Methamphetamine (meth) Addiction and Treatment

Meth Addiction treatments we provide in Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba

What is Meth-amphetamine? Street Name: meth, speed, chalk, ice, crystal, crystal meth, jib, tina

Meth-amphetamine belongs to a family of drugs called amphetamines — powerful stimulants that speed up the body’s central nervous system. Meth-amphetamine is a white, odourless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol and is taken orally, intra-nasally (snorting the powder), by needle injection, or by smoking. Immediately after smoking meth-amphetamine or injecting it into a vein, the user experiences an intense surge of euphoria, called a “rush” or “flash.” Snorting meth-amphetamine produces effects within three to five minutes; swallowing in about 15–20 minutes

Street meth-amphetamine is made in illegal labs with fairly inexpensive, and often toxic or flammable, ingredients. The chemicals and processes used vary from lab to lab, affecting the strength, purity and effect of the final product.

Meth-amphetamine makes people feel alert and energetic, confident and talkative. They feel little need for food or sleep. On the other hand, users are also likely to feel the many unwanted effects of the drug, including racing of the heart, chest pain, dryness of the mouth, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea and physical tension. Many report an anxious “wired” feeling of restlessness and irritability. The negative effects of meth-amphetamine can be extreme and alarming, including paranoid delusions, hallucinations, aggressive behaviour and impulsive violence.

How does it affect the brain?

Meth-amphetamines effects are particularly long lasting and harmful to the brain, it literally changes how the brain functions. Non-invasive human brain imaging studies have shown alterations in the activity of the dopamine system. The impact on brain health include memory impairment, memory loss, a reduced ability to think clearly or logically, a reduced ability to maintain focus and attention, and a reduced ability to regulate violent or aggressive urges. The drug’s brain impact can also lead to the highly debilitating state called psychosis, which commonly includes symptoms such as sensory hallucinations, delusional and paranoid thought processes and the abnormal repetition of certain body movements. Some of the damaging brain effects of chronic meth-amphetamine use may be permanent, while others may resolve partially or fully if a meth user stops using the drug for extended periods of time. Without the drug, are they condemned to an existence without pleasure? The reality appears, at best, a difficult road.

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