Drug Myths Debunked: Methamphetamine
Methamphetamine is one of the most intimidating drugs out there for addicts and non-addicts alike. The photos of meth users are enough to shock anyone even meth users themselves. So what is the truth about this drug that has such a bad reputation? Is it true that the US has a meth epidemic? Do all meth users look like they do in the before and after photos? Is it true that after 5 years of meth use you are probably going to die? Let’s find out in this article of drug myths debunked: meth.
What is meth?
Methamphetamine (also known as meth, ice, clouds, crystal, crystal meth, glass, tik, and Tina) is a central nervous stimulant that produces intense euphoria and can keep the user awake for hours and even days at a time with continued use. Meth can be snorted, smoked, or intravenously injected when dissolved in water.
Myth #1: Meth is an epidemic or widespread
Many media outlets have claimed that methamphetamine is taking the country by storm and is a raging epidemic. The truth is that meth is, yes, a dangerous drug but is among the least commonly used. Rates of methamphetamine use have been stable since 1999. Not only that, but meth use among teens has actually dropped not risen. The amount of people using cocaine and marijuana is much higher than it is with meth. This myth is false.
Myth #2: The average length of time from first use of meth to death is five years
It is unknown where this myth came from but the only consistent information is that most meth users don’t even show up in the criminal justice system until year seven which puts this myth to rest.
Myth #3: Using meth once results in addiction.
This myth is said about many drugs not just myth but it is just that; a myth. Meth is a super powerful drug and the first use can cause a powerful euphoric rush that could make its users want to use it again but as with all substance an addiction happens with repeated use not just in one sitting.
Myth #4: Meth is used primarily by white male bikers and truck drivers.
This of course is a stereotype. And stereotypes are merely stereotypes and are not necessarily fact. This myth is probably based on the idea that it was used to reduce fatigue in truck drivers and was dealt by biker gangs. The truth is meth is used by a wide variety of people and has no stereotypical user.
Myth #5: Lung damage from recrystallization
Perhaps the best-known of the meth legends refers to the method of administration in which the user will heat/melt crystal methamphetamine and inhale the resulting methamphetamine vapor. The legend states that the drug, once inhaled, will re-crystallize in large amounts inside the lungs, damaging them in the process. This is a false claim as crystallized methamphetamine is always in the form of a salt (usually methamphetamine hydrochloride), which is highly soluble in water, as well as hydrophilic, and is instantly absorbed into the user’s blood stream.
However, intravenous methylphenidate (Ritalin) use results in a type of lung damage commonly known as “Ritalin Lung”. Methylphenidate (Ritalin or Concerta) tablets are crushed and dissolved into solution for IV injection. The tablets contain talc and other particulates which can deposit in the lung and result in severe emphysema affecting all the lobes of the lung. The “Ritalin Lung” effect could be a possible source of how rumors about methamphetamine damaging the lungs could have surfaced.
Myth #6: Strawberry Quick
Strawberry Quick meth was a drug scare from 2007. Drug dealers were allegedly using coloring and flavoring to disguise methamphetamine as Strawberry Quick, thus making them more appealing to children. The story was widely reported in the media, but no cases of children using flavored meth have been verified. Sometimes meth labs will try to brand their crystal meth product by coloring it in order to make it seem unique and to give it more market appeal. Police and drug enforcement officials have conjectured that the idea for “strawberry meth” may have come from such a process.
Myth #7: Every meth user looks like they do in the meth project photos
This is not true. I have met plenty of heavy meth users that look nothing like those before and after meth photos. Of course it is better to err on the side of caution and say it is likely that anyone who uses meth will end up looking much worse than they started out but not all heavy long term users have their teeth rot out (meth mouth) nor do they have scabs all over their face. Meth can, however, cause brain damage, which is even scarier.
If your loved one is in need of Meth addiction treatment, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.