What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Crystal methamphetamine is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks. It is chemically similar to amphetamine, a drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.
Cut-Off Levels (ng/mL)
300, 500, 1000 ng/mL (Urine)
Window of Detection
2 Hrs. – 4 Days (Urine)
How is it Used?
Methamphetamine is most commonly used by inhalation, or smoking, snorting, intravenously by injection, or swallowing in pill form.
Because the “high” from the drug both starts and fades quickly, people often take repeated doses in a “binge and crash” pattern. In some cases, people take methamphetamine in a form of binging known as a “run,” giving up food and sleep while continuing to take the drug every few hours for up to several days.
What are the Effects?
Methamphetamine increases the amount of the natural chemical dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is involved in body movement, motivation, and reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. The drug’s ability to rapidly release high levels of dopamine in reward areas of the brain strongly reinforces drug-taking behavior, making the user want to repeat the experience.
Taking even small amounts of methamphetamine can result in many of the same health effects as those of other stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines.
People who inject methamphetamine are at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. These diseases are transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids that can remain on drug equipment. Methamphetamine use can also alter judgment and decision-making leading to risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex, which also increases risk for infection.
Methamphetamine use may worsen the progression of HIV/AIDS and its consequences. Studies indicate that HIV causes more injury to nerve cells and more cognitive problems in people who use methamphetamine than it does in people who have HIV and don’t use the drug. Cognitive problems are those involved with thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering.
- increased wakefulness and physical activity
- decreased appetite
- faster breathing
- rapid and/or irregular heartbeat
- increased blood pressure and body temperature
- extreme weight loss
- severe dental problems
- intense itching, leading to skin sores from scratching
- changes in brain structure and function
- memory loss
- sleeping problems
- violent behavior
- paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
- hallucinations—sensations and images that seem real though they aren’t
Common Street Names
- Rocket Fuel
What does it Look Like?
Methamphetamine comes in many different forms, most commonly, a blueish-white, crystal like powder, or glass like shards. It can also be used in liquid form.
Methamphetamine is a Schedule II stimulant under the Controlled Substances Act.
- Integrated Urine Test Cup
- Urine Test Dip Card
- Oral Fluid Test
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