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What Is Methamphetamine?

This article is sponsored by Harbor Village Detox & Treatment Center

Methamphetamine is part of the family of drugs known as amphetamines.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It's often called crystal meth (or ice) because it looks like shards of crystal with light shining through. It's also commonly known as meth or crank. It can be snorted, swallowed, smoked or injected.

Smoking meth gives you a powerful high that lasts between 4 and 12 hours; much longer than crack cocaine. Some people smoke it using a glass pipe and others "chase" it, heating it on foil and inhaling the smoke. The drug makes you feel alert, energetic and powerful. People using the drug become talkative, fidgety and energetic. Side effects include a racing heart, sleeplessness and loss of appetite.  There is also a danger of psychosis and violent outbursts. When high, chronic users have been known to pick at their skin, causing lesions.

As the drug leaves the system it can cause feelings of depression, violent mood swings and the sweats.  These symptoms can last for days or even weeks.  Chronic use can lead to severe tooth decay ("meth mouth") and may exacerbate other existing mental afflictions.

Meth use is at epidemic proportions. In 2012, the U.S. government reported that more than 1.2 million people reported using methamphetamine in the past year, and 440,000 reported using it in the past month.  Most of the meth abused in the U.S. comes from large scale facilities, although the drug can also be made in small illegal labs.  According to the 2014 National Drug Test Assessment Survey, 31.8 percent of responding agencies indicated methamphetamine was the greatest drug threat in their areas.

Meth seized in the U.S. (by city):

  • NY (New York): 12.3 kg
  • Chicago (Illinois):  87.0 kg
  • Boston (Massachusetts); 0 kg
  • Philadelphia (Pennsylvania); 1.4 kg
  • Atlanta (Georgia): 77.4 kg
  • Baltimore (Maryland): 0.4 kg
  • Hartford (Connecticut):  0 kg
  • Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania): 1.4 kg
  • Minneapolis (Minnesota): 2.1 kg
  • Las Vegas (Nevada): 45.0 kg
  • Tampa (Florida): 87.0 kg

Sharon Damon is a preschool specialist, avid reader, passionate writer and creative baker/ cook. She has been a cooking instructor at a local Rec Center in Henderson, NV since 2011, and has written for Examiner and other publications since 2010. She knows her way around the keyboard and the kitchen! Sharon moved from a small city in Canada to Las Vegas 6 years ago, to marry the love of her life, and has since been swept up in the whirlwind known as Sin City. Her work can be found at

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