|METH - 'ICE'
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THE EFFECTS ARE EXAGGERATIONS OF WHAT HAPPENS FOR A CHILD ON METHYLPHENIDATE BUT ILLUSTRATES EFFECTIVELY SOME OF THE RISKS INVOLVED.
Methamphetamine is one of the most addictive drugs in drug history. It is
more addictive than crack cocaine, marijuana, pcp, LCD or heroin.
Methamphetamine is now one of the major problems concerning drugs and
drug related crimes facing our communities across Georgia and the United
Ice" is a large crystal form of high-purity methamphetamine hydrochloride.
Ice derives its name from its appearance: large, clear crystals that resemble
chunks of ice, shards of broken glass, or rock candy.
The Highs and Health Hazards for the User
Meth is a powerfully intense stimulant that creates a euphoric and energetic
feeling. It releases high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which
stimulates brain cells, enhancing mood and body movement. A cocaine high
lasts about 15-20 minutes, while a meth high lasts 2-14 hours. On the street
it is known as crank, speed, crystal or ice. It can be a whitish or pale yellow
crystal-like powder that can be chewed, ingested, injected, snorted or
Meth is highly addictive, personality altering and can cause violent, bizarre
behavior. Other effects on the central nervous system include irritability,
insomnia, confusion and paranoia. Meth robs the body of calcium and
appears to have a neurotoxic effect, damaging brain cells that contain
dopamine and serotonin, another neurotransmitter. Over time meth appears
to cause reduced levels of dopamine, which can result in symptoms like
those of Parkinson's disease and type-two schizophrenia. Meth causes
increased heart rate and blood pressure and can cause irreversible
damage to blood vessels in the brain, producing strokes. Other effects of
meth include respiratory problems, irregular heartbeat and extreme
anorexia. Its use can result in cardiovascular collapse and death.
It was not until 1988 that ice became widespread in Hawaii. By 1990, ice
spread to the U.S. mainland, although distribution remained limited to retail
amounts in just a few regions of the country. In the early 1990s, Koreans
served as the principal supply source for ice that was smuggled from Asia
directly to Hawaii and the U.S. mainland. Intelligence data indicates that
traffickers from Mexico are supplying Asian organizations/gangs on the
West Coast and in Hawaii with methamphetamine for conversion to ice.
Analysis of all samples of ice seized to date in the United States have shown
purity levels of 90 to almost 100 percent. In 1996, ice sold for $200 to $450
per gram, from $5,000 to $8,500 per ounce and $35,000 to $50,000 per
kilogram. Abusers in the United States ingested ice almost exclusively by
smoking the drug in glass pipes.
Methamphetamine is a Schedule II stimulant, which means it has a high
potential for abuse and is available only through a prescription that cannot
be refilled. There are a few accepted medical reasons for its use, such as
the treatment of narcolepsy, attention deficit disorder, and for short-term
use obesity; but these medical uses are limited.
Crank refers to any form of methamphetamine. Ice is a crystallized
smokeable chunk form of methamphetamine that produces a more intense
reaction than cocaine or speed. Ice has an appearance that is clear and
crystal-like, and resembles frozen ice water. Crank and ice are extremely
addictive and produce a severe craving for the drug.
Traditionally, methamphetamine users have suffered the same addiction
cycle and withdrawal reactions as those suffered by crack cocaine users.
Both drugs, after prolonged use, lead to bingeing, which is consuming the
drug continuously for up to 3 days without sleep. The user then is driven
into a severe depression, followed by worsening paranoia, belligerence, and
aggression, which is a period known as tweaking. Finally, the user collapses
from exhaustion, only to awaken days later to begin the cycle again.
The new ephedrine-based methamphetamine has a usage pattern unlike
that of traditional methamphetamine or crack cocaine. Several times more
potent than its other forms, today's methamphetamine produces a reaction
far more severe than even crack cocaine, with sleepless binges that last up
to 15 days and end with sudden crashes. Chronic, high-dose
methamphetamine abusers, often called "speed freaks," are generally
undernourished and have a gaunt appearance, poor hygiene, and rotten
teeth. These individuals inject methamphetamine every 2 to 3 hours and
often as much as 1,000 milligrams each time. Due to the high level of
methamphetamine in their systems, "speed freaks" are extremely paranoid.
"The main problem remains, and will remain, the use of methamphetamine
and other illicit drugs," said Yellowstone County Attorney Dennis Paxinos.
"And the worst part is when they get hopped up on meth and commit
Methamphetamine can be a lethal, dangerous, and unpredictable drug.
Methamphetamine, like cocaine, is a potent central nervous system
stimulant. It can be smoked, snorted, injected, or taken orally; the most
frequent method of methamphetamine use is injection. The drug increases
the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and rate of breathing;
dilates the pupils; produces euphoria, increased alertness, a sense of
increased energy, and tremors. High doses or chronic use have been
associated with increased nervousness, irritability, and paranoia.
Withdrawal from high doses produces severe depression.
Drug-related violence usually occurs in one of three ways: by users under
the influence of the drug, by users who commit violent acts to obtain money
or more of the drug, and by distributors who use violence in the course of
conducting their business.
Every community with a methamphetamine abuse problem has experienced
violence in some form; most commonly this appears as domestic disputes.
The extreme agitation and paranoia associated with use of the stimulant
often lead to situations where violence is more likely to occur. Chronic use
of methamphetamine can cause delusions and auditory hallucinations that
precipitate violent behavior or response.
PREGNANCY AND METHAMPHETAMINE
If methamphetamines are used during pregnancy, babies tend to be:
incapable of bonding
have birth defects
cry for 24 hours without stopping
There is also an increased risk of child abuse and neglect of children born
to parents who use methamphetamines.
Read "Meth Effects on the Brain and Body"