Crystal meth is the common name for the illegal psychoactive drug methamphetamine, a strong and highly addictive chemical that affects the central nervous system. Appearing in the form of white crystals or crystalline powder, meth is a potent, and highly addictive stimulant, and is also referred to as, “crystal”, “tina”, “ice”, or “glass”. A popular party drug, meth is administered by snorting, smoking out of a glass pipe, swallowing, and injecting, and has become nothing short of an epidemic in America and the rest of the world. Characterized by an intense rush of euphoria, meth is very dangerous, and the use of it can cause severe psychological problems, and physically damage the body.
Meth use has been prevalent in America for nearly a century. Soldiers were given meth during World War II to keep them awake, and many have used forms of the drug in an effort to lose weight. When meth is used, a powerful chemical called dopamine floods the pleasure centers of the brain, commonly resulting in a life-altering dependance on the drug for people that want to maintain this effect. Dopamine is involved with the reinforcement of rewarding behaviors, and so people that experience a rush of the chemical are drawn to continue to chase that rewarding behavior. Users are also attracted to the feelings of power, confidence and energy that accompany the drug.
Over time, as people continue to use meth, it begins to systematically destroy the body, resulting in health conditions such as memory loss, aggression, psychosis, and can result in heart conditions and serious brain damage. Users also often pick at their skin, causing sores and welts. Meth has the effect of aging the body very rapidly, causing those who are addicted to look many years their senior in a short period of time.
“The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated the worldwide production of amphetamine-type stimulants, which includes methamphetamine, at nearly 500 metric tons a year, with 24.7 million abusers. The United States government reported in 2008 that approximately 13 million people over the age of 12 have used methamphetamine—and 529,000 of those are regular users.” (A Worldwide Epidemic of Addiction). Meth has continued to grow as a serious problem for the United States, with tons of it being transported over the United States, Mexico border at alarming rates. Meth originates largely from Mexican “super labs” controlled by notorious crime syndicates south of the border, but it has also become increasingly popular to make meth in home labs within the United States, a process that is extremely dangerous, as it involves highly toxic chemicals, and can result in cataclysmic explosions.
Needless to say that the meth epidemic is one that is taking a major toll on the people of the United States. There exists a direct correlation between meth use and violent crime, and as the problem continues to get worse, so too will the rates of crime in the United States.