

But it’s not about the money.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with the lucrative nature if it,” said Larkin, as actual pharmacies see little in terms of profits from pseudoephedrine-based products.

But any resistance to such a law baffles those on the ground, steeped in the battle against meth in southeast Kansas.

“They need to wake up,” said Manish Dixit, a pediatrician in Parsons who sees meth-addicted parents and children with severe birth defects as a result of meth use. He advocates a nationwide prescription-only law for pseudoephedrine. For him, it’s as simple as cutting off the source.

Loretta Severin, drug strategy coordinator for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, estimates such a law is at least couple of years away in Kansas. But the state can look to Oregon, which along with Mississippi, is one of only two states in the country to pass such a law.

Oregon, which passed its law in 2006, reported 192 methamphetamine lab incidents in 2005. In 2011, Oregon reported nine.

Kansas and many other states do restrict access to pseudoephedrine, requiring medicines that contain it, such as Sudafed, to be kept behind pharmacy counters. Purchasers must show identification, and there is a limit to how much they can purchase at a time.

Meanwhile, police, treatment providers and others engaged in the battle against meth in southeast Kansas say the problem will get worse and spread across the state.

“I can’t imagine that it won’t,” said Hauck, addiction treatment provider.

Hauck is concerned this little slice of Kansas is being forgotten.

What will it take to stem the tide of declining resources and ramp up policies designed to cut meth use?

“Come down here and take a look at it,” Hauck said.


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Recent Methamphetamine Use Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men Associated With Increased Risk of Sexual Practices That May Expose Them to HIV

Posted by Sun on August 2, 2011

ScienceDaily (Aug. 1, 2011) — Adolescent boys and young men who have sex with men and use methamphetamines appear to be at an increased risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) exposure, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Among adult men who have sex with men (MSM), methamphetamine use has an estimated prevalence of 43 percent and an association with HIV risk and infection. “Research focuses on older MSM, and little is known about methamphetamine use and sexual behavior among younger MSM (YMSM),” write the authors. They add that the most recent data in this population date back more than 15 years: “Behavior, mortality, and treatment have changed dramatically in 15 years.”

Peter Freeman, M.P.H., from Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional observational analysis of data from the Adolescent Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions. Between January 2005 and August 2006, a total of 595 adolescent boys and young men ages 12 years to 24 years — all of whom reported having sex with men — were recruited from social venues in eight U.S. cities. The study participants completed a survey that included questions about methamphetamine use, other hard drug use and sexual risk behavior.

Of the 595 participants, 64 reported they had used methamphetamines in the last 90 days. The YMSM in this group were more likely than those who had not used hard drugs to have a history of sexually transmitted diseases (51.6 percent vs. 21.1 percent), two or more sex partners in the past 90 days (85.7 percent vs. 63.1 percent), sex with an injection drug user ([IDU]; 51.6 percent vs. 10.7 percent) and sex with someone who has HIV (32.8 percent vs. 11.1 percent). These participants were also less likely to use condoms during every sexual encounter (33.3 percent vs. 54.3 percent). Recent methamphetamine use was associated with a lower likelihood of current school attendance and a history of homelessness, compared with YMSM who reported no recent hard drug use.

“Adolescent boys and young men who have sex with men and use methamphetamine seem to be at high risk for human immunodeficiency virus,” conclude the authors. “The findings of our study suggest that there is a need to develop substance abuse prevention and treatment programs as part of HIV prevention for YMSM.” They add, “To be most effective among YMSM who use methamphetamine, prevention programs should address issues such as housing, polydrug use, and educational needs. … Prevention efforts targeting YMSM who use methamphetamine should also ensure that partner selection is addressed, as they showed higher rates of having sex with IDUs and individuals with HIV.”

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Toxicity, Methamphetamine

Posted by Sun on July 31, 2011


Over the past 25 years, methamphetamine use has increased rapidly throughout the world. In the United States, all regions have experienced a significant increase in the number of persons using the drug as well as medical complications seen in emergency departments (EDs).[1]Methamphetamine and related compounds can produce euphoria and stimulant effects and share many of the same toxic clinical effects seen with other stimulants such as cocaine. The ease of synthesis from inexpensive and readily obtainable chemicals has led to the widespread and rampant abuse of this dangerous drug.

The euphoria produced by methamphetamine is similar to that produced by cocaine. Methamphetamine may be taken orally, intravenously, snorted, or smoked. Patients who inhale the smokable form of methamphetamine (ie, ice) experience an immediate euphoria similar to that of crack cocaine, but the effects may last much longer.[2, 3, 4] North American methamphetamine abusers are predominantly Caucasian males in their 30s and 40s.[5, 6]Recently, epidemic abuse has been described in adolescents; they cite availability, low cost, and a longer duration of action than cocaine as reasons for their drug preference.[7]

The medical history of amphetamine-like compounds extends back nearly 100 years.[4] A Japanese pharmacologist first synthesized methamphetamine in 1919. A more detailed analysis of the pharmacology of amphetamine derived from the basic phenylethylamine structure was reported in 1930. In the 1930s, amphetamine was introduced in the form of inhalers for rhinitis and asthma treatment. The stimulant, euphoric, and anorectic effects of amphetamine were quickly recognized, leading to its abuse. In 1937, a report that amphetamine enhanced intellectual performance and wakefulness further contributed to its popularity. Amphetamines were used extensively by Allied and Axis armed forces during World War II and during Operation Desert Storm to increase wakefulness and attention.[8, 3]

In the late 1950s, initial federal controls were enacted; however, in spite of additional regulation and increased enforcement, amphetamines continued to be used by students, athletes, shift workers, long haul drivers, and for weight loss.[4] The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 stringently regulated the manufacture of amphetamine. Despite attempts to decrease production, illicit methamphetamine use continues to increase.


