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Amphetamine & Methamphetamine Ampthemanines & Methamphetamines

Street Names:- Speed, Meth, Chalk, whiz, uppers, amph, billy, sulphate, grudge, dexys, blues, base, ups, wake ips, bennies, black beauties, jollies, crazy medicine, yaba & crazy horse. When smoked, terms such as 'ice', 'crystal', 'glass', 'crank' & 'tina' refer to 'Methamphetamines'

 What is 'Meth' or Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine and Cocaine are termed 'psycho-stimulants' as they artificially excite the production of certain 'feel good' neurotransmitters in the brain and the 'reward system'. 'Methamphetamine is a perticularly powerful addictive stimulatn that can be made in 'backyard laboratories; illegally and from largley inexpensive ingredients.

 Origins of 'Meth'

Amphetamines were first synthesized in 1887, and its derivative 'methamphetamine' in 1919. They were both initially used for the treatment of obesity, as a nasal decongestant, in bronchial inhalers (as used for asthma), narcolepsy, depression, childhood hyperactivity, 'hangovers' & as an anti-emetic during pregnancy. Amphetamines affect neurotransmitters such as Norepinephrine - involved with energy, arousal, and heightened senses; and are similar in effect to that which is produced by cocaine.

 How 'Meth' is used

Methamphetamine can be snorted, injected, smoked or ingested. The effects vary according to the route of administration, as does the degree, longevity & immediacy of the effect. For example; when smoked or injected the user will experience an intense 'rush' that is described as 'extremely pleasurable', yet last for only a few minutes. Snorting or ingesting 'Meth' results in reported 'euphoria'; a 'high', but not a 'rush' as with injecting or smoking. Ingestion will produces these effects within 15 to 20 minutes; snorting, within 3 to 5 minutes.

One of the very serious problems with 'Meth' use is a phenomenon known as the 'binge & crash' pattern; whereby tolerance leads to greater quantaties, more frequently in order to obtain the 'high'; followed by the inevitable 'crash' when withdrawn, due to the rapid decrease in concentration in the blood.

Ingredients of Methamphetamines 

Methamphetamine is made primarily from 'over the counter' medications & other household substances & chemicals. These include:

  • Pseudoephidrine (cold & flu medicine)
  • Iodine
  • Hydrochloric Acid
  • Acetone
  • Anhydrous ammonia (a fertilizer)
  • Sulphuric Acid
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Lithium (as found in batteries)
  • Toluene (a 'brake' cleaner')
  • Red phosphorus (as in matches or flares)

Effects of Methamphetamines 

Binges and excessive use or abuse can often lead to a 'crash' when the drug is withdrawn. Emotional & physical exhaustion, depression & the capacity to react to stress are symptoms that can be experienced. Extended use of amphetamines can result in a type of 'Parkinson's Disease' symptomatology (pseudo-parkinsonism) due to the decrease in Dopamine and the permanent cerebral cell damage caused. Psychotic symptoms seen in 'Schizophrenia' can also be manifested; paranoia, delusions, hallucinations; sometimes permanently.

Short Term

  • Increased wakefulness
  • Increase physical activity
  • Hyperthermia
  • Euphoria or 'feeling of intense pleasure'
  • Increased heart rate & respirations
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increase in basal metabolic rate

Long Term

  • Addiction
  • Violence - prone to sudden outbursts of anger & hostility
  • Chronic Anxiety, confusion & distorted cognition
  • Insomnia
  • Psychotic symptoms that may not abate in its absence; leading to permanent psychosis or Schizophrenia
  • Suicidal &/or homicidal thoughts
  • Permanent damage to brain structure in all areas, particularly those whose supplies of Dopoamine & Serotonin have been dramatically affected

Physical Damage from 'Meth' 

  • 'Speed' puts strain on the heart. It's 'bad news' for people with high blood pressure or who have a heart condition. An overdose can be 'fatal'.
  • Excessive use of Methamphetamine or Amphetamine drastically affects the 'immune system' leading to regular 'ill-health' - colds, flu, respiritory problems & throat infections; too much 'speed' & you'll be 'sneezing lumps' from your nose
  • Brain & neurotransmitter damage; sometimes permanently
  • Irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain; providing a susceptibility to 'strokes'
  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Respiritory problems; sometimes secondary to smoking 'meth'
  • Irregular heartbeat & cardiac anomolies; sometimes cardiovascular collapse & death
  • Extreme anorexia & weight loss
  • Speed taken with antidepressants or alcohol is a combination that has been known to be fatal
  • Injecting any drug can cause vein damage, ulcers & gangrene. Dirty or shared needles and injecting materials can help the spread of hepatitis & HIV. Injecting 'speed' is particularly dangerous because it's made of, & cut with 'crap'.

Many researchers believe 'Meth' may be toxic to the brain, causing cell damage, even after abuse has ceased. It alters the brain chemistry in the long term and is proven to reduce the amount of a chemical called 'N-acetyl'aspartate'. This chemical's loss has been identified in diseases such as 'Alzheimer's', 'Epilepsy', and 'Brain Tumours'.

 Psychological (mental health) 'damage' & effects of 'Meth' 

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritibility
  • Aggression & Violence
  • Psychosis - 'Hallucinations' (auditory, visual & 'tactile'; they may feelthey have 'things' crawling all over them)& 'Delusions' (particularly paranoid)
  • Schizophrenia

Withdrawal of Methamphetamine can result in an exacerbation of all of the above damaging psychological effects; in intensity & consequences.

Methamphetamines cause a 'massive' & 'rapid' release of the 'feel good' neurotransmitters Dopamine; involved in the 'reward centre', 'motivation', 'pleasure' & 'motor function'; and 'Serotonin'; involved in 'mood' & 'emotions'. Chronic 'meth' users very often experience emotional retardation or 'blunting', depression and cognitive problems; having 'burned-out' their synapses.

Sadly there has been a dramatic increase in admissions to emergency departments for the adverse effects of methamphetamines & amphetamines; these being related to psychotic symptoms & violence. This can be as a result of the immediate efffefcts or that of 'tweaking'; the behaviour associated with sleep deprivation of between 3 to 15 days and where the user is unable to obtain the high initially acheived. The frustration, anxiety & paranoia can often quickly excalate into violence, crime and serious accidents....even suicide.

Should you have concerns regarding any issue relating to your 'mental or physical well-being', 'Kick off' strongly recommend you seek professional assistance. This may entail contacting your GP or similar clinician (Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Counsellor etc.). You may also contact the appropriate agency or service that might assist you. Irrespective of your choice, ensure you see someone who might help. 


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