Understanding the Dangers of Methamphetamine S Abuse in the US Research Paper

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Properties, Abuse Patterns, and Effects of Methamphetamine

Characteristics of Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine also referred to as "meth" describes a powerful man-made drug that adversely impacts the central nervous system. Common terms used to refer to meth include glass, speed ice, crystal, and crank. The preparation of meth engages the catalytic hydrogenation of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine and subsequent conversion to hydrochloride. Preparation of meth can also engage reducing the condensation product of methylamine and benzyl methyl ketone (Dobkin, & Nicosia, 2009).

Physical Properties

Meth occurs as a white substance.

Occurs in a solid state, crystals.

Odorless with a bitter taste (Mehling & Triggle, 2008).

Chemical Properties

Soluble in water, alcohol, and chloroform. Besides, it is slightly soluble in absolute ether.

It melts at temperatures between 171 °C and 175 °C.

Meth's Abuse Patterns

Meth abuse occurs in three patterns that include low intensity, binge, and high intensity. Low-intensity abuse refers to an individual that uses meth on a causal basis through swallowing or snorting it. In this pattern, the user does not depict psychological addiction. On the other hand, the other two patterns describe users that depict psychological addiction with a strong preference towards injecting meth or smoking it in efforts to achieve a stronger and faster high (Dean et al., 2013).

Low-Intensity Methamphetamine

In this segment, users snort or swallow meth just like the procedure used in nicotine or caffeine. Abusers in this category seek extra stimulation that meth provides. The stimulation enables the abusers to stay awake long enough and active to complete a particular job or task or suppress appetite to facilitate loss of weight. Users in this category tend to function as normal because they have responsibilities like raising families and working. Examples of individuals prone to this category include truck drivers staying awake reach the set destinations and workers on an overtime shift (Heinzerling et al., 2013).

Users in this category are likely fall into the binge abusers segment. At this stage, the users acknowledge the stimulating effect meth provides through snorting and swallowing the drug. However, low-intensity abusers do not experience the euphoric rush as a result of injecting or smoking the drug. Switching to injection and smoking approaches facilitates a quick transition of the low-intensity abusers to a binge pattern of abuse (Roussell et al., 2013).

Bing Methamphetamine Abuse

In this segment, users utilize smoking and injection approaches in getting meth into the body system. As a result, abusers experience euphoric rushes that depict psychological addiction.

Rush: The Rush refers to the initial response felt by a meth user after injecting or smoking meth. Low-intensity abusers do not experience a rush because of the swallowing and snorting mechanisms of getting meth into the body. The rush causes increased metabolism, heartbeat races, pulse soar, and a surge in blood pressure. Meth rush can last from between five to thirty minutes (Brown, 2010).

Injection or smoking meth causes a trigger to the adrenal glands that releases the epinephrine (adrenaline) hormone. Adrenaline places the body in a fight or flight mode. The explosive release of dopamine by the pleasure center of the brain results in the abuser experiencing a physical sensation (Dean et al., 2013).

High: The high follows the rush that causes the abuser to experience a sense of smart aggressiveness. As a result, abusers may engage in arguments and interrupting others. The high may last between four to sixteen hours.

Binge: The binge occurs as a continuation of the high. Injecting or smoking more meth maintains the high. Additional smoking or injection of the drug eliminates the initial rush and the high resulting in the feeling of the binge. Physical and mental hyper activeness characterizes this state that lasts from three to fifteen days (Mary-Lynn, and Herbeck, 2013).

Tweaking: At the end of the binge, the abuser has a feeling of dysphoria and emptiness despite additional intake of meth. Depression resulting from this state makes the abuser feel uncomfortable (Dobkin, & Nicosia, 2009).

Crash: The state of crash results in an incredible amount of sleep. The depletion of the epinephrine hormone causes the body to utilize the crash in replenishing the energy supply. It may last between one and three days (Roussell et al., 2013).

Normal: The stage lasts between two and fourteen days. It is characterized by a slightly deteriorated normal state compared to the one before the use of meth. The increase of binging results in a decrease in the normal state.

Withdrawal: The withdrawal state may begin slowly as the stage does not depict acute and immediate physical distress. Characteristics of the state include losing the ability to experience pleasure and lack of energy for the abuser. The abuser may become suicidal because of the craving for meth (Heinzerling et al., 2013).

High-Intensity Methamphetamine Abuse

In this segment, the users occur as addicts. Addicts seek to prevent the crash from continuous smoking or injection of the meth to stay high. As a result, the abusers tend to utilize high levels of meth that at times do not give the expected high as previously held. High-intensity meth abusers occur as highly tempered and extremely unpredictable individuals (Brown, 2010).