Amphetamines stimulate the central nervous system (CNS), which results in several clinical effects such as inducing euphoria, intensifying emotions, altering self-esteem, and increasing alertness, aggression, and sexual appetite.[3, 10] In the CNS, presynaptic reuptake of catecholamines (ie, dopamine, norepinephrine) is blocked, causing hyperstimulation at selected postsynaptic neuron receptors. Indirect sympathomimetic effects of amphetamines are also caused by blocking presynaptic vesicular storage and by reducing cytoplasmic destruction of catecholamines by inhibiting mitochondrial monoamine oxidase.[11, 12]

Indirectly, these hyperstimulated neurons can stimulate various other noncatecholaminergic central and peripheral nervous pathways. Changes in mood, excitation, motor movements, sensory perception, and appetite appear to be mediated more directly by CNS dopaminergic alterations. It has been postulated that serotonin alterations also contribute to mood changes, psychotic behavior, and aggressiveness.

In humans, the half-life of methamphetamine ranges from 10-20 hours, depending on the urine pH, history of recent use, and dosage.[11] Metabolism occurs faster in acidic urine. Methamphetamine has greater CNS effects compared with D-amphetamine of equal milligram quantity. Methamphetamine has more effective absorption into critical behavior-controlling neurons in the CNS and has a prolonged half-life. The majority of methamphetamine is metabolized to amphetamine, which provides further CNS stimulation. Methamphetamine is absorbed readily from the gut, airway, nasopharynx, muscle, placenta, and vagina.[13, 14] Peak plasma levels are observed approximately 30 minutes after intravenous or intramuscular routes and 2-3 hours after ingestion.[12] Rapid tissue redistribution occurs with steady-state cerebrospinal fluid levels at 80% of plasma levels. Hepatic conjugation pathways with glucuronide and glycine addition result in inactivation and urine excretion of metabolites.

When methamphetamine is used with ethanol, increased psychological and cardiac effects are observed.[15] This is presumed to be the result of pharmacodynamic rather than pharmacokinetic interactions. Similarly, the increased toxicity of concomitant opioids and amphetamines (ie, speedballing), appear to result from pharmacodynamic interactions. The euphoric effects produced by methamphetamine, cocaine, and various designer amphetamines are similar and may be difficult to clinically differentiate.[4] A distinguishing clinical feature is the longer pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic half-life of methamphetamine, which may be as much as 10 times longer than cocaine. Because of the variability in quality and concentration of illicitly purchased methamphetamines, the clinical observation of toxic effects is more relevant than estimated total ingested dose.[16] 



United States

Methamphetamine use is widespread, predominantly in Midwest, Southwest, Northwest, and Western States.[9]


Methamphetamine use is widespread, predominantly in North America, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia.[17]


Acute methamphetamine overdose may result in sympathetic overdrive, cardiovascular collapse, rhabdomyolysis, ventricular tachyarrhythmia, and death. Injuries from blunt and penetrating trauma are common.[18, 19]

Chronic methamphetamine use may result in atherosclerosis, hypertension,myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, soft tissue infection, periodontal disease, sepsis, changes in cognitive CNS function, andpersonality disorders.


In North America, methamphetamine use is predominantly by Caucasians.[9, 5, 6]


Males are more likely to abuse methamphetamine than females.[9, 5, 6]


Peak methamphetamine use is observed in the 20- to 40-year-old range.[9, 5]


Signs and symptoms of methamphetamine use:

  • Cardiovascular:[20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25]

    • Chest pain, aortic dissection, myocardial ischemia/infarction
    • Palpitations, tachyarrhythmia
    • Dyspnea and edema
    • Hypertension
  • Central nervous system:[26, 27, 28]

    • Agitation, violent behavior, self-harm
    • Coma
    • New-onset seizure
    • Emotional lability, confusion, psychosis, paranoia, hypersexuality, and hallucinations
    • Headache
  • Respiratory:[29, 30, 31]

    • Dyspnea
    • Wheezing
    • Pneumothorax
  • Skin:[32]

    • Delusional parasitosis
    • Abscess, cellulitis
  • Gastrointestinal:[13, 33]

    • Abdominal pain
    • Obstruction
  • Dental: Caries, peridental abscess[34, 35] 


    • Cardiovascular:

      • Tachycardia and hypertension is frequently observed.[36]
      • Atrial and ventricular arrhythmias may occur.[36]
      • Chest pain from cardiac ischemia and infarction following methamphetamine use has been reported. Patients are at risk because of accelerated atherosclerosis from chronic use. Acute aortic dissection or aneurysm has been associated with methamphetamine abuse.[24, 21]
      • Hypotension may be observed with methamphetamine overdose with profound depletion of catecholamines.[37]
      • Acute and chronic cardiomyopathy results directly from methamphetamine cardiac toxicity and indirectly from chronic hypertension and ischemia. Intravenous use may result inendocarditis. Patients may present with dyspnea, edema, and other signs of acute congestive heart failure (CHF) exacerbation.[38, 22]
    • Central nervous system:

      • New-onset seizures may occur from direct CNS methamphetamine toxicity.[28]
      • Acute and chronic methamphetamine exposure has been associated with a jerking, choreoathetoid movement disorder. These repetitive movements, hyperactivity, and inability to focus thought have been referred to as “tweaking.”[27]
      • Headache and cerebrovascular accidents with focal neurologic deficits may be caused by hemorrhage or vasospasm, cerebral edema, and cerebral vasculitis.[25]
      • Acute psychosis, agitation, violence, and paranoia frequently results from alteration in CNS dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate pathways.[39]
      • Coma may result from depletion of catecholamine stores and/or concomitant ingestion of sedatives such as ethanol or narcotics.[37]
    • Respiratory:

      • Barotrauma, including pneumomediastinum, pneumothorax, and pneumopericardium may result from forceful inhalation.[29]
      • Acute noncardiogenic pulmonary edema and pulmonary hypertension may result from acute and chronic use, as well as from adulterants introduced during intravenous use such as talc or cornstarch.[29, 30, 31]
      • Wheezing from reactive airway disease may be induced by methamphetamine.[29]
    • Gastrointestinal:

