In 2012, over one million Americans reported methamphetamine use within the prior year. The euphoria and energy coupled with the ease of production make it a popular drug. Despite increased law enforcement cracking down on meth labs in recent years, its manufacture continues because it is such big business. Meth can be produced at home, in the garage, in a hotel room, or even in your car.
The ingredients alone should be enough to dissuade its use, but addiction rates continue to soar. The true impact of meth can be seen in Before and After pictures. After just a few short months or years, meth users look like they have aged decades.
What, exactly, does this drug do the body?
Pock-Marked and Haggard: Skin and Bones
Meth users are pumping their bodies full of massive amounts of what is essentially poison. Since the skin is the largest organ and part of the body’s filtration system, problems can be seen almost immediately on the face in the form of acne, sores and scars. A common hallucination among meth users is known as “crank bugs.”Users believe they can feel insects crawling under their skin, so they compulsively pick and pull at their skin, resulting in terrible scabs and sores.
Because meth is an appetite suppressant (like most stimulants), users often skip eating for long periods, especially when binging. After a while, the body begins to eat its own muscle tissue and facial fat, giving the person a gaunt, hallow-cheeked appearance.
One of the most infamous side effects of methamphetamine has been dubbed “Meth Mouth.”The toxic chemicals in the drug cause tooth enamel to disintegrate, blood vessels to shrink, and saliva to diminish. Combine that with intense cravings for sugary foods, lack of oral hygiene while high, and heavy teeth-grinding, and you’ve got the ingredients for the worst case of tooth and gum decay you could ever imagine. After a matter of months, meth users find their teeth and gums irreversibly black and rotted.
Meth robs its users of their youth faster than anything you could imagine. Within a few short years, a person becomes unrecognizable—teeth are rotted away; skin is lined and pock-marked; eyes are muted; hair is dull and even graying; and facial structure changes while skin droops like that of a person twenty years older.
Robbing Users of their Humanity
Methamphetamine is not only one of the most toxic drugs on the market, it is also among the most addictive. Addicts will stop at nothing to get their next fix—even if it means betraying friends, tearing apart families, or turning to a life of crime and immorality. Some say they became hooked after just one hit.
If you really examine the ingredients of meth, it is no wonder that the effects are as ravaging as they are. The list includes:
- Acetone, a flammable chemical that can be found in nail polish remover.
- Lithium, a caustic and explosive chemical found in batteries.
- Toluene, a chemical found in brake fluid that is strong enough to dissolve rubber.
- Hydrochloric acid, a corrosive substance that can eat away at human skin in high enough doses.
- Pseudoephedrine, a pharmaceutical used in cough and cold medicine.
- Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye. It eats away at human flesh and is often used on roadkill because it turns flesh into a liquid, coffee-like substance.
- Anhydrous ammonia, found in fertilizer and household cleaners. It interacts with other chemicals to produce a poisonous gas.