Methamphetamine or meth is a highly addictive stimulant drug. Initially, meth was used for therapeutic purposes, but now most people use it as a recreational drug or abuse. Surprisingly, methamphetamines are FDA-approved and are the go-to prescription drug for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Even still, not everyone is up-to-date with meth addiction facts and statistics. Keep reading to learn more about surprising meth facts you probably didn’t know.
What are Methamphetamines?
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that works with the central nervous system. Sometimes known as meth, blue, crystal, and ice, meth looks like a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that dissolves in water and alcohol.
Unlike other addictive drugs, meth has been around since the early 1920s. Initially, meth was used to treat depression, alcoholism, ADHD, and narcolepsy. With meth becoming increasingly available, more and more people started misusing the drug and developing substance use disorder.
Types of Meth
Beyond prescription methamphetamines, there are many illicit forms of meth available on the streets. While they might be slightly different in chemical structure, overall, they have the same qualities. The different types of meth can be distinguished by their appearance that can be:
- Powder – a white powder, also known as “speed,” which is one of the least potent forms of meth because it’s mixed with other substances. Sometimes powder is pressed into pills.
- Base – an oily substance that can be snorted, swallowed, or injected with higher potency and purity than powder. Also known as “wax,” “pure,” or “paste.”
- Crystal – also known as “ice,” or “crystal meth,” it’s a crystalline substance of white appearance. It’s the most potent form of meth, usually injected or smoked.
5 Interesting Methamphetamine Addiction Facts You Should Know
Most people are aware that methamphetamine addiction is one of the biggest struggles of today’s society. The meth addiction epidemic reaches every state of the country and impacts people of all ages and walks. Here are some shocking facts about meth you probably didn’t know.
1. Meth Is Not Immediately Addictive
Unlike other prescription medications and illicit drugs, methamphetamine is not instantly addictive. Most people who use meth don’t develop an addiction, but they might become dependent. For those who develop an addiction it often takes long-term misuse or the combination of other drugs or alcohol to trigger a craving.
2. First-time Users Don’t Experience Intense Symptoms
Surprisingly, first-time meth users don’t experience many of the short-term signs of misuse. Initially, they feel more active, alert, and a bit euphoric, but the experience only lasts between six to twelve hours. Meth forces the brain to produce 1,250 more times the dopamine it produces during highly satisfactory activities, like having sex.
Because first-time users don’t experience the dehydration, elevated body temperature, sleep deprivation, weight loss, and other side effects of continuous meth use, they get hooked.
The brain is then trapped into looking for this incomparable exciting experience, which leaves users “chasing the dragon,” or trying to replicate that first experience, which will never occur again. Eventually, they start building a dependency, might combine other drugs, and then struggle with addiction.
3. People Are More Likely to Experience Psychosis
One study tracked the journey of methamphetamine addicts and their abstinence for five weeks. In the end, the study found that people experienced significant depression symptoms and signs of psychosis during their withdrawal episodes. Although psychosis symptoms went away quickly under supervised medical attention, it took at least one week for these symptoms to reside. Meth cravings were still intense and frequent among most patients in recovery, even five weeks after their last dose.
4. Some Types of Meth Are Still Legal
Pharmaceutical meth is still legally available under the brand name Desoxyn, which is used to treat severe obesity, ADHD, and narcolepsy. Other forms derived from amphetamine are still available as Adderall, Ritalin, and others. Because meth is used to treat prevalent conditions like ADHD and anxiety, millions of people still have prescription access to these medications.
5. Meth Can Cause Brain Changes
Perhaps one of the most devastating side effects of long-term meth addiction is the changes it causes to the brain. Those with prolonged meth abuse have a higher risk of experiencing neuronal death, which can lead to permanent damage because neurons’ ability to regenerate is limited.
When this happens, the brain structure can change and affect someone’s ability to learn new information, cause attention-deficit, and visualize objects in space, affect their reasoning and problem-solving capabilities, as well as other cognitive functions.
Meth Addiction Statistics
The rates of methamphetamine addictions in the United States are one of the most alarming. Even with many efforts to lower the numbers, these meth statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse continue to impress everyone.
- Around 14.7 million people say they have used methamphetamines at least once in their life.
- In 2017, close to 1.6 million people reported using methamphetamine within the past year.
- The average methamphetamine abuser is 23 years old.
- Close to 964,000 people struggle with meth use disorder.
- Roughly 70% of law enforcement officers from the pacific and west-central area say meth is the most significant drug threat in their communities.
- Almost 15% of all overdose deaths in 2017 can be traced to meth addiction.
- About 49 for every 100,000 drug rehab patient seeks treatment for methamphetamine addiction.
- The states seeing the worst rise in meth addiction cases are Washington, Colorado, Texas, Florida, and Georgia.
Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment
Luckily, meth addiction treatment options are widely available. Most of the time, someone will start with a detox program paired with partial hospitalization treatments to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms.
Meth Medical Detox: Under the right supervision and medical care, patients start to get off meth while doctors and clinicians monitor withdrawal symptoms and more.
Intensive Outpatient Programs: When patients have daily obligations like work, school, or caregiving, IOPs offer a more flexible rehab program that adapts to their needs.
Long-term Recovery Programs: A way to offer long-term recovery assistance, so patients can have ongoing support and the tools they need to maintain long-lasting sobriety.
Get Help Today
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, don’t hesitate to call. Contact Lighthouse Recovery Institute and speak with one of our addiction specialists to learn more about our comprehensive and personalized addiction treatment programs. Living a drug-free life can be a phone call away.