Parents, Know the Facts! - Methamphetamine


METHAMPHETAMINE IS A POWERFUL, HIGHLY ADDICTIVE STIMULANT THAT AFFECTS THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM.


Methamphetamine increases the amount of the natural chemical dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is involved in body movement, motivation, and reinforcement of rewarding behaviours. The substance’s ability to rapidly release high levels of dopamine in reward areas of the brain strongly reinforces substance-taking behaviour, making the individual want to repeat the experience.


Forms of methamphetamine: pills, powders, or chunky crystals called ice. Ice, nicknamed crystal meth.


PARAPHERNALIA

Glass and home-made meth pipes; meth tin foil and aluminium cans; cut straws and empty ink pens; needles and syringes; sandwich baggies; spoons; lighters; loose razor blades; mirrors with straight scratch marks; bongs; additional shoelaces; an elastic lanyard; or a hairband.


EFFECTS OF METHAMPHETAMINE

Even tiny doses of methamphetamine may have many of the same negative health consequences as other stimulants such as cocaine or amphetamines. The following effects may be experienced:


Increased attention and decreased fatigue, increased activity and wakefulness, decreased appetite, euphoria and rush, increased respiration, rapid/irregular heartbeat, hyperthermia.


WITHDRAWAL

The symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal averages about two weeks in length. These symptoms can include:


Feelings of fatigue, lethargy, and excessive sleepiness (typical of withdrawal from stimulant medications); increased appetite, dry mouth, and some episodes of jitteriness; depression, apathy, feelings of hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide; extreme cravings; psychotic symptoms such as paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions.

LONG TERM EFFECTS

Acute vision loss, corneal ulcers, strokes and deadly convulsions, intense paranoia, psychotic behaviour, memory loss, aggression, brain damage, breathing problems, heart damage and cardiovascular collapse, severe tooth and gum disease, irregular heartbeat, unhealthy weight loss, visual and auditory hallucinations, out-of-control rages and violent episodes, body sores from scratching, loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain, serotonin-containing nerve cells may be damaged even more extensively, exposure to HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C.

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