What Does Meth Look Like

What Does Meth Look Like

Identifying the Signs of Methamphetamine Use

Methamphetamine, or meth, is one of America’s most notorious addictive substances. Use and manufacture of the drug are depicted in TV shows and movies with some regularity. These portrayals sometimes take a romantic or glamorous form. However, there is nothing glamorous about meth use. Anyone who consumes the drug can suffer a variety of serious health harms. Those harms include addiction and overdose. They also include other kinds of potentially lasting damage to your mental and physical functions.

Concerned that someone you know is using meth? Awareness of what the drug looks like can help you spot a potential problem. Knowledge of meth’s characteristic odors can also be important. The same holds true for the settings in which manufacture and use of the drug often occur. If you notice any signs of meth consumption, it might be time seek help for your affected friend or loved one.

What Is Meth?

What is meth? In other words, how is meth categorized and classified by scientists and doctors? Methamphetamine belongs to the amphetamine family of substances. Like all amphetamines, meth is a stimulant. This means that it speeds up the usual rate of activity in nerve cells in your:

  • Brain
  • Spinal cord

Together, these two structures form your central nervous system. Meth also speeds up the activity rate in your sympathetic nervous system. This system triggers involuntary activation of your “fight-or-flight” response. Things affected by that response include your:

  • Heart rate
  • Core body temperature
  • Blood pressure
  • Digestive system
  • Level of sweat production

The vast majority of the meth distributed and sold in America is made illegally. A small percentage of the drug is sold legally as the medication Desoxyn. Today, most meth comes from Mexico. Hidden or clandestine labs also operate in various parts of the U.S.

What Does Meth Look Like

Not all methamphetamine looks the same. Instead, there are three common forms of meth: powder, base and crystal. Meth powder, sometimes referred to as speed, typically has a whitish or off-white color. It can be compacted under pressure to form pills.

Methamphetamine base is a brown, yellow or white substance with an oily or damp texture. Even excluding differences in color, batches of this substance are not uniform in appearance. Instead, base may look waxy or paste-like. Crystal gets its name from its crystalline or rock-like appearance. This form of meth is often translucent, which means that light passes through out. Crystal meth may also have a more solid, whitish color.

What Does Meth Smell Like When Smoked

What Does Meth Smell Like When Smoked

Meth powder and base are not typically smoked. However, users can smoke the crystal version of the drug. What does meth smell like when it’s smoked? There is no single answer to this question. Why not? Meth labs can use a variety of chemicals to manufacture the drug. In turn, these chemicals have an impact on how it smells when burned.

Meth smoke can have a non-specific chemical-like odor. It may also smell more specifically like household cleaning products. In addition, meth smoke can have an odor similar to burning or burnt plastic. No matter the particular odor you smell, one thing is certain. Burning meth has a strong scent that will likely stand out and grab your attention.

What Does Meth Taste Like

Meth can also vary substantially in its taste. Some users of the drug describe its powder or pill form as tasting bitter. All forms of meth may also taste like the chemicals used to make them. In addition, flavoring agents are sometimes added to the drug. These agents help reduce the unpleasant taste of methamphetamine. They may also be used to help the drug seem more generally appealing.

What Does Meth Paraphernalia Look Like

When it comes to drugs, paraphernalia is a term with multiple meanings. It can refer to the equipment involved in the manufacture of illegal substances. It can also refer to anything used to hide illegal substances or consume them.

What does meth paraphernalia look like? Perhaps the most well-known item is a metal or glass pipe used to smoke the crystal form of the drug. You may also notice glass bongs that serve the same purpose.

A wide range of paraphernalia are associated with making meth in clandestine labs. Common examples include:

  • Respirator masks
  • Rubber gloves
  • Various kinds of glassware
  • Hoses made from rubber or plastic
  • Lithium batteries

 

A wide assortment of chemicals are also used to make illegal meth. The list of these chemicals includes things such as:

  • Hydrochloric, muriatic or sulfuric acid
  • Camping fuel
  • Pseudoephedrine- or ephedrine-based cold tablets or capsules
  • Anhydrous ammonia
  • Lithium extracted from batteries
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Lye
  • Ether

All of these substances have a legal, legitimate use. It is only their use in meth manufacture that makes them illegal.

How to Recognize the Signs of Meth Cooking

How to Recognize the Signs of Meth Cooking

Clandestine meth labs are makeshift facilities designed to produce, or cook, illegal forms of the drug. These labs can be set up anyplace where there is room for them to fit. No matter where you live, you may find one on your street or in your neighborhood or area.

