What Is Meth?


Quick Answer

"Meth" is one of the common names, along with "chalk," "ice" and "crystal," for the powerful, highly addictive drug methamphetamine, notes the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Methamphetamine is a stimulant that was developed from amphetamine, and its use causes increased activity and talkativeness, decreased appetite, and a sense of euphoria. People can only legally obtain methamphetamine with a one-time prescription from a doctor.

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Full Answer

People manufacture methamphetamine in illegal labs in the United States, and oftentimes in Mexico, states the National Institute on Drug Abuse. People can manufacture the drug relatively easily using over-the-counter ingredients, and there are laws in place that limit the amount of pseudoephedrine that people can purchase, as it is an ingredient in the drug. People take methamphetamine through smoking, snorting, orally ingesting or injecting it intravenously, with smoking and injection causing the most immediate effects.

Rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat and increased blood pressure are some of the short-term problems associated with methamphetamine use, and people who overdose on the drug may suffer from hyperthermia and convulsions, notes the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Methamphetamine overdoses can cause death in users doctors do not treat immediately. People who use methamphetamine for long periods develop a tolerance to the drug, and need higher doses to feel its effects. Anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood swings and violent behavior are signs of long-term methamphetamine abuse.

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