      • Hepatocellular damage has been reported with methamphetamine after acute and chronic abuse. Direct effects such as hypotension, hepatotoxic contaminants, hepatic vasoconstriction, lipid peroxidation, occult viral causes, necrotizing angiitis have been postulated.[40]
      • Severe abdominal pain may result from acute mesenteric vasoconstriction. Methamphetamine has also been associated with the formation of ulcers and ischemic colitis.[33]
      • Necrotizing angiitis with arterial aneurysms and sacculations have been observed in the liver, pancreas, and small bowel of methamphetamine drug abusers.[25]
    • Renal:

      • Renal failure associated with amphetamines has been related to hypoxemia, rhabdomyolysis, necrotizing angiitis, acute interstitial nephritis, and cardiovascular shock with subsequent acute tubular necrosis.[41]
    • Skin:

      • Delusions of parasitosis and chronic skin-picking may result in neurotic excoriations and prurigo nodularis (“speed bumps”).[4]
      • Methamphetamine injectors frequently present with abscess and cellulitis, which is frequently blamed on a “spider bite.”[32]
      • Lab workers involved with illicit methamphetamine production may present with extensive thermal and/or chemical burns.[42]
    • Dental:

      • Severe caries, especially of the maxillary teeth, is commonly seen in chronic methamphetamine users (“meth mouth”) and results from maxillary artery vasoconstriction, xerostomia, and poor hygiene.[34, 35]
    • Pregnancy:

      • Methamphetamine use during pregnancy can be fatal to the mother and fetus.[43, 44] Methamphetamine has been shown to cause placental vasoconstriction and interfere with placental monoamine transporters resulting in spontaneous abortion.[45]
      • Methamphetamine is present in the breastmilk of postnatal women abusers. A case of infant death from methamphetamine-toxic breastmilk ingestion has been reported.[46] 


      • Illicit production of methamphetamine[4, 9, 47]

        • Methamphetamine is relatively easy and inexpensive to synthesize, and illicit production occurs in home kitchens, workshops, recreational vehicles, and rural cabins. Instructions for synthesis can be found on the Internet and the precursors are not difficult to obtain.
        • Methamphetamine is a derivative of phenylethylamine. The substances differ structurally in that a methyl group attaches to the terminal nitrogen to form methamphetamine.
        • The federal government and some states have enacted laws decreasing the availability of necessary precursor chemicals such as ephedrine. Many of these agents can still be obtained in other countries.
        • A common method of synthesis begins with ephedrine, which is reduced to methamphetamine using hydriodic acid and red phosphorus.
        • Alternative approaches include using a different acid, a different catalyst, or a substituted ephedrine (eg, chloroephedrine, methylephedrine).
        • The methamphetamine produced by ephedrine reduction is a lipid-soluble pure base form, which is fairly volatile and can evaporate if left exposed to room air temperature. This product is converted to the water-soluble form, methamphetamine hydrochloride (HCl) salt.
        • Illicitly synthesized methamphetamine is frequently contaminated by nonstimulant organic or inorganic impurities. Poisoning from heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, or from carcinogenic solvents used in the synthesis process, has been reported.[48, 49]
        • Street methamphetamine may be mixed with other drugs, including cocaine and phencyclidine.
        • Making ice, the smokable form of methamphetamine, from standard quality methamphetamine HCl is essentially a purification process.

        Laboratory Studies

        • Laboratory studies should be obtained based on the patient’s symptoms. Although hair and saliva analysis may be obtained, most toxicological monitoring or testing is performed with urine and blood samples.
        • Obtain a complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel to assess renal and electrolyte function.
        • Measure creatine kinase (CK) and/or myoglobin levels to exclude rhabdomyolysis. Obtain serial troponin levels if there is concern for myocardial ischemia, and a beta natriuretic peptide (BNP) level if acute congestive heart failure (CHF) is suspected.
        • Obtain a pregnancy test in women of childbearing age.
        • Toxicology screens are useful for patients who cannot or will not disclose drug use history and for pediatric patients with new-onset seizure.

          Imaging Studies

          • Order a chest radiograph for patients with pulmonary symptoms or chest trauma.
          • In patients with altered mental status, perform a head CT scan to exclude intracranial bleeding. Such bleeding may be the result of either methamphetamine-induced hypertension or associated head trauma.
          • Patients who are suspected body-packers should undergo abdominal imaging.

            Other Tests

            • Obtain an ECG for patients with chest pain, altered mental status, and tachycardia.


              • Lumbar puncture may be indicated in patients with altered mental status to rule out meningitis or subarachnoid hemorrhage.

                Prehospital Care

                Patients with acute methamphetamine intoxication may be highly agitated and present a serious safety risk to themselves and prehospital personnel. Seek additional help from police or other EMS providers before the patient is transported, if possible. The patient’s mental function may be sufficiently impaired, precluding the patient from making an informed decision to refuse treatment and transport. Prehospital intravenous access is warranted with or without patient consent, allowing for treatment of seizures and agitation using intravenous sedatives according to medical direction or protocol.

                Emergency Department Care

                Most cases of methamphetamine toxicity can be managed supportively. In the case of a severe overdose, immediate supportive care, including airway control, oxygenation and ventilation support, and appropriate monitoring is required. Specific treatments for heavy metal toxicity caused by contaminants in some methamphetamine preparations may be needed. Animal studies suggest orally ingested amphetamine-like compounds can be decontaminated with oral activated charcoal.[50] In severe overdoses, termination of methamphetamine-induced seizure activity and arrhythmias are of immediate importance. Correction of hypertension, hypotension, hyperthermia, metabolic and electrolyte abnormalities, and control of severe psychiatric agitation are indicated. Consider health maintenance activities, such as testing for viral hepatitis and HIV disease and rehabilitation follow-up.

