Methamphetamine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that dramatically affects the central nervous system. The drug is made easily in clandestine laboratories with relatively inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients. These factors combine to make methamphetamine a drug with high potential for widespread abuse. It is either smoked, snorted or injected.
Methamphetamine is commonly known as "speed," "meth," and "chalk." In its smoked form it is often referred to as "ice," "crystal," "crank," and "glass." It is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol. Methamphetamine's chemical structure is similar to that of amphetamine, but it has more pronounced effects on the central nervous system. The effects of methamphetamine can last 6 to 8 hours. After the initial "rush," there is typically a state of high agitation that in some individuals can lead to violent behavior.
Prolonged expusure to crystal meth creates a sleep-deprived state of paranoia and delusions in association with the violence. A person on methamphetamine often displays heavy psychotic symptoms. In addition, meth-addiced people often have extremely poor hygeine and do not bathe frequently, have rotting teeth, and pick at their skin - causing sores all over their body.
Methamphetamine can be manufactured by using products commercially available anywhere in the United States or Canada. The chemicals used in producing methamphetamine are extremely volatile, and the amateur chemists running makeshift laboratories -- often in hotels or areas where children are present -- cause deadly explosions and fires. The by-products of methamphetamine production are extremely toxic. Methamphetamine traffickers display no concern about environmental hazards when it comes to manufacturing and disposing of methamphetamine and its by-products.
In order for someone to have a better chance at recovery from methamphetamine addiction, it is essential to eliminate the remaining toxic residues of the drug from the person's body. These chemicals cause severe damage and can remain lodged in the tissue for years, causing relapse if not removed.