What are the signs of a meth cooking operation? Depending on your situation, you may notice any number of things. One potential telltale sign is a smell in the air that resembles rotten eggs, cat urine or ammonia. You may also notice a house or shed with covered or blacked out windows. Yard or vegetation damage caused by the burning or dumping of chemicals is another possible indicator.

Many meth labs are protected by multiple layers of security. Measures in place may include “No Trespassing” signs and strategically located outdoor cameras or monitors. In addition, they may include high fences and/or guard dogs.

Certain kinds of trash can also point to the presence of a meth cooking operation. Items you may spot include:

  • Large numbers of cold tablet packages
  • Coffee filters that are stained or coated in a powdery substance
  • Broken-down lithium batteries
  • Piles of empty chemical containers
  • Plastic bottles with holes punched into them
  • Used rubber gloves
  • Discarded pieces of hose or plastic

 

Tweaking and Other Meth Warning Signs

Even without smelling anything or seeing actual meth, you may be able to tell if someone is using the drug. One classic sign is “tweaking.” This term refers to a grouping of symptoms that can occur after a period of heavy meth use. Such symptoms may include:

  • Temporary loss of the ability to experience meth’s typical drug effects
  • Extreme agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • A powerful urge to use more meth
  • Violent outbursts
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusional thinking

 

The signs of tweaking overlap in many ways with the effects of meth withdrawal. Other potential signs that someone you know is withdrawing from the drug include:

  • A depressed, irritable or anxious mental state
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of physical energy
  • Unusual slowing down or speeding up of their physical or mental reflexes

 

Withdrawal is just one sign that a person who uses meth has become addicted to the drug. Other indicators of addiction include:

  • Losing control over how much meth they use, or how often they use it
  • Having a routine that revolves around obtaining meth, using it and recovering from
  • Turning down other activities in favor of using meth
  • Not halting a pattern of meth use that clearly causes them significant harm
  • Developing a rising tolerance to meth’s stimulant effects

How to Help a Loved One Using Meth

How to Help a Loved One Using Meth

The best thing you can do for a loved one using meth is encourage them to enter a treatment program. This is not always easy to do. Many people who regularly use the drug have undergone profound mental and emotional changes. These changes may leave them unable to think clearly or rationally. A long-term user of meth may also be paranoid, delusional or violent. In addition, like anyone else affected by addiction, they may be in denial about their condition.

Try to approach the topic of seeking treatment as gently as possible. It helps to plan this kind of conversation in advance. It also helps to seek the advice of addiction specialists or intervention counselors.

Forms of Effective Treatment for Meth Addiction

Effective treatment for meth addiction is psychotherapy-based. The treatments of choice are behavioral therapies. Therapies of this type help your loved one change behaviors that support ongoing addiction. One option, cognitive behavioral therapy, is specifically known to help people with meth-related problems. Other therapies used to treat stimulant addiction in general include:

  • Contingency management
  • 12-step facilitation therapy
  • The Matrix Model

 

Family therapy may also be used in the treatment of all forms of substance addiction.

Each form of therapy provides its own treatment benefits. The right combination of options can help your loved one do things such as:

  • Reduce their cravings for meth
  • Cope with stressful situations that may increase their cravings
  • Stay sober during and after treatment
  • Add a self-help group to their larger meth recovery plan

Learn More About Meth and Effective Addiction Treatment at Pathfinders

If you think someone you know is using meth, you may have a number of pressing questions. For example, what does meth look like? What does it smell like? How can you tell if some is cooking meth? What are the signs of meth addiction?

Get answers to these important questions at Pathfinders. With our help, you can detect the potential signs that your friend or family member is using meth. Pathfinders is also a premier provider of treatment for methamphetamine addiction. No matter the extent of your loved one’s addiction symptoms, we offer customized recovery options that suit their needs. To learn more about our comprehensive meth program, call us today.

Ice Cream Drug and Meth Slang Terms

Ice Cream Drug and Meth Slang Terms

The mindset of “my child would never use drugs” or “those types of drugs aren’t a problem in my town” are outdated assumptions that currently don’t even have a sliver of truth to them. There was a period in American culture when certain substances hadn’t permeated the fabric of tight-knit communities.

Currently, the opioid and methamphetamine epidemics have spread out to affect nearly every American family in some way. If any of your loved ones – specifically your kids – were struggling with substance abuse or even just dabbling, would you be able to identify the presence of drugs in their lives?