                • Agitation

                  • Because of the ability of methamphetamine to cause significant CNS and psychiatric activation, patients who present to EDs for acute intoxication often require physical restraint and pharmacologic intervention.
                  • Treat hyperactive or agitated patients with droperidol or haloperidol, butyrophenones which antagonize CNS dopamine receptors and mitigate the excess dopamine produced from methamphetamine toxicity. Multiple human and animal studies attest to the efficacy of droperidol and haloperidol in acute methamphetamine toxicity.[51, 52, 39] However, droperidol has been subject to a Black Box warning by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and, as a result, some institutions restrict its use. The doses of these medications should be titrated to the symptoms and should be administered intravenously (see Medication).
                  • Benzodiazepines enhance GABA neurotransmission and sedation, diminishing methamphetamine-induced behavioral and psychiatric intoxication. This class of drug is also used to terminate methamphetamine-induced seizures.[51, 53]
                  • In a study of 146 patients presenting to the ED agitated, violent, or psychotic from methamphetamine, droperidol produced more rapid and profound sedation than lorazepam. Droperidol and lorazepam produced clinically significant reductions in pulse, systolic blood pressure, respiration rate, and temperature over a 60-minute period.[39]
                  • More recent antipsychotics such as olanzapine and risperidone have been used to treat amphetamine psychosis.[54, 55, 56] A study of 58 patients comparing haloperidol to olanzapine demonstrated both were effective, but olanzapine had fewer adverse side effects such as extrapyramidal symptoms.[54] To date, no large studies in the setting of the ED have been performed.
                  • If physical and chemical restraint is unsuccessful, rapid sequence induction, paralysis, and intubation may be required in extreme cases.
                  • After chemical restraint has been successfully implemented, physical restraints should be loosened or removed altogether.
                • Hypertension and tachycardia

                  • If sedation fails to reduce blood pressure, antihypertensive agents such as beta-blockers and vasodilators, are effective in reversing methamphetamine-induced hypertension.
                  • With regard to choice of beta-blockers, labetalol is preferred because of combined anti–alpha-adrenergic and anti–beta-adrenergic effects. Esmolol is advantageous because of its short half-life but must be administered via IV drip. Metoprolol has excellent CNS penetration characteristics and may also ameliorate agitation. These drugs should be given IV in smaller than usual doses and titrated to effect.
                  • In rare instances, afterload reduction with agents such as hydralazine, nitroprusside, or fenoldopam may be necessary.
                  • Patients with chest pain and suspected ACS should also receive sublingual nitroglycerin if their blood pressure is normal or elevated.
                • Myocardial infarction

                  • The approach to the patient with methamphetamine-induced cardiac ischemia should be no different than standard of care ACS treatment. Nitrates, beta-blockers, aspirin, heparin, and morphine should be administered if indicated. Patients with ST-segment elevation detected on their ECG should be triaged to thrombolytic treatment and/or catheterization with cardiology consultation.
                • Seizures

                  • Treat methamphetamine-induced seizures like other seizures of unknown etiology.
                  • Administer benzodiazepines IV (see Medication).
                  • In those patients who do not have IV access, an agent with IM absorption can be used (eg, lorazepam, midazolam).
                  • After control of the acute episode, longer-acting agents such as phenobarbital, may be necessary.
                  • Patients with methamphetamine-induced seizures are at high risk for intracranial hemorrhage and should undergo CT imaging as soon as possible.
                • Rhabdomyolysis

                  • Suspect rhabdomyolysis and follow CK levels in patients who present to the ED with severe agitation from methamphetamine or have had prolonged periods of immobilization.
                  • Aggressively treat patients with rhabdomyolysis with IV crystalloid and admit them to the hospital after obtaining nephrology consultation.
                  • Closely monitor renal function, vital signs, and fluid input and output. By preventing acidic urine pH, the addition of sodium bicarbonate prevents precipitation of myoglobin in renal tubules.
                  • Early and aggressive fluid and electrolyte treatment of potential rhabdomyolysis can improve the clinical outcome and decrease potential nephrotoxicity. However, hemodialysis may be necessary in certain severe cases.


                Consult with a regional poison control center or a local medical toxicologist (certified through the American Board of Medical Toxicology and/or the American Board of Emergency Medicine) to obtain additional information and patient care recommendations. Cardiology, nephrology, and psychiatry consultation may be indicated in certain cases.

                Medication Summary

                The goals of pharmacotherapy are to reduce the toxic effects of the drug, reduce morbidity, and prevent complications.

                GI decontaminant

                Class Summary

                Empirically used to minimize systemic absorption of the toxin.

                View full drug information

                Polyethylene glycol (PEG) solution

                Laxative with strong electrolyte and osmotic effects. Cathartic actions in GI tract. May be indicated in treatment of methamphetamine ingestion in people who carry methamphetamine packages in their body. Must administer after activated charcoal. Liquid reconstituted per package instructions.

                View full drug information

                Activated charcoal (Liqui-Char)

                Most useful if administered within 4 h of ingestion. Repeat doses may be used, especially with ingestion of sustained-release agents. Limited outcome studies exist, especially when administration is more than 1 h postingestion.

                Administration of charcoal by itself (in aqueous solution), as opposed to coadministration with a cathartic, is becoming the current practice standard. This is because studies have not shown benefit from cathartics, and, while most drugs and toxins are absorbed within 30-90 min, laxatives take hours to work. Dangerous fluid and electrolyte shifts have occurred when cathartics are used in small children.

                When ingested dose is known, charcoal may be administered at 10 times ingested dose of agent over 1 or 2 doses.


                Class Summary

                Neuroleptic agents are CNS dopamine antagonists that are useful for control of agitated patients. By increasing the action of GABA, which is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, benzodiazepines depress all levels of CNS, including limbic and reticular formation.

                View full drug information

                Lorazepam (Ativan)

                Sedative hypnotic with short onset of effects and relatively long half-life.

                Benzodiazepine of choice in the ED. Can be given PO or SL (for rapid effect in panic attack) and IM or IV (mixed in the same syringe with the antipsychotic). Has longer CNS effects than diazepam and is preferred over antipsychotics for treatment of psychosis secondary to acute intoxication with hallucinogens, cocaine, PCP, and stimulants. Can be used as adjunctive therapy in nonorganic acute psychosis in which DOC is a high potency antipsychotic.

                If given IM, may take 30-60 min to observe desired effect.

