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METHAMPHETAMINE...
 
 
  ....Cardiovascular side effects may include chest pain and hypertension which can result in cardiovascular collapse and death. It also causes accelerated heartbeat, elevated blood pressure and convulsions....
 
.... Toxic reaction can occur at relatively low levels...
 
....after extended use it also can change the brain in fundamental and long-lasting ways. It kills by causing heart failure, brain damage, stroke and kidney failure, and induces extreme, acute psychiatric and psychological symptoms....
 
..... Some people never recover and remain dissatisfied with life because of permanent brain damage...
 
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
 
What is methamphetamine?
An addictive stimulant that dramatically affects many areas of the central nervous system. It can easily be made in mom-and-pop home laboratories from inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients and is often available at a relatively low cost from other users and distributors. It is often referred to as "speed," "meth," "go-fast," "zip," "cristy" and "chalk," and can be smoked, orally ingested, snorted or injected in its different forms. In its crystalline powder form, it is odorless, white and bitter tasting, and can easily be dissolved in water or alcohol. It has been referred to as the poor man's cocaine.
 
What are some of the street names?
 
Meth, poor man's cocaine, crystal meth, ice, glass, speed, crank, tweak, uppers, black beauties.
 
Who is using it? Though traditionally associated with white, male, blue-collar workers, it is now reportedly being used by diverse groups throughout the United States, including more teenagers. Use is increasing among gay men who also use other drugs, making this population more vulnerable to contracting and spreading sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. Young adults who attend "raves" or private clubs also are increasing use. Notable increases are reported among homeless and runaway youths, motorcycle gang members, long-haul truckers and among male and female commercial sex workers who also trade sex for drugs.
 
How big a problem is meth in Georgia and Alabama? State and local area officials say meth is quickly becoming the No. 1 illegal drug problem in their jurisdictions. Crack cocaine is also still a major problem. Where is meth manufactured and distributed? Methamphetamine is produced both domestically, in smaller quantities in home labs or in super-labs concentrated on the West coast, and imported into the U.S. in processed form. Mexico is a major source, with large quantities reportedly coming in through Texas. Atlanta is a major destination and distribution point for imported meth in the Southeast. Most of the home producers in this region usually make small quantities for themselves, their families and friends.
 
What ingredients are used to make meth? The essential ingredient is over-the-counter cold and asthma medications containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. Other ingredients include anhydrous ammonia, red phosphorus, hydrochloric acid, drain cleaner, lithium, dry ice, lye, lantern fuel and antifreeze.
 
What are the health risks? In all forms, the drug stimulates the central nervous system, with effects lasting from four to 24 hours. It not only modifies behavior in an acute state, but after extended use it also can change the brain in fundamental and long-lasting ways. It kills by causing heart failure, brain damage, stroke and kidney failure, and induces extreme, acute psychiatric and psychological symptoms that can lead to violent behavior including murder or suicide. Symptoms of prolonged use can resemble those of schizophrenia and are characterized by anger, panic, auditory and visual hallucinations, repetitive behavior patterns and delusions of parasites or insects on the skin. Extended use has resulted in teeth crumbling.
 
What are the short-term effects? Even small amounts can produce euphoria, increase alertness, paranoia, decrease appetite and increase physical activity. Users say it also stimulates sexual pleasure, but long-term use can destroy sexual desire. Cardiovascular side effects may include chest pain and hypertension which can result in cardiovascular collapse and death. It also causes accelerated heartbeat, elevated blood pressure and convulsions.
 
What are the signs to look for in a meth user?
 
They include pupil dilation, respiratory disorders, dizziness, tooth grinding, impaired speech, loss of appetite, acne, sores, sweating, anxiousness, incessant talking, extreme moodiness and irritability, sleep disturbances, false sense of confidence and power, severe depression, anger, violent behavior, jerky or flailing movements.
 
How much of the drug is safe to use? Toxic reaction can occur at relatively low levels -- 50 milligrams of pure drug for a nontolerant user. Metabolic rates vary from person to person and the strength of the illegal form of the drug varies from batch to batch. So there is no way to state a "safe" level of usage. Those who already have health conditions, such as heart or kidney trouble, would be at greater risk even using small amounts. Because meth use can cause extreme rise in body temperature, physical exertion increases hazards. Babies can be born meth-addicted if their mothers use it and may develop birth defects, low birth weight, tremors, excessive crying, attention deficit disorder and behavior disorders.
 
Why do people start using methamphetamine? Athletes and students sometimes start on it because of the initially heightened physical and mental performance the drug produces. Some workers may use it to help them work longer hours. Young women often use it to help lose weight. Others use it recreationally to stay energized at parties or other social activities. It is also less expensive and more accessible than cocaine. Users sometimes have the misconception that it is not a drug.
 
Is it an addictive drug? Meth abusers have been described by some treatment providers as "the hardest to treat" of all drug users. They do experience meth withdrawal. Meth addicts get over the acute effects of withdrawal fairly quickly. However, the "wall" period lasts 6-8 months for casual users and two or three years for regular users. Some people never recover and remain dissatisfied with life because of permanent brain damage. The "wall" period is a time of prolonged abstinence during which the brain recovers from changes involving meth use. Willpower alone will not cure meth addicts.
 
Why is it dangerous to produce meth? Meth production is different from any other drug because it is dangerous from start to finish. Reckless practices of untrained people who manufacture it in mom-and-pop labs in homes, apartments, barns, motels or trailers have resulted in explosions and fires that have cost lives and caused serious injuries. Any number of solvents, precursors and hazardous agents are found in unmarked containers at these sites. These potent chemicals can enter the central nervous system and cause neural damage, burn or irritate the skin, eyes or nose. Precursors are substances that, in nature, may be inactive, but result in a new product when combined with another chemical.
 
What signs might indicate someone in the neighborhood is producing meth? Unusual strong odors similar to that of fingernail polish remover or cat urine; large amounts of products such as cold medicines, antifreeze, drain cleaner, lantern fuel, coffee filters, batteries, duct tape, clear glass beakers and containers; renters who pay cash; and residences with windows blacked out and lots of nighttime traffic.
 
What are the federal penalties for methamphetamine trafficking? Ten grams of pure meth -- five years in prison; 100 grams of pure meth -- 10 years in prison.
 
What are the most serious environmental consequences of meth labs? Each pound of meth produced leaves behind five or six pounds of toxic waste. Meth cooks often pour left-over chemicals and byproduct sludge down drains in nearby plumbing, storm drains or directly onto the ground. It will seep into water supplies. Toxic by-products also can persist in the soils and groundwater for years. Clean-up costs are exorbitant because solvent-contaminated soil usually is incinerated. How much does meth usually cost on the street? Costs vary by region and depend on the purity and cost of production, particularly if it is locally manufactured. The approximate price is $25 per one-fourth gram; $100 per gram; and $1,700 per ounce. Pure meth is often mixed to increase the amount available for sale.
 
http://www.ledger-enquirer.com
 
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Koch Crime Institute's The Anti-Meth Site and local law enforcement agencies
 
 
 
 
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