You’re vigilant enough to notice any physical indicators that could signal any drug use if you’re lucky. Unfortunately, physical signs may not manifest until later stages of abuse.

There may even be people you suspect your loved ones are using drugs with. Some family members will attempt to pick up on signals from conversations they have in person and on the phone.

However, it’s possible they could be speaking about drug use right in front of you, and you may not even know it.

Ice Cream and the Many Slang Terms for Meth

One way to tell if your loved ones could possibly be suffering from substance abuse issues is by listening to certain words in their dialogue. Meth has multiple slang terms individuals use to hide the fact that they’re actually talking about drugs.

One of the most commonly used phrases for meth is “crystal,” which is short for crystal meth. This name is used because of the distinct crystalline form the drug commonly comes in. Later, the drug community would adopt the nickname “crank” because of its effects on the user.

If you suspect meth use from someone you care about, the following terms should raise a red flag:

  • Tina
  • Christina
  • Christie
  • Go-Fast
  • Go-Go Juice
  • Chicken Feed
  • Poop
  • Trash
  • Glass
  • Ice

If you hear any of those terms used frequently, especially around characters you may already be suspicious of, it should be a huge red flag. Identifying the signs of meth use is vital for avoiding long-term abuse and the side effects that come with it. The rising purity of the ice cream drug in the US is causing the rapid deterioration of mental health in large populations across the country.

The Rising Purity of the Ice Cream Drug In the US

Before sometime around 2006 or 2007, most of the meth available on the market was produced using ephedrine, a common ingredient found in cough medications. However, after a crackdown on clandestine labs throughout the United States in the early 2000s, obtaining ephedrine in large quantities became all but impossible – even in Mexico.

Manufacturers of the drug began using a recipe known as the “P2P method.” This particular recipe uses phenyl-2-propanone, aluminum, methylamine, and mercuric chloride instead of the ephedrine.

Mostly used during the 1970s and early 80s by outlaw biker gangs, this method took a backseat to ephedrine-based production because of the latter’s use of fewer harmful chemicals. However, after the ephedrine crackdown, manufacturers realized the precursors needed to cook P2P meth were much easier to obtain – and in massive quantities.

The Spread of Super Meth in America

This method is what has led to the explosion in meth abuse we’re currently witnessing alongside The Spread of Super Meth in Americathe opioid epidemic.

This method is what has led to the explosion in meth abuse we’re currently witnessing alongside the opioid epidemic. Mexican “super labs” are producing extremely large quantities of the drug – often tons at a time, in older, abandoned warehouses in cities near the United States border.

The surfacing of a high number of operations of this scale led to the price of meth bottoming out. Pounds are currently available for $1,000 in some states– a stark contrast to prices of the early 2000s when a pound of meth could fetch up to $10,000.

With super labs producing meth at record quantities and prices at rock bottom, competing cartels had only one choice to gain the upper hand – increase the purity. A great deal of the meth currently available on the United States black market is over 98% pure.

This is causing two huge issues. The first is the fact that meth produced using the P2P method causes more intense psychological side effects much faster than other variations. Drug-induced psychosis can set in in a matter of weeks instead of months or years and linger longer even after treatment.

The second challenge is relatively new territory for law enforcement and medical professionals. Overdose cases because of meth are also at an all-time high, presenting a fresh set of challenges for emergency workers.

Can You Overdose from the Ice Cream Drug?

It was rare to hear about overdoses related to meth in the past. Unfortunately, the tragic spike in deaths related to meth overdose has been overshadowed by the numbers associated with fentanyl.

In 2020, over 93,000 people died as a result of a fentanyl overdose. However, from 2015 to 2019, deaths associated with meth overdose quietly tripled in the background.

The numbers rose from 5,526 to a staggering 15,489 – a 180% increase. It’s worth noting that an uptick in overdose deaths would normally correlate with an increase in the number of users around the same percentage.

Surprisingly, the number of active meth users only rose 43% during the same amount of time. A situation resulting in a 180% increase in toxicity deaths and only a 43% increase in active users points only to one factor – a deadly spike in the purity of the drug or a change in the recipe that’s causing the wave of deaths.

While evidence points to the former being the culprit and not the latter, it still piques one’s curiosity. How is the ice cream drug made now compared to a decade ago?

How Is the Ice Cream Drug Made?

