It’s like something out of a movie: a young meth user lives in his parents’basement, struggles in school, individuates and doesn’t think that meth can hurt him in any way. It sounds cliche, but the trouble is that it’s real. This is the typical profile of today’s meth user. What will probably shock you, however, is the average age that people start using meth. It’s not in college, not high school—it starts around age 12.
The Typical Meth User
According to Pride Surveys, the typical adolescent meth user fits the following profile:
- Seventeen-year-old white male
- Struggles in school
- Lives with both parents, who are fully employed and usually graduated from high school and college
- Started doing meth at age 12.6
- Does not believe that meth is harmful to his health
Over thirty percent of the three thousand meth users surveyed said that their parents had used marijuana and would not object to them experimenting with other drugs.
Out of the 101,141 surveys covering sixth to twelfth grade, over three percent admitted to using meth at least once in the past year. Two percent reported using it on a monthly basis. The most common age for meth use was seventeen—18.1 percent of meth users fit in that age category—and the least common age was ten and under (2.6 percent).
The irony of the profile above is that adolescent meth users couldn’t be more wrong about the health dangers of Crystal Meth. In fact, meth is one of the most toxic drugs on the market. Its degenerative effects can be easily observed in just a two-year span, as teeth rot to black and fall out, skin becomes pock-marked, and any trace of youth is sapped in an unbelievable span of time.
When you look at the ingredients of meth, however, is it any surprise? A meth cook uses the following commonly-found ingredients:
- Acetone, an extremely flammable chemical found in nail polish remover or paint thinner.
- Lithium, found in batteries.
- Toluene, used in brake fluid.
- Hydrochloric acid, a chemical used to make plastic and clean steel. In high concentrations, it can eat away at human flesh.
- Pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in cough and cold medicine.
- Red phosphorus, found in match boxes and road flares.
- Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye. It can burn the skin or cause blindness. It is typically used on roadkill because it dissolves flesh into mush.
- Sulfuric acid, used in drain or toilet bowl cleaner. It burns the skin on contact.
- Anhydrous ammonia, found in fertilizer or cleaning materials. Mixing it with other chemicals can produce a highly toxic gas.
Several pounds of toxic waste are produced in order to make just one pound of meth.
Because the ingredients for meth are easy to get, meth labs can be found anywhere—in the woods, in basements, in hotel rooms or garages. Partner meth cooks with drug pushers and you’ve got a tsunami of returning customers, so hooked they can’t even see straight and will stop at nothing to get more drugs.
More than half of the youth who participated in the Pride Surveys said that meth was very easy to get. Another twelve percent said that it was “fairly easy.”
Pushers tend to target kids who are already using drugs. Nearly three-fourths of the students surveyed said that they were regular users of marijuana.