Crystalline Methamphetamine

The drug methamphetamine is highly addictive, and the third most-abused substance in the whole world that affects the central nervous system. Methamphetamine is a shiny salt white or sometimes blue rock-like substance, usually called “a glass drug”. It is smoked with a glass pipe. However, people are abusing it in millions of different ways which involve, snorting and injecting as well. Believing to the medical specialists, methamphetamine is a legal stimulant which is used to treat obesity, sleep disorders and ADHD among patients. 

This is a methamphetamine drug guide article in which we will have a closer look at what methamphetamine addiction is, its effect if consumed for a longer period and how one can be treated for methamphetamine drug abuse.

Alarming facts about crystal meth

What is Crystal Meth?

Crystal meth, also known as “Meth”  is a highly addictive stimulant drug. This man-made substance can have long-lasting and adverse effects on the body. Meth comes in the form of a rock-like crystal that is usually a semi-transparent material or blue in colour. Those who have been the victim of meth dependence claim that it raises neurotic activity in the body and gives a rush of instant euphoria.

Crystal methamphetamine is one of the most common and prevalent drugs in India, which is being consumed by people of all ages. Meth is made up using a rare combination of specific chemicals – levomethamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine. Though this drug goes by many different names, the colour and sizes can also vary based on purity check. Crystal meth has been found responsible for damaging the person physically and mentally.

What is Methamphetamine?

Many people do not understand the difference between methamphetamine and crystal meth. Methamphetamine is synonymous to crystal meth, ice, tina, crystal glass, blue glass, and many other different names. All of them are the same. In chemical terms, methamphetamine is classed as an amphetamine drug group that is also known as psycho-stimulants. This is a medicinal prescribed drug that is used for second-line treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other disorders. Methamphetamine is known to maintain a high addiction and dependence possibility.

Meth which often comes in powder or crystal form has a bitter, chemical taste and sometimes a pretty strong smell. It is cooked by following a recipe in conjunction with chemicals. Methamphetamine, since the early 2000s, has been the third most popular illegal drug in the world after Marijuana. There are people who tried methamphetamine just to experience an intense short term excitement, and happiness have fallen prey to this stimulant and are now grappling to overcome addiction.

How Is Crystal Meth Cooked?

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the USA classifies methamphetamine as a Schedule II controlled substance which states that this chemical substance is useful for medicinal purposes but extremely risky if consumed in a massive amount. 

Many studies have shown that pharmacological methamphetamine is used in treating medical conditions. However, people who have become habitual to substance abuse use crystal meth to sense the euphoric effect, which can lead to long-term deterioration of attention and memory.

Chronic meth abusers always come up with several recipes of cooking meth. There are a few main ingredients which are essential to cooking methamphetamine, although the most active ingredient used to produce methamphetamine is pseudoephedrine/ ephedrine. Many drug stores have imposed a ban on selling meth ingredients. However, it is legal in a few countries under certain circumstances. From combining the chemical substances to heating them using a few acids, the making of meth usually takes about two days and goes along with a three-step extensive process.

  • STEP 1 Ephedrine/ Pseudoephedrine is combined with ammonia and lithium or iodine and phosphorus (either of these two combinations) and water is added to the solution.
  • STEP 2 The second step involves the extraction of methamphetamine which can be done after some type of solvent is observed in the mixture.
  • STEP 3 This is the final step of cooking meth. In this step, the mixture needs to be heated using some additional chemical substances to obtain crystal meth.

Cooking Methamphetamine Is Dangerous

Some of the ingredients used in cooking crystal meth such as lithium batteries, drain cleaner and a few chemicals can easily be obtained from a local drug store. Meth makers mostly use abandoned places or transform their own home in laboratories to escape landing to any trouble. 

Although, production of meth releases contaminated and toxic fumes and more often end up poisoning the surroundings. This is why people who cook meth suffer from ruthless breathing problems such as laboured breathing or lung conditions.

Also, the nature of substances used in cooking methamphetamine are either flammable or corrosive which makes the heating process extremely dangerous. Many times, the heating process of crystal meth results in explosions leaving the environment not less than a hazard.

What Are the Side Effects of Crystal Meth?

Crystal Meth is a Schedule II substance which is why it is highly addictive. While addicts abuse crystal form of methamphetamine to get the feel of powerful emotions, pharmaceutical methamphetamine is used for treating medical conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorders or sleep disorders. A study conducted by Foundation for a Drug-Free World says that over 24 million people abuse crystal meth worldwide.

Methamphetamine is commonly abused in glass pipes or through snorting and injection. Long term use of crystal meth leads to a wide variety of physical and mental harm to a person. In many cases, it has been noticed that crystal meth causes irreparable tooth decay which is known as “Meth Mouth.” 

Regular users of methamphetamine are prone to losing their teeth. The one who intakes the substance craves for more because of its euphoric effect. Apart from severe tooth decay, chronic meth abuse can lead to psychological and physical addiction which later results in severe and critical adversarial repercussions.

Short-Term Effects of Methamphetamine

  • Violent behaviour
  • Upset sleeping behaviour
  • Extreme mood swings and unpredictability
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Prolonged anxiety
  • Dry mouth and bad breath
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea

Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamine

  • Brain damage, coma, stroke or death
  • Lung Damage
  • Extreme weight loss, tooth decay and cracked teeth
  • Psychosis and hallucinations
  • Mood disorders
  • High body temperature, or hyperthermia
  • Rapid heartbeat, and palpitations

What Are the Effects of Mixing Methamphetamine With Alcohol?