Overall, three primary methods exist for manufacturing methamphetamine. These three methods are known as the following:

  • Red Phosphorous Method. This was the primary method used throughout the 1990s and early 2000s before the current method took over.
  • Birch Method. The birch method, otherwise known as the Nazi method or Shake and Bake, is a cruder form commonly found in smaller, clandestine backyard labs across the United States.
  • The P2P Method. The P2P, or Amalgam Method, is the process most heavily used in Mexican super labs. Most of the batches that end up in the hands of users today are made using this method.

Let’s examine each method in greater detail.

Red Phosphorous Method

The red phosphorous method is known for using ephedrine as the primary ingredient. Meth created using this method is known for a high that produces euphoric, energetic effects as opposed to the paranoia-inducing P2P method. Ingredients used for this method include the following:

  • Hydriodic acid
  • Hydrochloric (muriatic) acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Sodium hydroxide (lye)
  • Sodium chloride (salt)
  • Red phosphorous
  • Iodine
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Ethyl alcohol (ethanol)
  • Methyl alcohol (methanol)
  • Ephedrine
  • Pseudoephedrine

The Birch Method

The birch method, better known among meth users as shake and bake, is a process that involves hardly any lab equipment. Normally, this method is produced using one container or pot instead of a series of glass tubes and beakers. Because of the simplicity of its production, this is the method most commonly found in clandestine labs for private use across the United States. Common ingredients for this process include:

  • Anhydrous ammonia
  • Lithium metal
  • Sodium metal
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Ethyl alcohol (ethanol)
  • Methyl alcohol (methanol)
  • Hydrogen chloride gas
  • Hydrochloric (muriatic) acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Sodium chloride (salt)
  • Toluene
  • Naptha (Coleman Fuel)
  • Methyl ethyl ketone
  • Ephedrine

P2P Method

The P2P method is currently the method being used in the Mexican super labs south of the border. The problem with this method is the fact that it contains d-methamphetamine and l-methamphetamine isomers. D-methamphetamine causes the intoxicating effects that users crave from abusing meth. However, l-methamphetamine causes the negative mental side effects so often seen in current meth users.

  • Phenyl-2-propanone (P2P)
  • Methylamine
  • Mercuric chloride
  • Aluminum, hydrochloric acid
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Methanol, ethanol
  • Acetone
  • Benzene
  • Chloroform

Because of the quickly deteriorating mental capacity of current meth users, it may be easier to identify the warning signs of abuse.

What Are the Warning Signs of Ice Cream Use?

What Are the Warning Signs of Ice Cream Use

In the past, it seemed that the warning signs of meth abuse were often physical as opposed to mental. While physical warning signs are still present, red flags may exist more in the form of mental symptoms. Some of the most common indicators present in users are listed below:

  • Paranoia, or a belief that someone is chasing them
  • Withdrawn from society, family, and friends
  • Violent changes in mood swings
  • Aggressive or violent tendencies or periods of rage
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Staying up for extended periods
  • Long periods of sleep
  • Engaging in ideas or beliefs that don’t make sense
  • Difficulty staying focused on one task
  • Becoming ultra-disorganized

Individuals who abuse meth engage in a behavior known as tweaking. They will remain hyper-focused on one activity, possibly participating in this activity for hours. However, when they get distracted, they’ll leave these projects, often unfinished, to move on to the next. This false belief that they’re accomplishing more leaves behind multiple unfinished tasks and projects.

Physical Side Effects of the Ice Cream Drug

Even though mental indicators may be more prevalent initially, this doesn’t exclude the possibility of physical side effects. Eventually, most everyone who suffers from meth abuse disorder will begin to manifest the physical signs of use. These signs include:

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Cracked, dry lips
  • Dehydration
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Spikes in blood pressure

Most of these symptoms are associated with the effects of short-term use. However, most of these physical side effects of the ice cream drug will increase in severity with long-term use.

There isn’t one guaranteed set of effects that users that long-term users are guaranteed to experience. The intensity of most of these effects heavily depends on the amount used, frequency of use, and any pre-existing conditions or accompanying addictions the user has.

What Are the Long Term Side Effects of Ice Cream Abuse?

Many long-term effects exist for individuals who suffer from meth abuse disorder. Again, many of the worst side effects will be mental because of the current manufacturing process. However, extended use will eventually lead to potential life-threatening physical challenges.

