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National Methamphetamine Epidemic

National Methamphetamine Epidemic

Crystal meth, also referred to as meth, is one of the most addictive, dangerous and deadly drugs in existence yet people continue to try it every day. The following explores what meth is, and also highlights the meth capital of the U.S. and the meth capital of the world, which are locations many people may find surprising. We’ll also cover some other relevant meth statistics.

What is Meth?

Meth is a synthetic drug, meaning it’s made from chemicals and it can be produced in a laboratory. Meth can even be made using something called the "shake and bake method," in which the ingredients are mixed in a plastic bottle. The base ingredient in meth is pseudoephedrine, which is found in over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines. This is put through a process that extracts the active ingredient from the medicine, which is then mixed with highly toxic chemicals such as acetone or ammonia in order to make a more powerful drug.

Meth can be smoked, snorted or injected, and it is a stimulant, like cocaine. When someone takes meth, they will feel a rush of euphoria and extreme happiness and they will also feel more confident and social. Unfortunately, in addition to the ravaging physical effects of meth, there are also terrible mental effects, as well.

For example, people who take meth may experience aggression, hallucinations and severe mood swings.

How Does Meth Work?

As a stimulant, when someone takes meth, it impacts their central nervous system, including their brain and spinal cord. It influences how chemicals communicate between nerve cells and brain cells. More specifically, when you take meth, it has an impact on the neurotransmitter dopamine.When you take the drug, large amounts of dopamine, a feel-good chemical, are released, which is what creates the rush.

Following a binge on meth, individuals will often experience something called tweaking. This can include paranoia, hallucination, and delusions. Meth users also often experience a severe crash, or period of depression, because their dopamine supply is depleted from using the drug.

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