Meth, Meth Addiction, Meth Addiction Treatment
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meth shardsMeth info reports that due to its high potential for abuse, meth is classified as a Schedule II drug and is available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled. Although meth can be prescribed by a doctor, its medical uses are limited. The doses that are prescribed are much lower than those typically taken by people who abuse the drug. Most of the methamphetamine abused in this country comes from foreign or domestic superlabs. However, it can also be made in small, illegal laboratories where its production endangers the people in the labs, neighbors, and the environment.

How does meth abuse affect the user's brain? Meth increases the release and blocks the re-uptake of the brain chemical (or neurotransmitter) dopamine. This leads to high levels of the chemical in the brain which is a common mechanism of action for most drugs of abuse. Dopamine is involved in reward, motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function. The ability of meth to release dopamine rapidly in reward regions of the brain produces the intense euphoria, or œrush, that many users feel after snorting, smoking, or injecting the drug.

Meth info notes that chronic meth abuse significantly changes how the brain functions. Non-invasive 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. Recent studies of chronic methamphetamine abusers have also revealed severe structural and functional changes in areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory. This may account for many of the emotional and cognitive problems observed in chronic methamphetamine abusers.

Repeated meth abuse may lead to addiction. Meth addiction is a chronic, relapsing problem 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 drug abuse is stopped. Meth info shows that the reversal of some of these changes in the brain may be observed after sustained periods of abstinence (e.g., more than 1 year).


Meth Info

  •  Methamphetamine (meth) is a very addictive stimulant that is closely related to amphetamines. 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, by snorting, or by injection. A rock "crystal" form also exists which is heated and smoked.
  • Meth Street Names: speed, meth, chalk, ice, crystal, glass.
  • Meth Effects: Meth increases wakefulness and physical activity, produces rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure. It also raises 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.
  • Meth Statistics and Trends: In 2008, 850,000 Americans age 12 and older had abused methamphetamine at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration Web Site). The NIDA-funded 2008 Monitoring the Future Study showed that 1.2% of 8th graders, 1.5% of 10th graders, and 1.2% of 12th graders had abused methamphetamine at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. Source: Monitoring the Future (University of Michigan Web Site)

Meth, Meth Addiction, Meth Addiction Treatment
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