Methamphetamine is a powerful central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that affects dopamine, one the essential neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mood. It can cause long-term damage to the brain’s ability to produce dopamine, and therefore users often feel extremely depressed and can not experience normal feelings of happiness and contentment long after they stop using. For this reason it has one of the highest relapse rates for addicts and is considered extremely resistant to treatment. This a highly addictive drug sold as pills, capsules, or powder and it can be ingested, injected, snorted, or smoked. Many abusers use it for its appetite-suppressing effects. A toxic reaction can occur at relatively small doses (50 mg) in some people, particularly first-time users who can not tolerate the effects.

What to Look for:
Euphoric “high” state (excessively happy)
Decreased appetite/weight loss
Increased physical activity
Anxiety, shaking hands, nervousness
Incessant talking
Increased temperature (can rise as high as 108 degrees and cause death)
Convulsions at high doses
Chest pain, elevated blood pressure
Dilated pupils
Dry or itchy skin
Sweating not related to physical activity
Irritable and moody (mood swings)
Picking at skin or hair
Aggressive or violent behavior
Depression (withdrawal/tolerance effect)

Methamphetamines are often made in clandestine drug labs, sometimes in the house next door. This presents extreme risks for neighbors of drug makers and leads to serious environmental consequences. For every pound of methamphetamine produced, about six pounds of toxic waste are left behind. There is a high risk of explosions and fires at meth labs. Cleanup of a discovered lab can cost as much as $150,000 and is extremely hazardous work for law enforcement personnel.

Signs that you might be living next to a meth lab: Large amounts of chemicals being brought into the home; cat litter (but no cat); plastic tubing; strong chemical smell (often describe as urine-like smell); odd hours kept by residents; numerous propane tanks; brown/orange stains on walls, carpets; unusually large supplies of any of the following: starter fluid, antifreeze, Coleman fuel, cold medicine containing ephedrine, lab equipment, lithium batteries (stripped), matchbooks with matches missing, ether, hydrogen peroxide, acetone.

Slang: Crystal Meth, crank, bathtub crank, glass, pep pills, stove top, uppers, tweak, ice (when smoked), whitecross, speedball, go fast, Shabu sketch, granulated orange