Methamphetamine

Street Names:

"Speed," "Ice," "Chalk," "Meth," "Crystal," "Crank," "Fire," and "Glass"

"Use of methamphetamine frequently causes a drastic increase in violence, causing users to commit spousal abuse, child abuse, physical assaults or homicide. In Arizona, a man high on methamphetamine decapitated his 14-year-old son and then tossed the dismembered head onto a New Mexico highway-because he thought the boy was a demon. A former meth addict quoted in the Phoenix Gazette said, 'You don't really care about the things you're doing. You don't care if you hurt somebody. You don't care if you take somebody's life.'" Attorney General Dan Lungren, The Coastal Post, April 1998

Chemical Composition:

Methamphetamine (meth) is a synthetic stimulant that is closely related to amphetamine. The central nervous system effects of Methamphetamine are greater than amphetamine.

Methamphetamine is produced in clandestine labs using common materials. Cooking it can be very dangerous because the chemicals used are volatile and the by-products are very toxic. Anhydrous ammonia, a farmland fertilizer, is used in the process of manufacturing methamphetamine. Anhydrous ammonia is often stored in pressurized tanks on farms. Ammonia stored under pressure is in a liquid form but converts to a gas when released into the air. In this gaseous form anhydrous ammonia can cause severe burns and is toxic if breathed, touched or swallowed.

There are other flammable volatile organic compounds used in producing meth - acids, bases, metals and inorganic salts. Additional chemicals are formed during the cooking process.

"As a result of 'cooking,' different chemicals may contaminate a property, while some materials may actually absorb the chemicals. For example: carpeting, wallboard, ceiling tile, or fabric may soak up the chemicals. Furniture or drapery may also become contaminated. If meth residues enter a heating or A/C ventilation system, other areas in a building can become contaminated. Soil or groundwater may become contaminated if chemicals are dumped in a septic system or on the ground." "Cleaning Up Hazardous Chemicals at Former Meth Labs," Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services

Ya-Ba is an extremely pure form of methamphetamine. Ya-Ba is Thai for "crazy medicine." The flavored and brightly colored tiny pills are produced in Thailand; it is manufactured to look like candy. Many of the pills have a logo and are sometimes mistaken for ecstasy. Ya-Ba is also called "Nazi Speed" referring to its origin, German scientists created it during WWII to increase the endurance of their soldiers.

 

Characteristics:

Methamphetamine is a white crystalline powder that sometimes comes in rock-like chunks, Methamphetamine crystals. It is soluble, odorless and bitter tasting.

The effects of Methamphetamine, such as increased activity, rapid speech, decreased appetite and a sense of well-being, can last 6 - 8 hours. It is highly addictive, and users can build a tolerance quickly, requiring increasingly greater amounts for a high.

Methods of Use:

Methamphetamine can be injected, snorted, smoked and taken orally. Immediately after using Methamphetamine, the user experiences a "rush" or "flash" that lasts a few minutes.

The most dangerous use is binging, called "tweaking." Tweaking occurs when the individual has not slept in 3 to 10 days and is agitated and paranoid. The individual has an intense craving for more meth, but no dose of the drug will recreate the euphoric high they are seeking. This produces frustration and leads to unpredictability and often, violence.

"In the high desert of Los Angeles County, a four-year-old girl was discovered beaten to death by her parents, who had inflicted upon her major gashes, bruises and human bite marks. In a Southern California mobile park, three young children died in a fire while all of the adult occupants of the home-including the children's mother-fled the scene to conceal their criminal activity and did nothing to save the children. In San Diego County, an ex-National Guardsman broke into a National Guard armory, stole a tank, and proceeded down the freeway crushing cars and center dividers. The rampage could not be stopped until police shot and killed the driver. In each of these heinous cases there was one common ingredient-methamphetamine."Attorney General Dan Lungren, The Coastal Post, April 1998

Risks:

Methamphetamine can cause addiction, psychotic behavior and brain damage. The brain damage is similar to the damage caused by Alzheimer's disease, stroke and epilepsy.

Users can experience psychotic behavior, auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances, delusions, and paranoia (homicidal or suicidal thoughts). Chronic use can cause violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, irritability, paranoia, self-absorption and weight loss.

Sources:

"An Overview of Club Drugs"
Drug Intelligence Brief / February 2000
Intelligence Division
Drug Enforcement Administration
Washington, D.C.
www.dea.gov

"Methamphetamine"
Drug Facts
Executive Office of the President
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Washington, D.C.
www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov

"Methamphetamine"
Drug Resource
Partnership for a Drug-Free America
New York, NY
www.drugfreeamerica.org

"Methamphetamine"
NIDA Infofax (13552)
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institutes of Health
www.drugabuse.gov

"Ya Ba - Nazi Speed - Club drug
puts local officials on alert"
Honolulu Advertiser
September 15, 2002