Dangerous Tweakers

Tweaking occurs as the most dangerous state of a high-intensity meth abuse. The strong feeling of uncontrollable frustration because of the failure to reach the desired high makes tweakers unpredictable and dangerous. In most cases, tweakers appear as normal individuals. However, they appear super-exaggerated based on the quick rolling the eyes more than normal and quick movements. Jerky movements depict overstimulation as the state subjects the abuser to paranoia (McKetin et al., 2012).

At this stage, provocation does not necessarily occur as a catalyst for violent reactions. However, confrontation propels violent reaction chances. In most cases, confrontations ensued between law enforcement officers and tweakers results in physical or verbal assaults on the officers. Tweakers exist in their worlds as predicting the abusers irrational or violent behavior occurs as a mystery. Some of the hallucinations experienced by tweakers seem real as they trigger the actualization of the paranoid delusions (Heinzerling et al., 2013).

Problems Associated with Methamphetamine Addiction

The surge in domestic violence incidents points to meth abuse. Domestic disputes intensify due to the unpredictability of tweakers. As a result, these individuals create dangerous situations for law enforcement. At times, accidents and motor vehicle violations involve tweakers. Hallucinations and paranoid delusions make them decide to drive. The delusional state makes abusers feel threatened based on the moving shadows and shapes. As a result, tweakers may increase the speed of the automobiles. Attempts to evade the 'moving shapes and shadows' may lead to erratic driving patterns that cause accidents. The delusional state propels the tendency of the addicts to carry firearms for personal safety. Most of the addicts maintain firearms in their automobiles and areas of residence (Dean et al., 2013).

Tweakers may participate in spur-of-the-moment crimes such as theft of motor vehicles, purse and wallet snatching, and strong arm robberies. The binge and high-intensity patterns of meth abuse create paranoid delusions and unpredictable behaviors. Meth abuse spans across gender and ethnic boundaries (Roussell et al., 2013).

Short-term effects

Increased physical activity.

Euphoria, brief rush, and an energy surge.


Dangerously elevated body temperature.

Irritability, paranoia.

Loss of appetite.

Uncontrollable jaw clenching.


Vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.


Dilated pupils.

Long-term effects

High blood pressure.

Damaged brain nerve terminals.

Cracked teeth.

Insomnia, paranoia, and prolonged anxiety.

Acne, skin infections, and sores.

Weakened immune system.

Heart infections, kidney disease, liver damage, and lung disease.

Suicidal or homicidal thoughts.

Death (Mehling & Triggle, 2008).

The surge in the numbers of the youth using meth explain some of the common problems such as damage to property, intolerance, and causing injury to themselves. Extensive research on meth abuse indicates that meth use during pregnancy increases the chances of premature delivery, extreme irritability, and abnormal reflexes (McKetin et al., 2012). Lead poisoning occurs as a potential risk to meth users.

The increased meth abuse in the society emanates from the proliferation of the youth culture that encourages the use of hard drugs as a means of peer acceptance, self-discovery, and personal freedom. Constraints of law do not allow law enforcement officers to enter night rave clubs. The lack of legal authority in stepping in the rave clubs means that police require search warrants before entering such premises (Dobkin, & Nicosia, 2009).

Socially active young people experiment with crystal meth irrespective of their social, economic, and religious backgrounds. Today, peer pressure amongst the youth has escalated the levels of hard drug abuse, including meth. A misguided idea on the use of meth regards to weight loss. Meth causes a decrease in appetite levels, making weight loss an effortless process. Weight loss results occur quickly. However, a halt in using meth causes a quick comeback of the lost weight. Increased usage of meth occurs during adolescent psychological development where pressures from peers occur as a critical aspect (Mary-Lynn, and Herbeck, 2013).

Community Impact Resulting from Methamphetamine

At times, individuals forgot the impact of…

Sources Used in Document:


Brackins, T, Brahm, N. C. & Kissack, J. (2011). Treatments for Methamphetamine Abuse: A Literature Review for the Clinician. Journal of Pharmacy Practice. Volume 24(6): 541-550

Brown, R. (2010). Crystal Methamphetamine Use among American Indian and White Youth in Appalachia: Social Context, Masculinity, and Desistance. Addiction Research & Theory, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp. 250-269

Dean, A. C. et al. (2013). An Evaluation of the Evidence That Methamphetamine Abuse Causes Cognitive Decline in Humans. Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Volume 38(2): 259-274

Dobkin, C. & Nicosia, N. (2009). The War on Drugs: Methamphetamine, Public Health, and Crime. The American Economic Review, Volume 99, Issue 1, pp. 324-349

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