                View full drug information

                Diazepam (Valium)

                Administered IV. Additional doses are titrated to effect. Less effective than the butyrophenones in controlling agitation.

                View full drug information

                Midazolam (Versed)

                Used as alternative in termination of refractory status epilepticus. Because water soluble, takes approximately 3 times longer than diazepam to peak EEG effects. Thus, clinician must wait 2-3 min to fully evaluate sedative effects before initiating procedure or repeating dose. Has twice the affinity for benzodiazepine receptors than diazepam. May be administered IM if unable to obtain vascular access.

                View full drug information

                Haloperidol (Haldol)

                DOC for patients with acute psychosis when no contraindications are present. Parenteral dosage form may be admixed in syringe with 2-mg lorazepam for better anxiolytic effects. May be administered IM if unable to establish IV access.

                View full drug information

                Droperidol (Inapsine)

                Somewhat faster-acting and more sedating than haloperidol but more likely to cause hypotension. May exert antipsychotic activity through dopaminergic system. Evidence suggests that it alters dopamine action in CNS. Administer IV in small boluses and titrate to effect. IM route may also be used if IV access is not yet established.

                Cardiovascular agents

                Class Summary

                Used to control catecholamine-induced hypertension and tachycardia.

                View full drug information

                Labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate)

                Blocks beta1-, alpha-, and beta2-adrenergic receptor sites, decreasing blood pressure. When given IV, acts primarily as a beta-receptor antagonist.

                Further Inpatient Care

                • Critical care management may be needed for patients with persistent hypertension, severe rhabdomyolysis, seizures, stroke, coma, hyperthermia, CHF, or acute coronary ischemic syndrome.

      Further Outpatient Care

      • Referral to drug treatment center and/or psychiatrist may be indicated


        • Methamphetamine addiction is notoriously difficult to treat successfully, as it is difficult to remove the patient from the subculture involved in the production, distribution, and abuse of the drug.


          • Complications of methamphetamine use include the following:

            • Rhabdomyolysis
            • Renal failure
            • Seizures
            • Stroke with permanent deficits
            • Coma
            • Acute coronary ischemia or infarction
            • Congestive heart failure (CHF)
            • Ventricular arrhythmias
            • Psychosis
            • Death
            • HIV and viral hepatitis
            • Periodontal disease
            • Skin infections


            • Prognosis is generally good with rapid and appropriate treatment, assuming that the patient does not present with one of the above complications.

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Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease in Methamphetamine Users, Study Finds

Posted by Sun on July 27, 2011

ScienceDaily (July 26, 2011) — People who abused methamphetamine or other amphetamine-like stimulants were more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who did not, in a new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

The researchers examined almost 300,000 hospital records from California covering 16 years. Patients admitted to hospital for methamphetamine or amphetamine-use disorders had a 76 per cent higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease compared to those with no disorder.

Globally, methamphetamine and similar stimulants are the second most commonly used class of illicit drugs.

“This study provides evidence of this association for the first time, even though it has been suspected for 30 years,” said lead researcher Dr. Russell Callaghan, a scientist with CAMH. Parkinson’s disease is caused by a deficiency in the brain’s ability to produce a chemical called dopamine. Because animal studies have shown that methamphetamine damages dopamine-producing areas in the brain, scientists have worried that the same might happen in humans.

It has been a challenge to establish this link, because Parkinson’s disease develops in middle and old age, and it is necessary to track a large number of people with methamphetamine addiction over a long time span.

The CAMH team took an innovative approach by examining hospital records from California — a state in which methamphetamine use is prevalent — from 1990 up to 2005. In total, 40,472 people, at least 30 years of age, had been hospitalized due to a methamphetamine- or amphetamine-use disorder during this period.

These patients were compared to two groups: 207,831 people admitted for appendicitis with no diagnosis of any type of addiction, and 35,335 diagnosed with cocaine use disorders. A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease was identified from hospital records or death certificates. Only the methamphetamine group had an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

While the appendicitis group served as a comparison to the general population, the cocaine group was selected for two reasons. Because cocaine is another type of stimulant that affects dopamine, this group could be used to determine whether the risk was specific to methamphetamine stimulants. Cocaine users also served as a control group to account for the health effects or lifestyle factors associated with dependence on an illicit drug.

“It is important for the public to know that our findings do not apply to patients who take amphetamines for medical purposes, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), since these patients use much lower doses of amphetamines than those taken by patients in our study,” said Dr. Stephen Kish, a CAMH scientist and co-author.

To put the study findings into numbers, if 10,000 people with methamphetamine dependence were followed over 10 years, 21 would develop Parkinson’s, compared with 12 people out of 10,000 from the general population. “It is also possible that our findings may underestimate the risk because in California, methamphetamine users may have had less access to health-care insurance and consequently to medical care,” said Dr. Callaghan.

The current project is significant because it is one of the few studies examining the long-term association between methamphetamine use and the development of a major brain disorder. “Given that methamphetamine and other amphetamine stimulants are the second most widely used illicit drugs in the world, the current study will help us anticipate the full long-term medical consequences of such problematic drug use,” said Dr. Callaghan.


I am medical doctor and hypnotherapist with more than 17 years experience. Feel free to send me email ( to discuss your situation.

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The History of Meth

Posted by Sun on July 23, 2011

The history of methamphetamine starts with a group of shrubs known asephedra. These plants, found in many parts of the world, have been used for thousands of years in China, Pakistan, India and the Americas to make teas that help open airways and treat asthma, as well as congestion and cough. In 1887, ephedrine (an amphetamine) was first isolated from the plant. Six years later, methamphetamine was developed from ephedrine, and in 1919 crystallized methamphetamine was first produced from ephedrine using iodine and red phosphorus. Both amphetamine and methamphetamine initially existed without any particular purpose. These concentrated stimulants were applied to a variety of maladies and disorders in search of their function. Eventually, they were used as general pick-me-ups,antidepressants and diet pills. They were also used in World War II to conquer and defend much of the globe.

