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Pills of Methamphetamine
Pure Crystal Meth
Chemical structure of Meth

Methamphetamine (also called methylamphetamine, desoxyephedrine, Crystal Meth or just meth) is a man-made stimulant drug.[1][2] Many people use it illegally, but it is occasionally used legally by prescription to treat Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obesity as "Desoxyn".[1][3][4] Methamphetamine has two forms, left-hand and right-hand. Left-hand methamphetamine helps fight stuffy nose and is legal while right-hand makes people feel high and is mostly illegal. This page is mostly about the right-hand form. When people take methamphetamine, it creates a strong feeling of euphoria (happiness) and energy. Methamphetamine is very addictive.[2] This means that when people start taking the drug, they will want to keep taking more, even if it is making them sick. Methamphetamine users often begin to lose weight because of the loss of appetite (wanting to eat) that occurs.

Methamphetamine can be in powder or crystal form, and can be snorted, smoked, injected, or eaten.[5][6] In its smoked form, methamphetamine is known as "ice," "crystal," "crank," or "glass".

Ingestion methods


With the "snorting" method, the methamphetamine crystals are ground up and made into little lines (also called rails) and inhaled through the nose with rolled up paper, rolled up dollar bills, empty plastic pen tubes, short plastic straws, or other such things that can be made into a small "tube" shape.

In this method, the effects of methamphetamine last longer than in the smoking or injecting method. In fact, in this method, the effects of methamphetamine can last as long as twelve hours.[7] However, the effect takes longer to feel than smoking or injecting,[6] and there is not as strong of a "rush" (happy feeling).[8] Snorting methamphetamine can be damaging to the nasal septum on the inside of the nose. Also, if people share the same snorting tube, they can get infections.


The crystals are placed into a glass pipe (called a "meth pipe") or a hollowed out lightbulb and warmed up from underneath by a flame (lighter, matches etc.). The methamphetamine is not actually "smoked" this way, but heated up until it melts. When it melts it turns into a gas that is then inhaled by the user. Smoking gives one of the fastest onset of the "happy feeling" and the strongest "happy" feeling. However, the vapor (gas) can damage the lungs, and smoking is more addictive than snorting or eating.


Methamphetamine can be mixed with water, then put into a needle and injected. Injecting gives one of the fastest onset of the "happy feeling" and the strongest "happy" feeling. However, it can damage the body, it is very addictive, and people can get infections from dirty needles.


If methamphetamine is eaten, it gets absorbed into the body from the digestive system and results in a longer wait for the effects and a longer duration of effects.

Effects of methamphetamine

If people use methamphetamine, they may take too much and get sick or, rarely, die. This is called an overdose. Also, when people take methamphetamine, they can become aggressive. Long-term diseases include Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. In fact, a teenager taking methamphetamine can show symptoms similar to Alzheimer's.[9]

Methamphetamine is highly addictive because of the "come down" as the drug's effect begins to wear off. Many users claim to have an uncontrollable urge to get more of the drug, after using it. This effect of the drug is part of the reason methamphetamine can be so addictive.

Sharing needles among users will increase the chance of getting infections or diseases. Getting high on methamphetamine can also increase one's libido but also makes it take longer to ejaculate.

Health issues

Methamphetamine mouth

A suspected case of meth mouth

"Meth Mouth" is a term used to describe the tooth deterioration caused by using methamphetamine. Meth mouth destruction can be quick – a new addict can go from having healthy teeth to total tooth loss in as little as one year. Despite popular belief, the decay is not caused by the methamphetamine chemical itself, but the dry mouth, consumption of sugary beverages and lack of hygiene in some users.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "METHAMPHETAMINE (Trade Name: Desoxyn®; Street Names: Meth, Speed, Crystal, Glass, Ice, Crank, Yaba)". Retrieved January 23, 2011.[dead link]
  2. 2.0 2.1 "NIDA – Research Report Series – Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction". Retrieved January 22, 2011.
  3. "DESOXYN" (PDF). Food and Drug Administration. pp. 1, 7. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  4. "CRS Report for Congress" (PDF). May 22, 2006. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  5. "NIDA – Research Report Series – Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction". Retrieved January 22, 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Methamphetamine Fast Facts". Retrieved January 23, 2011.
  7. "Illinois Attorney General – Basic Understanding Of Meth". Retrieved January 23, 2011.
  8. "CEWG Publications – 6/99 Seattle Advance Report – Epidemiologic Trends in Drug Abuse – NIDA". Retrieved January 23, 2011.
  9. "Signs of Methamphetamine use in youths – Alcohol and Drug Abuse Information – Vermont Department of Health". Retrieved January 23, 2011.