Mental

  • Meth-induced psychosis
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of cognitive abilities
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships

Many of the long-term mental effects are repairable after extended periods of recovery. What are some of the long-term physical side effects?

Physical

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Loss of teeth
  • Long-term blood pressure and heart issues
  • High risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Heart disease

Again, it’s possible to overcome the physical side effects after long-term recovery.

Methods of Treatment for Meth or “Ice Cream” Dependence

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for individuals who suffer from meth abuse disorder. However, through assessments and one-on-one interviews with mental health professionals, clients can form a personalized treatment plan that includes the most effective forms of therapy.

Some of the most commonly used forms of treatment for meth abuse disorder include:

  • Talk therapy and one-on-one counseling with therapists
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy. This form of treatment helps clients replace negative behaviors associated with meth abuse with more positive behavior habits.
  • Dual-diagnosis treatment aims to remedy underlying mental conditions that exist as a trigger for meth abuse disorder.
  • Group recovery meetings similar to 12-step programs are effective after inpatient or outpatient treatment.
  • Group therapy with family members and loved ones also significantly affects a positive recovery.

One of the most critical steps in the recovery process is actually finding help for a loved one using methamphetamines. With the right support system and the will to recover, individuals who suffer from meth abuse disorder have a good chance at lasting recovery.

Is Lasting Recovery from the ‘Ice Cream drug’ Possible?

At Pathfinders Recovery Centers in both Colorado and Arizona, we pride ourselves on having a staff who believes in long-term recovery and is experienced in helping clients achieve it. We start with a quality, accredited medically supervised detox process that segues into a top-notch inpatient treatment stay.

Clients have regular access to therapy sessions with top-rated mental health and substance abuse specialists. We even have five-star chefs preparing meals for clients – nutrition is a huge part of recovery as well!

If you’re ready for a robust treatment program that attacks abuse disorders from every angle, contact a member of our admissions team today!

How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System?

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Does Meth Remain in Your System a Long Time?

One of the most commonly asked questions from individuals with substance use disorders is how long certain substances stay in your system. This question is often raised for a few different reasons.

Someone might be curious about the length of time meth stays in your system because they’re ready to detox. Other times, it might be because they were sober and slipped into relapse and have a drug test approaching they need to pass.

The best way to understand how long meth stays in your system and how it behaves is by really becoming educated on what meth is and how your body reacts to it. Let’s take a look at this incredibly complex drug and its role in the lives of individuals who abuse it.

What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, or crystal meth, is a synthetic stimulant that has a reputation for its highly addictive properties. This drug interacts with the central nervous system, leading to an intense release of dopamine, serotonin, and chemicals in the brain that manifests certain feelings and emotions when we engage in certain behaviors.

Technically, there are legal formulations of methamphetamine, such as narcolepsy medication Desoxyn. However, as an illegal narcotic manufactured on the black market, meth is a Schedule II substance on the federal and most state levels.

Throughout the 90s, methamphetamine experienced a boom in certain regions of the United States, leading to challenges with clandestine labs created by users looking to produce the drug themselves. Many of these labs led to explosions because of the crude setup and dangerous substances used to manufacture low-quality meth.

This low-quality version of the drug, otherwise known as crank, is only a fraction of the purity seen with the current version that’s flooded American streets. Many people consider meth, crank, and speed to be the same substance. However, individuals with an ear to the streets consider this to be false, as each of these terms describes a completely different substance, respectively.

Crank

Crank refers to the crudely manufactured version of methamphetamine that’s formulated in backyard and basement labs in remote areas of the United States. The popularity of these labs decreased after DEA crackdowns led to arrests in large numbers.

Additionally, many of the ingredients required to produce this version of meth are on the FDA’s banned substances list or are heavily tracked in an effort to observe buyer behavior. Crank is also known as shake and bake, bathtub crank, biker crank, and easter bunny dope.

Meth

Meth is the name that’s commonly used to refer to the current versions of methamphetamine that are circulating on the black market. Other names for this highly potent, pure form of the drug are glass, ice, tina, clear, and go-fast.

Large quantities of this drug are produced in huge warehouses known as superlabs throughout parts of Mexico. Drug cartels are behind the formulation, creation, packaging, smuggling, and distribution of this drug and rule the market with an iron fist.

It’s not uncommon for seized batches of this drug to test at nearly 100% purity. What used to be a drug considered to be approaching extinction as far as use goes has returned with a vengeance. Currently, meth is the number two most consumed drug in the entire world. This ranking is a side effect of the silent explosion of use that went almost unnoticed because of the opiate epidemic.