Combination of meth and alcohol is very dangerous

Abusing a combination of drugs is not uncommon. The practice is generally called polysubstance abuse. The fusion of crystal meth and alcohol is prevalent more among addicts than any other substance. While crystal meth is a stimulant/ antidepressant, on the other hand, alcohol is a depressant substance. This pretty common mixture is extremely dangerous and amplifies the risk of serious dependence. The side effects that occur after abusing the blend of meth and alcohol are as follows – 

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure.
  • Unconsciousness
  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Risk of alcohol poisoning
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures
  • Violent outburst
  • Changes in speech

Methamphetamine Addiction Symptoms and Warning Signs

The substance abuse takes a toll on health as well as mind and methamphetamine is no exception. Crystal meth severely affects the user and despite being aware of its adverse reaction both psychologically and physically, people are still experimenting with the substance, sometimes even in combination with other drugs. 

Meth addiction is associated with a host of warning signs although, the users do not realise that they have become dependent on it unless physical signs of methamphetamine come into view. Physical symptoms in the user’s body give signs of the danger and major life risk. Some most common warning signs of meth are visible in a variety of ways which are – 

  • A feeble body
  • Teeth Decay (Meth Mouth)
  • Pale skin
  • Damaged liver
  • Increased body temperature
  • Convulsions
  • Twitching, facial tics, shaky movements
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Extreme weight loss

How to Get Rid Off Crystal Meth Addiction?

Methamphetamine is arguably a dangerous and most addictive drug that begins damaging a person’s life in a very short period of time. Crystal meth, like any other harmful substances, shows physical and behavioural symptoms which enables friends or family to determine the addiction problem in their loved ones. The treatment process for an individual may vary which most apparently depends upon the severity of the dependence. 

In meth addiction cases, the patients are given a combination of treatment consisting of detoxification and counselling. While detox therapy helps to pull out the physical presence of meth from the body, counselling teaches patients a sense to shun evil ideas about consuming substances and build strategies among patients to cope up with relapse-oriented thoughts.

In order to withdraw from meth dependence, a structured treatment program is the most sensible and effective course of action one needs to take. Treatments of any substance addiction can range from intensive inpatient therapy to outpatient counselling. Treatment programmes for methamphetamine addiction involve detox therapy and counselling sessions.

Treatment Options for Meth Addiction Inpatient vs Outpatient Programme

Meth addiction treatment process

Because the nature of methamphetamine is powerful and has a tendency of forming a habit for those who abuse it, the treatment programmes for meth abuses comes with many challenges. However, while walking to the path of recovery, finding the right kind of treatment is essential. 

There are mainly two types of recovery programmes being offered by most of the de-addiction centres. Inpatient vs Outpatient. Inpatient care is the process where the patient gets admitted to the facility and remains under medical supervision until the sobriety while the outpatient programme is completely opposite. During the outpatient treatment procedure, the patient can practice detox and counselling sessions at home with a visit to the rehab centre off and on.

Those who have been chronic dependent on crystal meth and are abusing it for a longer period, inpatient treatment would be the preferable option to them. Long-term meth abuse could lead a person to relapse more often making it difficult to overcome addiction. Inpatient rehabilitation programmes under therapeutic guidance will help the patient with the right type of support without much risk of relapse.

On the other hand, if someone who has it not much addicted to meth abuse can go for the outpatient treatment programme. It is a part-time programme where the person suffering from methamphetamine addiction needs to visit a treatment centre 2 to 3 times a week.

Meth Addiction Treatment process

Detox Therapy

Detoxification is the most common and recommended treatment. It is an addiction treatment process in which the toxic materials from the patient’s body are removed while keeping a safe and secure health care setting in mind. Detoxification method is performed in both inpatient as well as outpatient programmes. 

There are various ways to carry out detoxification procedures in meth addiction treatment but most of the rehab centres break down the detox process for meth abuse in three stages – Evaluation, Stabilization and Treatment.

Methamphetamine detox takes around 45 to 50 hours to flush out all the toxin from the body. Dehydration is the common effect of the withdrawal process. However, it can be life-threatening in ultra-crucial cases. Thus, it is important to undergo detoxification therapy following the guidance of physicians so that proper nutrition and safety can be ensured.

Counselling

Being addicted to methamphetamine goes beyond physical dependence. Along with a detox, counselling is a centrepiece of treating meth addiction. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy acts out as one of the most vital counselling therapy in many substance abuse treatment including crystal meth.

It is the phase of treatment that is performed on the patient after an individual has completed detox treatment. Medical counsellor here notices the behavioural patterns in patients and explains them to withstand cravings and relapsing thoughts. Counselling can be carried out by therapists in a group or on an individual basis. 

How much does meth cost?

Reportedly, news of a woman from Zimbabwe being caught with crystal meth at Indira Gandhi International Airport circulated on the internet a few years back. A 38-year-old woman was taken into custody with 3 kg methamphetamine worth Rs 15 crores. Based on this, the price of 1 kg of crystal meth can easily be estimated as Rs. 5 crores (or Rs. 50,000 per gm) in India. Generally, the cost of meth varies based on the purity of the drug.

Is meth addictive?

Many meth users become addicted after their first time using the drug. It’s highly concentrated effect causes the person to feel like to have to use it again. Meth addiction is one of the hardest to treat—the easiest way to avoid its grip is to never get started.

Final Words

A path to recovery is a path to take. If you are among those who are struggling with your methamphetamine addiction but afraid of seeking recovery options, remember if you shy away from getting out of this now, you will regret it for all your life. There are numerous rehab facilities which run with multiple treatment programmes out of which some are even personalised. Just look out for the right one and walk on the road of sobriety. 

Sources

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/crystal-meth-what-you-should_know

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/23207

https://drugabuse.com/crystal-meth/

https://www.verywellmind.com/methamphetamines-4157305

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