girl cryingOne of the most harmful drugs available to the public today is methamphetamine. A psychoactive substance, methamphetamine has gained popularity in America for a number of reasons. Most people like the high the drug gives off. Others, mostly women, want to lose weight quickly (meth used to be prescribed as a weight loss supplement). Whatever the reasons are, meth use is quickly a terrible choice, one that users live to regret for a good amount of time.

As stated before, meth is a psychoactive drug. It reacts with the chemicals in the brain, releasing a surge of dopamine which causes an intense feeling of pleasure and euphoria. Dopamine is a natural chemical produced in the body, responsible for feelings like motivation, pleasure, and motor function. Meth stimulates the part of the brain that controls the amount released and overpowers it. The high amounts of dopamine released into the body make the user feel the “high”. Ultimately, these feelings wear off and the user begins to feel lower than before they took the drug. They can drop into a deep depression or feel anxious or nauseated. Of course, the user does not want to feel the withdrawal effects, and they take more of the drug. The more they take, the more accustomed the body becomes to it, meaning an increase of meth is needed to achieve the same high the user experienced the first taking. This causes a high probability of overdose.

Other effects of meth include increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Dehydration and seizures are very probable with prolonged use. Hyperthermia is an increase in the body temperature beyond its ability to control. If this goes untreated, the person might experience a heat stroke and this can even be fatal.

The harmful physical effects from meth are far more gruesome than most any other drug available on the street today. This stimulant is highly addictive; people have been known to become addicted after as little as one use. Meth wears on the body, causing it to change physically. Over a period of time, a relatively short period of time, the damage can be substantial. Deteriorating health, shifts in mental aptitude, awareness, and mood swings are but a few of the dangers associated with extended meth use. The various photos available on the internet that show before and after shots of meth users most likely show drastic changes in physical appearance. The body is depressed of nutrients and often appears more skeletal. The teeth lose their health due to the chemicals in meth draining the salivary glands, which help fight off bacterias that enter the mouth. The end result is quite gruesome.

Mentally, people addicted to meth often isolate themselves from friends and loved ones. In their pursuit of their next fix, they might engage in behaviors that lead to jail or prison time.

Methamphetamines can be ingested a variety of different ways. Most commonly, meth is injected or snorted into the body. Methods of ingestion often depend on how soon the user wants to feel the effects (snorting puts the drug directly into the brain, which has less of a “lag time”). Because the effects of methamphetamine are relatively short-term, users go on binges to keep up the high.

Methamphetamine is currently listed as a Schedule II drug; it is legally available through prescription. As it is in the stimulant class, drugs like it have been cleared as treatments for disorders like ADD and ADHD. Methamphetamine has a high probability of addiction. It is the fourth most used illicit drug, accounting for over 100,000 yearly emergency room visits.