Nazi leaders distributed millions of doses of methamphetamine in tablets called Pervitin to their infantry, sailors and airmen in World War II. It wasn’t just the military that was amping up on the stuff — Pervitin was sold to the Germanpublic beginning in 1938, and over-the-counter meth became quite popular. When supplies ran low on the war front, soldiers would write to their families requesting shipments of speed. In one four-month period in 1940, the German military was fed more than 35 million speed tablets


. Though the pills were known to cause adverse health effects in some soldiers, it was also immediately realized that stimulants went a long way toward the Nazi dream of creating supersoldiers. As the war neared its conclusion, a request was sent from high command for a drug that would boost morale and fighting ability, and Germany’s scientists responded with a pill called D-IX that contained equal parts cocaine and painkiller (5 mg of each), as well as Pervitin (3 mg). The pill was put into a testing stage, but the war ended before it reached the general military population.

The Nazis weren’t the only ones jacking up their soldiers on pharmaceutical speed — the Americans and the British were also consuming large amounts of amphetamines, namely Dexedrine. The Japanese had developed its own military-grade amphetamine, and when the war ended a large stockpile of the drug flooded the streets of Japan.

After World War II, amphetamine was manufactured, sold and prescribed in the United States and much of the world. By the late 1950s and early ’60s, it was becoming harder for the medical community to ignore the growing number of professionals-turned-speed-freaks who had become hopelessly hooked on Benzedrine and Dexedrine. Also, it had been discovered that Benzedrine inhalers (intended for use as bronchial dilators) could be cracked open, exposing a piece of paper soaked in Benzedrine that could then be swallowed for a powerful high. This led to increased American government control over amphetamines — and therefore to Americans making their own amphetamines.


See also:

1. Methamphetamine

2. Methamphetamine Detox

3. InfoFacts: Methamphetamine

4. Crystal Meth Facts

5. How Does Methamphetamine Affect the Body?

6. Recent Methamphetamine Use Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men Associated With Increased Risk of Sexual Practices That May Expose Them to HIV

7. Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease in Methamphetamine Users, Study Finds

Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

How Does Methamphetamine Affect the Body?

Posted by Sun on July 23, 2011

Methamphetamine is absorbed into the bloodstream where it travels to the brain. The speed at which methamphetamine reaches the brain depends on how it is taken. The fastest effects are felt within seconds after injection and smoking. Snorting produces effects within 3 to 5 minutes. When taken by mouth, it may take up to 20 minutes to begin to work. Smoking methamphetamine may produce effects that last for 10 or 12 hours.

Methamphetamine acts primarily by causing the release of a chemical called dopamine in parts of the brain responsible for regulating pleasure.

Will Methamphetamine Always Produce The Same Effects?

The effects of methamphetamine are unpredictable. It is different for everyone. The way a person feels after taking methamphetamine depends on many factors:

  • age and weight
  • mood, expectations, and environment
  • medical or psychiatric conditions
  • the amount of methamphetamine taken (dose)
  • the way methamphetamine is taken (by mouth, injection, or smoking)
  • how often and for how long methamphetamine has been used
  • use of other drugs, including non-prescription, prescription, and street drugs

Short-Term Effects

There are many unwanted and dangerous effects associated with using methamphetamine. Its effects are unpredictable. Some people will experience anxiety and panic attacks. Methamphetamine may also make a person feel euphoric, energetic, and alert. A person may be talkative, have a rapid flow of ideas, and a sense of increased mental capacity and physical strength.

Short-term use of methamphetamine can produce many other effects:

  • dizziness
  • sleep difficulties
  • reduced appetite
  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • teeth grinding
  • sweating
  • dilation of pupils
  • stomach ache
  • muscle tremors (shakiness)
  • increased heart rate and irregular heart beat
  • increased breathing rate

In addition, a person could potentially experience:

  • high fever
  • chest pain
  • fainting
  • muscle twitching
  • confusion
  • paranoid thinking
  • hallucinations

People often mistakenly label methamphetamine users as ‘tweakers’. ‘Tweaking’ is a stage which occurs as the effects of a high-dose methamphetamine binge begin to wear off. It is characterized by a dangerous combination of anxiety, irritability, aggression, paranoia and hallucinations. These individuals are at high risk for injury or violence. Indeed, deaths related to methamphetamine use often result from bizarre violent suicidal or accidental behaviour.

An overdose of methamphetamine can lead to death. Death can result from rupture of the blood vessels in the brain, heart failure, hyperthermia (extreme fever), seizures and coma. There is no specific antidote that can reverse the effects of the drug. If you think that a person has overdosed, contact emergency services immediately.

Sharing drug supplies, such as needles, pipes, straws and spoons can spread viruses. These include HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

People with diabetes, epilepsy, heart and liver problems, or mental disorders are most susceptible to the dangerous effects of methamphetamine.

Long-Term Effects

Regular users of methamphetamine may:

  • have trouble sleeping
  • ‘meth mouth’ (severe tooth decay and damage)
  • skin lesions (due to compulsive picking at ‘meth bugs’ on their skin because of tactile (sense of touch) hallucinations making them believe something is crawling under their skin)
  • feel anxious or tense
  • lose their appetite and lose weight
  • develop repetitive body movements
  • develop high blood pressure
  • experience a rapid heart beat

Some people may develop paranoid thought patterns, severe agitation and psychosis. Their behaviour may be erratic, bizarre, or violent. In some cases, psychotic symptoms can linger for years after methamphetamine use. Methamphetamine users sometimes attempt suicide while using the drug or during withdrawal.

Some methamphetamine users have long-lasting memory problems and reduced motor skills. School and job performance may suffer in heavy users of methamphetamine.

Research studies have shown that methamphetamine can damage certain brain cells in animals and humans. While this does not mean that problems will occur in all users or after only one or two uses, the risk of long-term damage is evident.

Can Methamphetamine Harm a Developing Fetus?

Yes. Using methamphetamine during pregnancy can harm a developing fetus. Methamphetamine use during pregnancy may result in prenatal complications such as premature delivery. It is not clear whether the drug causes birth defects. Using methamphetamine also decreases the mother’s appetite, which may slow the growth of the fetus in the womb and result in lower birth weight.

