Methamphetamine And The Problems Associated With It

Read Complete Research Material

Methamphetamine and the Problems Associated with It


The illicit use of methamphetamine has emerged in recent years as an important public health concern. The drug is a strongly addictive central nervous system stimulant that has shown widespread abuse globally. It is easy to synthesize from compounds that are readily available, inexpensive, over-the-counter ingredients.

Barr (pp. 56-59) mentions in the United States, methamphetamine is classified as a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Schedule II drug, which means that it has high potential for abuse, but can be made available in some medically necessary circumstances. Prescriptions for methamphetamine are relatively rare, are nonrefillable, and require careful documentation (Barr, pp. 89-91). Special security is placed on storage of the drug, and quotas are placed on manufacturing. In many other nations, methamphetamine is not used medically at all and is only available for research purposes. Often, the maximum penalty for production and distribution is life imprisonment.

Methamphetamine and the Problems Associated with It

The street form of methamphetamine that is of low purity is commonly known as “speed.” It is usually snorted nasally, pressed into a pill and ingested, or dissolved in water and injected intravenously. “Ice,” “crystal meth,” or “Tina” is purified methamphetamine and has a longer-lasting high. It is commonly smoked in a glass pipe or in aluminum foil heated by a flame underneath, a method known as “chasing the white dragon.” Like speed, it is also frequently injected intravenously (Barr, pp. 200-204).

The sensation acquired after using methamphetamine varies with the route of administration. Effects are felt most rapidly with injection, and more slowly with inhalation. Ingestion of pills provides the most delayed high. A “rush” of euphoria, an intensely pleasurable feeling attained soon after taking methamphetamine, is unique to injection and inhalation.

Pharmacologically, methamphetamine acts by affecting the amount and effects of monoamine neurotransmitters, particularly norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, in the central nervous system. The drug acts as a very potent stimulant, causing euphoria, enhancing alertness, improving attention, and increasing libido.

It is also not uncommon for methamphetamine users to become violent while under the influence of the drug. “Coming down” off higher doses of the drug shows opposite effects, including fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and often, severe depression.

A range of physiological changes also happen. There are increases in heart rate, blood pressure, core temperature, and respiratory rate, and substantial constriction of blood vessels occurs. Side effects, often present at low doses but especially prominent at higher doses, include cardiac arrhythmia (Maxwell, pp. 45-47), hyperthermia, stomach cramping, trunk and limb muscle tremor, repetitive behavior, jaw clenching and teeth grinding, anxiety, aggression, paranoia, and insomnia. In rare cases, cardiac abnormalities and stroke can occur and are potentially fatal.

Animal studies, most of which have involved rats, have shown that after recurrent methamphetamine usage, anatomic changes occur in the brain that compromise the integrity of dopamine and serotonin systems. These findings suggest that long-term use of the drug, or perhaps even single large administrations or binges, may produce lasting changes in central nervous system functioning. However, very few human studies have ...
Related Ads