Speed

Speed is a term used to describe the pill form of methamphetamine. In the 70s, methamphetamine pills became popular on the black market before cocaine and crystal meth took over. Despite their decreased popularity in America, these pills still exist and are more common in parts of Europe as well as Asia the Middle East.

Despite the different forms of methamphetamine, many of the short-term effects are similar across all variations.

Short-term Effects of Meth

Meth is an incredibly long-acting drug with varying effects felt at different stages of intoxication. Because of the duration of the high, users normally require small doses of the drug to achieve the desired effects.

Despite these lowered doses, the presence of particularly intense short-term effects still has the potential to affect users in a very powerful and highly addictive manner.

Normally users either smoke meth via glass pipe or inject it with an insulin syringe. When either of these methods is administered, the drug reaches the brain very quickly, with injection being the faster of the two.

The result is what’s known as a “rush” – the sudden onset of intense pleasure and excitement. Users may also orally ingest meth or snort it nasally, both of which produce a much longer high with an increased presence of physical energy.

When the drug is swallowed or snorted instead of smoked or injected, the sudden, intense rush is replaced by a constantly maintained spark of motivation lasting for up to 12 hours.

The overall period of intoxication and time the drug remains present in the blood are dictated by what’s known as the half-life. When your body metabolizes the drug faster, the high isn’t felt as long, and the duration in which traces are detectable by a drug test is shorter as well.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Despite the fact that they’re both stimulants, meth, and cocaine exit the body at different rates. Cocaine is quickly removed and nearly completely metabolized in the body, while meth remains unchanged and hangs around much longer. This is what leads to the extended period of intoxication.

Normally the window of intoxication is anywhere between 10 and 24 hours. The overall period is heavily dependent on how much is ingested and at what time of day, how it’s administered, the body’s chemistry, and the function of the liver and kidneys.

Understanding these things about the elimination of methamphetamine from the body leaves the final question of the actual half-life of meth.

The Half-life of Methamphetamine

Understanding the half-life of meth is critical if you’re in the company of someone that suffers from meth abuse disorder. Being aware of this important number allows you to gauge when the individual can expect to experience the initial stages of withdrawal.

Normally, the half-life of methamphetamines in the bloodstream is somewhere between four and six hours. However, this doesn’t mean that all traces of meth are eliminated after this period.

It takes the course of about five half-lives for a substance to completely exit the body. After applying the appropriate math, it’s safe to assume that meth takes about 25 hours to fully vacate the bloodstream.

It’s important to keep in mind that the chemical breakdown products of meth can still be detected in other body systems, including urine, hair, and other sources. The following section highlights each different type of detection and how long they’re effective at tracing meth.

Detecting Meth in Drug Tests

Even when meth is eliminated from the blood, the drug is still detectable in certain types of tests. The following list contains information about each specific testing model:

Urine Tests

Urine testing is normally the most common form of detection when it comes to substance abuse. These tests are conducted fairly quickly and aren’t intrusive. The individual produces a urine sample in a cup, and the contents are examined with a panelled testing component. Normally urine tests can detect the presence of meth for a period of one to five days.

Blood Tests

Remember, blood tests follow the same timeline as the half-life of meth. This means that the drug is only detectable in the blood for about 25 hours.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Saliva Tests

Drug tests that consist of saliva swabs are normally effective at detecting meth for up to two days after the last use. These tests require an absorbent material to swab the mouth or tongue.

Hair Tests

Hair tests can also be used to detect the presence of meth. All it takes is a half-inch sample of hair to detect the presence of meth for up to 90 days prior to the test.

Meth Testing Variables to Consider

The detection times of meth using these drug tests change from person to person. However, there are other factors that may influence the overall detection times.

These factors include the following:

  • The individual’s overall health in question has a strong influence on how fast the drug exits the body. If you have a clean bill of health, your liver probably functions at a high level, meaning toxins are eliminated much faster.
  • When someone uses meth in large quantities very frequently, the detection times will increase significantly. This may be the largest contributing factor to the length of time meth can be picked up by drug tests.

It’s important to remain aware that large quantities and frequent use cause meth to accumulate within a user’s body. This accumulation presents a significant increase in the chances of an overdose being experienced.

Because meth has such a long period of intoxication, when users repeatedly ingest the drug, the body doesn’t have time to recover from previous doses. This accumulation is incredibly dangerous and has the potential to cause stroke, heart attack, and other negative heart-related consequences.

