Physical health takes a hard hit when meth is involved

Methamphetamine: What You Need to Know

For many people, methamphetamine made its way into the mainstream thanks to the TV show Breaking Bad, which ran on cable for five seasons. But the drug’s origins date back to the early 1900s when it served an actual medicinal purpose. Now only prescribed for treatment of ADHD and obesity, it has gained considerable popularity as a street drug that’s incredibly addictive and readily available at a low cost because it uses everyday chemicals including acetone, the ammonia found in fertilizer, lithium, and ether.

As one might suspect, the makeshift creation of methamphetamine is harmful to the environment and can linger in the air long after a lab has shut down.

While some laws have been passed to curb production, methamphetamine is still smuggled into the United States and liquidized into crystal meth. And like heroin and cocaine, methamphetamine can be laced with fentanyl, which seriously ups its potency — often without the user knowing. This presents a heightened level of risk, not to mention the potential for an overdose.

How It Works

As a stimulant, methamphetamine affects the central nervous system. Like many drugs, it increases the amount of dopamine in the brain, which makes users want to regularly repeat the experience. Since methamphetamine’s high tends to start and, subsequently, fade quickly, people often take several doses in quick succession in what’s called a “binge and crash” pattern. Upping the ante even further, some users will sacrifice food and sleep for several days in order to continue taking the drug. This practice is referred to as a “run.”

Methamphetamine addiction

The Stats on Methamphetamine

  • A study of over 1 million urine drug tests from across the United States revealed soaring rates of methamphetamine and fentanyl use, often used concurrently in potentially lethal ways.
  • From May 2018 to May 2019, there were 24.6% more deaths involving meth than in the previous year, compared with 9.4% more deaths involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) asserts that 15% of all drug overdose deaths involved methamphetamine, and half of those involved the addition of synthetic opioids.
  • An estimated 964,000 people aged 12 or older (about 0.4% of the population) had a methamphetamine use disorder in 2017 — defined by clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home as a result of their drug use. This number is significantly higher than the 684,000 people who reported having methamphetamine use disorder in 2016.
  • A new wave of meth caused a 1,600% surge of seizures in Ohio and Kentucky recently.

Effects of Methamphetamine

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • A temporary increase in energy and physical stamina
  • Faster breathing
  • Increased blood pressure and body temperature, which can lead to fainting
  • Exposure to dangerous chemicals
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss, changes in brain structure
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Violent behavior
  • Higher risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis B and C
  • Less inhibitions which may lead to risky sexual behavior
  • Intense itching and skin sores
  • Severe dental problems, aka “meth mouth”
  • Hallucinations, paranoia, and delusional thinking

Help for Methamphetamine Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with meth addiction, we’re here for you. Dr. Claudia Black, the clinical architect of our treatment program, has decades of experience working with family systems and addictive disorders. Her leadership and our entire team’s professional, compassionate approach have helped many young adults find freedom, hope, and a healthy path forward.

“Like heroin and cocaine, methamphetamine can be laced with fentanyl which seriously ups its potency — often without the user knowing. This presents a heightened level of risk, not to mention the potential for an overdose.”


Our experienced, compassionate Admissions team is here to help 24 hours a day and will treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve. Let our specialists help you create a road map to get you where you want to go: a healthier, more balanced, fulfilling place in life. When you call, you’ll be led through a series of questions to determine if the Claudia Black Young Adult Center is the right fit for your needs, and how soon your treatment can begin.

If you are interested in treatment for yourself or a loved one, call or fill out our convenient Admissions form!




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