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Methamphetamine—also known as Meth, Speed, Crank, Chalk, Go-Fast, Zip and Cristy, and, in it’s smokable form as L.A., Ice, Crystal or Chrystal, 64glass, or Quartz—is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. It’s a synthetic (man-made) drug with a high potential for addiction. Consumers get it as a pill, capsule, powder, or chunks. Or they can smoke it, snort it, take it orally, or inject it. The high doesn’t have to last long, usually 5-30 minutes, and leaves the user with a strong urge for more.

What Meth can do to you
. The list of Meth’s harmful effects is long and includes: brain damage (similar to paranoid schizophrenia); premature aging of the brain, which may lead to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer-like conditions; anxiety; stroke; hallucinations; severe paranoia; violent behavior; suicidal tendencies; excessive dilation of the pupils, nonstop talking; sweating and extreme (like up to 110 degrees) body temperature; lung damage; fluid in lungs; shortness of breath; heart attack; irregular heartbeat; heart damage; loss of appetite; weight loss; anorexia; malnutrition; extreme tooth decay; liver damage; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; body sores; rashes; welts; in women—menstrual problems and infertility; in men—impotence and development of breasts; abnormally high blood pressure; and formication (the feeling\that bugs are crawling under your skin. This is why many meth users have scabs and sores on them—they’re trying to dig out the Crank Bugs or Meth Mites.); sleep deprivation; extreme fatigue (users sometimes sleep for days after coming off of a binge); kidney problems; bone deterioration; and death.

Even in first responders (police, fire, and ambulance personnel, etc.), researchers have linked their exposure to Meth labs to short-term respiratory problems, chemical bronchitis, emphysema, thyroid cancer, kidney cancer, lymphomas, multiple myeloma, and general ill health. In fact, first responders who had been to Meth labs were seven times more likely to miss work than their coworkers.

What Meth’s made of
. It’s manufactured out of about 30 toxic, flammable, and carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals, most of which can be easily bought at hardware stores and pharmacies. It can be made from battery acid, drain cleaner, lantern fuel, and antifreeze. Yum.

How addictive Meth is
. It may be more powerful and addictive than Crack. Statistics show that only about five percent of Meth addicts ever recover. And according to a 1998 survey conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 9.4 million Americans—or roughly four percent of the population—have tried Meth. In 1999 President Clinton’s Drug Czar, Barry McCaffrey, called Meth “the most dangerous drug this nation has ever seen.”

You could save a life by being a real friend to someone using Meth. Check out www.freevibe.com for information on how to help a friend.

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By Vicki Redden. Reprinted with permission from Insight Magazine, January 6, 2007. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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