Additionally, large accumulations of meth also increase the chances of experiencing a negative mental health event as a result of meth intoxication. Meth-induced psychosis is common, and can produce potentially dangerous side effects.

This is why it’s critical that users have a strategy for eliminating meth from the system before attempting recovery. Once the drug is completely expelled from the body, individuals can move forward with recovery without the constant fear of meth-induced psychosis and other challenges.

Getting Meth Out of Your System

How do you get methamphetamines out of your system? The only way meth efficiently leaves the body is through the liver. The liver must process this substance, and there’s no other way to eliminate it from your system once it’s been ingested.

Avoiding subsequent doses will help you avoid larger amounts of the drug from building inside of your body. This gives your liver a chance to process the drug and effectively eliminate it from all of your body systems.

Seeking Treatment

If your goal is eliminating meth from your body, the most logical course of action is to enter a medically-assisted detox program. These programs allow you to safely go through the detoxification process under the direct supervision of medical and mental health professionals. This supervision gives the client significant advantages in terms of successfully completing the detox process.

The most severe side-effects of withdrawal may be avoided by taking advantage of medication options provided by a physician. Additionally, being monitored by professionals decreases your chances of experiencing a more severe medical event because of things like increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and anxiety, which can all be side effects of detox.

When Meth is Completely Eliminated from the Body, The Road to Recovery

The post-detox period is defined as the time immediately following the drug being expelled from the body. Individuals may deal with the most significant mental challenges associated with recovery during this period.

The mind and body must acclimate to the absence of meth, and this transition can present significant challenges. It’s during this period that clients may become uncomfortable and mentally exhausted.

This struggle may lead to an increased risk for relapse and participating in an inpatient treatment program can help clients safely navigate these rough patches. It’s critical that clients receive education and guidance in the form of mental health counseling and various types of therapy to help them manage their emotions and behaviors.

Learning how to properly manage your emotions and behaviors is one of the largest elements of recovery, as you experience life with a “sober mind.”

Pathfinders Recovery Centers specializes in assisting clients with managing this journey back into normal life and environment. Our compassionate staff is well-trained in providing various levels of care and promoting recovery and mental wellness.

If you’re ready to start your journey to recovery and reclaim your life, we encourage you to contact a member of our Admissions department to learn more about our treatment options.

Methamphetamine: How Bad Is It?

How Bad Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug with a widespread reputation for causing serious harm.

But does the drug deserve this reputation? Is it as bad as people say?

The simple answer to this question is yes.

Methamphetamine (also known as meth, crystal, glass, ice, and speed) can damage your health in many different ways.

One of its most well-known risks is addiction.

People who use the drug often can easily end up in an addictive cycle that is difficult to break.

But even if you do not get addicted, abuse of the drug can damage your mental and physical well-being. In a worst-case scenario, it can also kill you.

But rest assured, you are not doomed to suffer these kinds of tragic outcomes.

If you are abusing meth or addicted to the drug, you can break free with help from trained professionals.

No matter how hopeless you feel today, effective meth rehab will help you turn things around.

Methamphetamine: How Bad Is It? Pathfinders - A young man is sitting with an addiction specialist for an initial assessment to determine the appropriate, customized treatment plan for his methamphetamine addiction.

Methamphetamine Abuse

In the U.S., some people use a legally prescribed form of methamphetamine. However, the majority of users consume an illegal form of the drug. Any recreational form of drug use automatically qualifies as substance abuse. You can also abuse legal meth if you:

  • Take it without having a prescription
  • Consume it more often or in larger amounts than your doctor prescribed

Mental Impact of Abuse

Even without considering addiction, abuse of the drug can lead to serious mental health consequences. The worst of these consequences tend to affect long-term users. They include such things as:

  • Unusual outbursts of aggression or violence
  • Memory problems
  • Unpredictable mood changes
  • A reduced ability to focus attention
  • Problems thinking logically

But these are not the only potential effects. Some people also develop psychosis, a problem generally associated with serious illnesses like schizophrenia. Not all examples of psychosis are the same. However, its most typical symptoms include:

  • Paranoid and/or delusional thoughts
  • Sensory hallucinations
  • Involuntary, repeated muscle movements

 

It would be bad enough if you only experienced psychosis during active periods of drug use. However, for some people, the situation is far worse. Even after they quit taking methamphetamine, they still go through psychotic episodes. These episodes can continue to appear for years in some cases.