Is Methamphetamine Addictive?

Methamphetamine is very addictive.

Tolerance to the mood elevating and sense of well-being effects of methamphetamine develops rapidly with regular use. Tolerance may also develop toward some of the physical effects of the drug, such as the effects on blood pressure and body temperature.

A regular user who stops using methamphetamine abruptly may experience:

  • strong craving for the drug
  • extreme fatigue
  • lengthy but disturbed sleep
  • intense hunger
  • an exaggerated sense of mental or emotional discomfort (dysphoria)
  • an inability to experience pleasure (anhedonia)
  • personality disturbances (psychosis) that can persist

See also:

1. Methamphetamine

2. Methamphetamine Detox

3. InfoFacts: Methamphetamine

4. Crystal Meth Facts

5. The History of Meth

6. Recent Methamphetamine Use Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men Associated With Increased Risk of Sexual Practices That May Expose Them to HIV

7. Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease in Methamphetamine Users, Study Finds

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Crystal Meth Facts

Posted by Sun on July 22, 2011

What Is Crystal Meth?
The chemical n-methyl-1-phenyl-propan-2-amine is called methamphetamine, methylamphetamine, or desoxyephedrine. The shortened name is simply ‘meth’. When it is in its crystalline form, the drug is called crystal meth, ice, Tina, or glass. See the table below for other street names of the drug. Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant.How Is Crystal Meth Used?
Usually crystal meth is smoked in glass pipes, similar to how crack cocaine is used. It may be injected (either dry or dissolved in water), snorted, swallowed, or inserted into the anus or urethra.Why Is Crystal Meth Used?
Females often take crystal meth because it can cause extremely rapid weight loss. However, the effects are short term. The body builds up a tolerance to the drug so weight loss tapers off and stops around six weeks after taking the drug. Also, weight that is lost is regained once a person stops taking methamphetamine. For these reasons, combined with how addictive the drug is, methamphetamine tends not to be prescribed by doctors for weight loss.Some people take meth because of the long-lasting high that it gives. Methamphetamine causes numerous neurotransmitters to be released in the brain, producing a sense of euphoria that may last as long as 12 hours, depending on how the drug was taken.Methamphetamine is popular as a stimulant. As a stimulant, methamphetamine improves concentration, energy, and alertness while decreasing appetite and fatigue.

Methamphetamines are also taken by people who are feeling depressed. They may be taken for their side effect of increasing libido and sexual pleasure.

What Are the Effects of Methamphetamine Use?
This is a list of effects associated with pure methamphetamine use. Because of how it’s made, crystal meth is never pure, so the dangers associated with taking the street drug extend beyond these effects.

Common Immediate Effects

  • Euphoria
  • Increased energy and alertness
  • Diarrhea and nausea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Loss of appetite, insomnia, tremors, jaw-clenching
  • Agitation, irritability, talkativeness, panic, compulsive fascination with repetitive tasks, violence, confusion
  • Increased libido
  • Increased blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, blood sugar levels, bronchodilation
  • Constriction of the walls of the arterties
  • In pregnant and nursing women, methampetamine crosses the placenta and is secreted in breast milk

Effects Associated with Chronic Use

  • Tolerance (needing more of the drug to get the same effect)
  • Drug craving
  • Temporary weight loss
  • Withdrawal symptoms including depression and anhedonia
  • “Meth Mouth” where teeth rapidly decay and fall out
  • Drug-related psychosis (may last for months or years after drug use is discontinued)

Effects of Overdose

  • Brain damage
  • Sensation of flesh crawling (formication)
  • Paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, tension headache
  • Muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis) which can lead to kidney damage or failure
  • Death due to stroke, cardiac arrest or elevated body temperature (hyperthermia)

Where Does Crystal Meth Come From?
Methamphetamine is available with a prescription for obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and narcolepsy, but crystal meth is a street drug, made in illegal labs by chemically altering over-the-counter drugs. Making crystal meth usually involves reducing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, found in cold and allergy medicine. In the US, a typical meth lab employs something called the ‘Red, White, and Blue Process’, which entails hydrogenation of the hydroxyl group on the ephedrine or pseudoephedrine molecule. The red is red phosphorus, white is the ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, and blue is iodine, used to make hydroiodic acid. Making crystal meth is dangerous to the people making it and dangerous to the neighborhood where it’s being made. White phosphorus with sodium hydroxide can produce poisonous phosphine gas, usually as a result of overheating red phosphorus, plus white phosphorus can autoignite and blow up the meth lab. In addition to phosphine and phosphorus, various hazardous vapors may be associated with a meth lab, such as chloroform, ether, acetone, ammonia, hydrochloric acid, methylamine, iodine, hydroiodic acid, lithium or sodium, mercury, and hydrogen gas.

Street Names for Crystal Meth

Biker’s Coffee
Black Beauties
Chicken Feed
Crystal Glass
Crystal Meth
Hot Ice
L.A. Glass
L.A. Ice
Methlies Quick
Poor Man’s Cocaine
Stove Top
Super Ice
Yellow Bam
See also:

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InfoFacts: Methamphetamine

Posted by Sun on July 22, 2011

Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant drug that is similar in structure to amphetamine. Due to its high potential for abuse, methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II drug and is available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled. Although methamphetamine can be prescribed by a doctor, its medical uses are limited, and the doses that are prescribed are much lower than those typically abused. Most of the methamphetamine abused in this country comes from foreign or domestic superlabs, although it can also be made in small, illegal laboratories, where its production endangers the people in the labs, neighbors, and the environment.

How Is Methamphetamine Abused?

Methamphetamine is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol and is taken orally, intranasally (snorting the powder), by needle injection, or by smoking.

How Does Methamphetamine Affect the Brain?

