Methamphetamine (or Meth, as it is more commonly known) is one of the most dangerously addictive substances known to humans. It is one of the most easily-produced drugs in the world, and anyone who has become afflicted with an addiction to it needs medical attention from an addiction center to overcome it.
The problem with addictive substances is that the body tends to develop resistance to these chemicals. Users often find themselves having to take meth and other drugs in increasing amounts to experience the same level of high before.
The heightened propensity for bad decisions that meth invariably causes can result in bad decisions in users. The profound changes in personality and the highly addictive nature of the drug go hand in hand and can have the effect of users spiraling out of control. Learn how to spot the signs if your loved one is smoking meth.
Smoking Meth: What meth and its related paraphernalia look like
To determine whether a loved one has begun using meth, it is important to recognize what the drug looks like, and the related tools and paraphernalia for its consumption.
The drug itself is usually found in powdered or crystal form (which is the origin of it being called “crystal meth”), but is sometimes found in tablets. The most common form of meth is white, but it has been known to appear blue depending on the formulation. People have been known to snort and inject meth, but the most common form of consumption is by smoking it through a meth pipe.
The meth pipe, which is also known as a flute, is the clearest indicator that someone is smoking meth. It often looks like a short glass tube connected to a glass sphere. This sphere has a hole at the top through which meth is placed. A used meth pipe will not appear clear and will have black and brown stains near the sphere end of the flute.
People have likened the smell of meth to ammonia, cat urine, and window cleaner. If you smell this in a person’s vehicle or place of residence, it might be an indicator of regular meth use. If you can, avoid being around someone smoking meth as simple inhalation of the secondhand smoke might cause you to test positive.
The other ways meth is consumed
It is not uncommon for the powdered form of methamphetamine to be injected into the bloodstream with a needle. This carries a high risk of blood-transfused infections such as HIV, Hepatitis C, and Hepatitis B. More often than not, this is because users often share and reuse needles.
Snorting meth is a method common to new users, which often leads to damage of the sinus cavities. A chronically runny nose can be the result, and continued consumption in this manner can cause holes in the septum.
Methamphetamine was originally created for medicinal use and administered in pill form as a treatment for obesity. Some still consume meth in this way, with manufactured or homemade pills.
Identifying the Signs of Meth Use
The signs of meth use are quite clear. There is considerable data and literature from addiction centers about how meth affects the body and mental state of afflicted patients. In fact, meth is often used as the subject of cautionary tales about drug addiction, as addicts often undergo drastic transformations. Some of these signs are:
- Weight loss
- Dilated pupils
- Decaying teeth and disregard for oral hygiene
- Obsessive behaviors
- Borderline psychotic behaviors
- Erratic sleep patterns
- Major energy fluctuations
- Unkempt appearance
- Poor personal hygiene
- Scabbing and scars on the skin.
Short and Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamine
The most dangerous part of meth is that many complications are not just suffered by long-term users. Users can begin to experience the most extreme effects of meth after just a few doses. Some effects users might suffer in the short term are as follows:
- Increased attention and decreased activity
- Increased activity and wakefulness
- Decreased appetite
- Euphoria and rush
- Increased respiration
- rapid/irregular heartbeat
Some of the long-term effects of meth use, which may appear sooner than you think, are:
- Extreme weight loss
- Permanent oral disfigurement
- Sores on the skin
- Repetitive motor activity
- Changes in brain structure and function
- Deficits in thinking and motor skills
- Reduced attention span
- Memory loss
- Aggressive and violent behavior
- Mood disturbances
Many meth users often suffer the effects of brain damage early into their addictions and find it difficult to recover from it.
Signs of Overdose
Perhaps the deadliest effect of substance abuse in any form is an overdose. This occurs when an individual takes a drug whether by accident or on purpose and experiences negative side effects as the drug interacts with the body. This is normally the side effect of taking more than the body is able to handle. In many cases, this can be deadly without medical attention.
The symptoms of overdose, however, are sometimes more subtle than vomiting and seizures. The other symptoms are as follows:
- Chest pains
- Labored breathing
- Slow heartbeat
Untreated, an overdose is likely to lead to death. The odds of survival, however, depend on how much of the drug they have taken and how early medical treatment was administered. The longer a person suffering from overdose takes to get to the hospital, the lower their chances of surviving without some form of permanent physical condition.
If you suspect that someone has begun using meth, make sure to enlist the help of an addiction center. Unlike other drugs, meth addiction can set in fast due to the intensity of its effects. Even just a few times can cause intense dependence. When it comes to meth addiction, you should absolutely never wait until it is too late.
Signs of a Meth Lab in Your Area
We’ve spoken before about the strong ammonia or urine-like smell meth produces. However, if an entire area has begun to smell like that, it is a likely sign that there is a meth lab in your area. Some of the other signs are:
- A house having darkened or covered windows
- Large amounts of trash with meth ingredients and empty chemical containers
- A house with an unkempt appearance, a dirty or soiled lawn, and so on
- Broken or damaged property
- Added ventilation systems and industrial gear in a home
- Unusually strong security practices
- Paranoid or secretive inhabitants
Should you suspect that a meth production facility is in your area, contact the authorities. Not only can the introduction of meth be dangerous to a community, but meth labs are also prone to explosions and fires.
Not only that, but meth abuse is often associated with increased criminal activity. Meth can cause violent behavior in its users. Not only that, but the production and distribution of meth is usually an organized effort from local criminals. It is a danger that must be addressed as soon as possible.
Defeating addiction alone is an intense challenge for anyone and their families. Addiction to meth, on the other hand, takes that to another level. Do not wait until it is too late for the people you love. The effects of meth, as we’ve illustrated, are not only severe, but they can settle in fast and can be permanent.