Crack, marijuana, PCP, heroine, mushrooms, alcohol, LSD, opium, and the list goes on. Plenty of addictive drugs have entered the United States in the past; methamphetamine is just one of the many. It can be produced using everyday household products and is very addictive. Methamphetamine, or meth, is often referred to as the poor people’s drug because it can be manufactured at such a low cost. It can also be bought at lower costs than other name brand drugs such as cocaine. Those likely to take this drug are low to middle class people. With the low cost, there are also teenagers that are able to place their hands upon it. According to the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 12.4 million Americans twelve years and older have tried methamphetamine at least once in their lifetimes. The majority of the past-year users were between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four (National Institute on Drug Abuse 2). A majority of the time, the abuser suffers from low self-esteem and is said to be immature.
Often not being able to bear frustration, they take meth in order to feel effective and accomplished in life (Greenberg 29). Knowing what meth is, along with the physical and psychological side effects may help others understand this complex drug. “An amine derivative of amphetamine, used in the form of its crystalline hydrochloride as a stimulant,” is The American heritage College Dictionary’s definition of methamphetamine (1009). This illegal drug stimulates the “feel good” response in the body. This response can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days. Being a modification of amphetamine, meth once had medical purposed that originally included being a treatment for asthma (white 26). As time passed, it soon became an appetite suppressant for those unable to lose weight by any other means, and after that, it was a general treatment for depression (28). When meth was used for medical purposed, it was often taken by mouth (Greenberg 27). Other means of getting the drug into a person’s system include snorting, smoking, and injection. Putting this drug into the body can cause plenty of physical and psychological problems.
The physical side effects of methamphetamine are like those of cocaine. Being a stimulant, high blood pressure, loss of appetite, and loss of sleep are common symptoms of use. However, unlike cocaine, the effects can last for days (White 27). Chronic meth use can cause the user to become dependant on the drug. The more a person abused this habit, the more of the drug they have to take in order to achieve the same “feel good” sense of being (Greenberg 28). Coming off the drug, or crashing, makes the user tired and experience mood swings. The victim begins to grow restless, irritable, and over-talkative. If their run lasted a long period of time, then the user is likely to sleep anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days, almost in a coma-like state (26). They then feel the need for more methamphetamine, and a cycle is produced. Using this stimulant may improve the performance of physical tasks for the time being, but intellectual tasks may take a turn for the worse (White 27). The psychological state of mind also suffers with the use of meth. Logical, everyday thinking becomes disordered, and poor judgment is often used.
The abuser may develop symptoms like those of schizophrenia and can be in a mental hospital before the real cause is diagnosed (Greenberg 30). Paranoia also creeps in as the person begins to feel as if someone is after them. Abuse of meth can cause a psychotic-like state, where delusions and hallucinations take place (White 27). The person often rides on an emotional roller coaster. In worst case scenarios, homicidal or suicidal attempts may occur (Greenberg 32). ). Dr. Harvey S. Greenberg states, “Psychiatrists believe that the pep pill heads who get the sickest were very unstable to begin with; that [methamphetamine] uncover an illness that was probably there all the time, just waiting for the right stress to come along (32). The abuser often realized that they are slowly going crazy, and to make up for feeling that way, they often take even more of the drug. This leads to a point of fear, being terribly confused, and losing base with reality (32-33). Death from overdose has and can occur, but it has only happened on occasion. Convulsions, collapse of breathing, and bleeding within the brain is usually the route that death takes in this drug (29). Users of methamphetamine often know that they have a problem, but feel like they can’t give it up. One-time, as well as continuous use can cause plenty of negative aspects. By taking a look at what it is, and the physical and psychological side effects, a person can decide whether or not taking this drug is worth it.