During World War II, methamphetamine, or meth for short, was commonly used among soldiers to help keep them focused on the battlefield. In fact, meth was medically approved in the US, and often prescribed to treat depression until abuse rates began to rise and the drug was made illegal for most uses in 1971.
Despite currently being classified as a schedule II stimulant, meth is one of the deadliest and most widely abused drugs in the United States. Results from a 2017 survey show that approximately 1.6 million Americans had used meth in the past year.
So what exactly is meth, and how can you tell if someone you know has been using it?
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that can be smoked, snorted, or injected, depending on its form. It can make users feel alert and exhilarated, but can also cause paranoia, aggression, and confusion.
Meth is highly addictive, especially if the user has smoked its crystal form, commonly known as crystal meth.
Physical Signs of Methamphetamine Use
If someone you love is using methamphetamine, you’ll likely see a quick and dramatic change in their physical appearance. You might notice that they:
- Develop sores or pimples that never seem to heal
- Suddenly seem to look much older
- Have a dry mouth and/or stained or rotting teeth
You should also be on the lookout for any paraphernalia that may be lying around. The paraphernalia required to use meth changes depending on the form it’s being taken in, but common items include pipes, lighters, tin foil shaped into a bowl, straws, syringes, and razor blades.
Behavioral Signs of Methamphetamine Use
If someone you love has been using meth, you may notice that they’ve begun acting quite differently. Maybe they:
- Are very twitchy or have developed facial tics
- Obsessively pick at their skin
- Seem to be able to stay awake for days or even weeks at a time
- Have lost their appetite, causing a dramatic weight loss
- Have developed paranoia and/or are experiencing hallucinations
Getting Help for A Methamphetamine Addiction
Meth is one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs out there, and a meth addiction is one of the hardest to treat – but it isn’t impossible. Getting the proper help and support to recover from a methamphetamine addiction can make the difference between life and death.