Methamphetamine increases the release and blocks the reuptake of the brain chemical (or neurotransmitter) dopamine, leading to high levels of the chemical in the brain—a common mechanism of action for most drugs of abuse. Dopamine is involved in reward, motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function. Methamphetamine’s ability to release dopamine rapidly in reward regions of the brain produces the intense euphoria, or “rush,” that many users feel after snorting, smoking, or injecting the drug.

Chronic methamphetamine abuse significantly changes how the brain functions. Noninvasive human brain imaging studies have shown alterations in the activity of the dopamine system that are associated with reduced motor skills and impaired verbal learning.1 Recent studies in chronic methamphetamine abusers have also revealed severe structural and functional changes in areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory,2,3 which may account for many of the emotional and cognitive problems observed in chronic methamphetamine abusers.

Repeated methamphetamine abuse can also lead to addiction—a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, which is accompanied by chemical and molecular changes in the brain. Some of these changes persist long after methamphetamine abuse is stopped. Reversal of some of the changes, however, may be observed after sustained periods of abstinence (e.g., more than 1 year).4

What Other Adverse Effects Does Methamphetamine Have on Health?

Taking even small amounts of methamphetamine can result in many of the same physical effects as those of other stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines, including increased wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite, increased respiration, rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and hyperthermia.

Long-term methamphetamine abuse has many negative health consequences, including extreme weight loss, severe dental problems (“meth mouth”), anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behavior. Chronic methamphetamine abusers can also display a number of psychotic features, including paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions (for example, the sensation of insects crawling under the skin).

Transmission of HIV and hepatitis B and C can be consequences of methamphetamine abuse. The intoxicating effects of methamphetamine, regardless of how it is taken, can also alter judgment and inhibition and can lead people to engage in unsafe behaviors, including risky sexual behavior. Among abusers who inject the drug, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases can be spread through contaminated needles, syringes, and other injection equipment that is used by more than one person. Methamphetamine abuse may also worsen the progression of HIV/AIDS and its consequences. Studies of methamphetamine abusers who are HIV-positive indicate that HIV causes greater neuronal injury and cognitive impairment for individuals in this group compared with HIV-positive people who do not use the drug.5,6

What Treatment Options Exist?

Currently, the most effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction are comprehensive cognitive-behavioral interventions. For example, the Matrix Model—a behavioral treatment approach that combines behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, 12-step support, drug testing, and encouragement for nondrug-related activities—has been shown to be effective in reducing methamphetamine abuse.7 Contingency management interventions, which provide tangible incentives in exchange for engaging in treatment and maintaining abstinence, have also been shown to be effective.8 There are no medications at this time approved to treat methamphetamine addiction; however, this is an active area of research for NIDA.


See also:

1. Methamphetamine

2. Methamphetamine Detox

3. Crystal Meth Facts

4. How Does Methamphetamine Affect the Body?

5. The History of Meth

6. Recent Methamphetamine Use Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men Associated With Increased Risk of Sexual Practices That May Expose Them to HIV

7. Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease in Methamphetamine Users, Study Finds

Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Methamphetamine Detox

Posted by Sun on July 20, 2011

Unlike detoxing off some other drugs there are currently no approved medications to ease the symptoms, but medical monitoring can be employed to maintain safety while a person is experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Detoxing from meth is not normally life threatening, but medical complications can occur and each individual will have a slightly different experience in the detox process. This article helps explain the concepts of heroin tolerance, withdrawal, and what it means to detox off of meth.

Many people confuse detox with treatment.  Detox should be seen only as the beginning of a longer process.  Psychotic symptoms can sometimes persist for months after use has ceased .Typically, inpatient detox lasts for five to seven days.  Treatment, which may be done on an outpatient or inpatient basis will likely last up to 90 days.

Methamphetamine Tolerance and Withdrawal

Methamphetamine has a high potential for abuse and dependence. Tolerance may develop and users may quickly become addicted and use it with increasing frequency and in increasing doses. Abrupt discontinuation of use can produce extreme fatigue, mental depression, apathy, long periods of sleep, irritability, and disorientation.

What’s it like detoxing off methamphetamine?

It’s difficult to say exactly what it will be like for each individual detoxing from meth as the experience varies widely.  Methamphetamine has a strong pull.  The binge and crash cycle that many meth addicts go through does not always lend itself easily to detox.  Detoxing off meth you are likely to: After methamphetamine use is stopped, several withdrawal symptoms can occur, including

  • depression
  •  anxiety
  •  fatigue
  • paranoia
  • aggression
  • intense craving for the drug


There are treatment options for methamphetamine addiction. One treatment model called the Matrix model is being found to have particularly good success at treating methamphetamine addiction. At the same time, due to the level of cognitive impairment, some treatment providers are finding that it takes longer to treat someone using methamphetamine than other drugs.

If you have any questionsplease feel free to ask


See also:

1. Methamphetamine

2.  InfoFacts: Methamphetamine

3. Crystal Meth Facts

4. How Does Methamphetamine Affect the Body?

5. The History of Meth

6. Recent Methamphetamine Use Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men Associated With Increased Risk of Sexual Practices That May Expose Them to HIV

7. Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease in Methamphetamine Users, Study Finds

Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: | 1 Comment »


Posted by Sun on July 15, 2011

Brief Description: Methamphetamine is a very addictive stimulant that is closely related to amphetamine. It is long lasting and toxic to dopamine nerve terminals in the central nervous system. It is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting powder taken orally or by snorting or injecting, or a rock “crystal” that is heated and smoked.

Street Names: Speed, meth, chalk, ice, crystal, glass

Effects: Methamphetamine increases wakefulness and physical activity, produces rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure and body temperature. Long-term use can lead to mood disturbances, violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and severe dental problems. All users, but particularly those who inject the drug, risk infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask


See also

1. Methamphetamine Detox

2. InfoFacts: Methamphetamine

3. Crystal Meth Facts

4. How Does Methamphetamine Affect the Body?

5. The History of Meth

6. Recent Methamphetamine Use Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men Associated With Increased Risk of Sexual Practices That May Expose Them to HIV

7. Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease in Methamphetamine Users, Study Finds

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