Meth causes numerous negative physical effects

Published 7:26 am Wednesday, February 11, 2004

By Staff
This is the second installment in a six-part series on drug abuse, provided by the Escambia County Schools Youth Empowerment Program.
Methamphetamine is a powerful nervous system stimulant. It is "cooked" in illegal homemade labs, which are extremely dangerous because of the flammable nature of the chemicals used to process the drug.
Meth is sold in small rock-like quantities and is usually smoked. Ice is 97 percent pure methamphetamine and looks like clear rock candy.
The color of meth is dependent on the type of chemical process used to create it. However, often it is white or tan in color.
Methamphetamine causes a crack-like stimulant high and is often used by crack addicts who need a stronger drug. Meth users often have dilated pupils, sweating, dry mouth, flushed skin and are very talkative.
Methamphetamine elevates the heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure. Meth also causes decreased appetite, extreme alertness, aggression and paranoia with accompanying depression and irritability when the high ends.
Meth is highly addictive both psychologically and physically. Long-term users often suffer from malnutrition, psychosis (break with reality) and kidney damage. Long-term use can also result in psychotic violent behavior, memory loss and neurological damage. These symptoms can continue for months or years after use of the drug is stopped.
Methamphetamine is made by extracting ephedrine or pseudoephedrine from over the counter cold tablets like Sudafed and adding more to the compound. Chemicals like red phosphorus, rubbing alcohol, gasoline, Red Devil Lye, battery acid, drain opener, paint thinner or acetone are added to complete the process.
The user of this drug inhales the chemicals used to make the product. Research has recently shown that people who "cook" methamphetamine experience extremely rapid growing cancers related to inhaling the intense chemicals during the creation process. Although research is still being conducted, it is believed that most of these type cancers will result in death within a short period of time.
These chemical compounds are very sensitive and often explode, damaging not only the cook and lab, but also homes in the surrounding area.
If you believe there is a meth lab in your neighborhood, immediately contact your local police or the 21st Century Drug Task Force.
Common signs of a meth lab are large quantities of discarded matchsticks or flares, coffee filters with red stains and empty cold tablet packages.
For more information on drugs, a referral for drug abuse screening or testing or counseling intervention, please contact Sheri L. Cox, Youth Empowerment Coordinator, Escambia County Schools, 296-0633,

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