Physical Impact of Abuse

Over time, the drug can also seriously impact your physical health. For example, meth can change the structure of your brain. This fact helps explain at least some of the mental problems linked to the drug. In some cases, meth-related brain damage is permanent. Long-term users may also experience serious or permanent damage to their:

  • Hearts
  • Lungs
  • Kidneys
  • Liver

Another potential impact is extremely high blood pressure. In turn, this problem can lead to fatal strokes or heart attacks.

Even with all of this, there are more physical problems linked to the drug. One of these problems is advanced dental damage, often known as “meth mouth.” Common symptoms of meth mouth include:

  • Decaying teeth
  • Stained or discolored teeth
  • Diseased gums
  • Pain in your jaw’s joints and muscles

Because of changes in their diet, many long-term users are malnourished and lose lots of weight. You may also develop itchy skin, and some people scratch with enough force to cause significant skin damage.

 

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Methamphetamine Addiction

Methamphetamine shares a major danger with the stimulants cocaine and amphetamine. Namely, it can serve as a powerful source of drug addiction. Addiction happens when your brain comes to depend on the drug, and you feel compelled to seek it out.

When you started using crystal, you almost certainly had no interest in getting addicted. Instead, you turned to the drug because you wanted, in your way, to feel better. Nevertheless, every time you get high, your chances of addiction go up.

In fact, compared to amphetamine and cocaine, meth may pose an even greater risk. This is true, in part, because the drug produces stronger feelings of pleasure. In addition, its effects do not last for long. Together, these two facts increase the odds you will try to get high repeatedly, even in short spans of time. This is a custom-made recipe for the rapid production of drug addiction.

 

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Mental Illness

On its own, meth addiction is a form of a mental illness called stimulant use disorder. However, people who abuse methamphetamine also have higher risks for other kinds of mental illness. In addition to schizophrenia, the list of potential conditions includes:

  • Bipolar disorders
  • BPD or borderline personality disorder
  • Major depression and other depressive illnesses
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Anxiety-related conditions, like generalized anxiety disorder

This does not necessarily mean that your drug problems led to your other mental health problems. This may be true for some people. However, there are many possible explanations for your situation. For example, you may have developed a mental illness before you got involved in substance abuse. Still, the overall danger is clear. People who abuse drugs or alcohol are affected by mental illness at an unusually high rate.

 

Methamphetamine Overdose

Like a wide range of other substances, crystal and other forms of meth can trigger an overdose. Why? Because they have the potential to overwhelm your system and stop it from working as it should. The drug causes about 15% of all fatal overdoses in the U.S. Some people die as a result of a stroke. Others die from heart attacks. You are especially at risk if you also abuse an opioid drug or medication.

 

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Meaningful Treatment is Available

Given all of these dangers, it is easy to see methamphetamine is as bad as experts say. However, this does not mean that problems related to the drug are untreatable. There are effective ways to recover from addiction and make a substantial return to health. This fact holds true regardless of how long you have abused meth or been addicted.

The best possible way to stop abusing the drug is to enter a supervised detox program. Detox will give you the tools to halt your substance use and cope with meth-related withdrawal. These tools include forms of care, such as:

  • Making sure you get enough fluids
  • Taking steps to improve your nutritional health
  • Tracking your heart rate and other vital signs

Once you get the drug out of your system, you can start active rehab. Drug rehab for methamphetamine is based on the use of behavioral therapy. That is the name for therapy that helps you make major changes in your everyday behavior. Such changes include:

  • Understanding why you get drug cravings
  • Recognizing the signals of an increase in your desire to get high
  • Coping with your urges and remaining drug-abstinent

Methamphetamine: How Bad Is It? Pathfinders - A group of individuals attending a residential rehab for methamphetamine addiction is engaging in a group therapy session, where they are showing their support for new group members that have recently entered treatment for meth abuse.

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Seek Methamphetamine Treatment Today

Meth can leave you feeling so damaged that recovery seems almost impossible.

But no matter how convinced you are, the facts do not support this point of view.

Every day, people are affected by the drug enter treatment programs.

And once in treatment, they take the steps needed to make a return to sobriety more than just a dream.

Without a doubt, it can be challenging to overcome a methamphetamine problem.

But you do have options for moving forward.

Need help getting started? Just contact the professionals at Pathfinders.

We specialize in supporting the recovery needs of people just like you.

With our assistance, sobriety is within reach.