Chronic methamphetamine abuse can result in inflammation of the heart lining, and among users who inject the drug, damaged blood vessels and skin abscesses. Heavy users also exhibit progressive social and occupational deterioration. Psychotic symptoms (paranoia, delusions, mood disturbances) can sometimes persist for months or years after use has ceased. Over time, methamphetamine appears to cause reduced levels of dopamine, which can result in symptoms like those of Parkinson’s disease, a severe movement disorder.

Acute lead poisoning is another potential risk for methamphetamine abusers. A common method of illegal methamphetamine production uses lead acetate as a reagent. Production errors therefore may result in methamphetamine contaminated with lead and there have been documented cases of acute lead poisoning in intravenous methamphetamine abusers. Methamphetamine use can be lethal, addictive, and unpredictable. This drug has effects similar to those of amphetamine, yet the effects of methamphetamine are more damaging to the central nervous system.

Methamphetamine can be smoked, snorted, injected, or taken orally. Immediately after smoking the drug or injecting it intravenously, the user experiences an intense rush or “flash” that lasts only a few minutes and is described as extremely pleasurable. Snorting or oral ingestion produces euphoria – a high, but not an intense rush. Snorting produces the effects within three to five minutes, and oral ingestion produces effects within fifteen to twenty minutes.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Dilated Pupils
  • Dry Mouth
  • Euphoria
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Rapid Speech
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Insomnia
  • Weight Loss
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Increased Blood Pressure
  • Increased Temperature
  • Lack of Interest in Food or Sleep
  • Argumentive
  • Nervous
  • Violent
  • Paranoia

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