Methamphetamine, commonly nicknamed as “meth,” “crystal meth” or “crystal,” is a growing drug problem in the United States. Meth comes in many forms and can be smoked (sometimes called “ice”), snorted, ingested orally or injected. It is a Schedule II stimulant drug under the United States’ parameters for illicit drugs — this means it has high potential for abuse, but that some forms of methamphetamine have known medical uses. In fact, when meth was first developed by chemists in the early 1900s, it was intended only for medical and official applications: it was used as a stimulant for soldiers during World War II, and occasionally prescribed as a diet aid and antidepressant. But as its availability increased, so did its illegal and recreational use.
Today, meth is easily and frequently created illegally in homegrown labs both in the United States and other countries, such as Mexico. The common street form of the drug creates an intense rush that only lasts minutes, and is often used in what is known as a “binge and crash” pattern. Since the high does not last very long, users will often dose repeatedly before the high wears off to keep the effects for longer. Binging in this manner does not allow meth to process out of the bloodstream before re-dosing, so the concentrations of meth in a user’s system become very high. When a user ends a binging session or runs out of meth, they will experience a physical and emotional crash as a result of their brain and body struggling to process the drug while dealing with a shift from being high to being sober.
It’s easy for meth users to become stuck in a cycle of binging and crashing, and for them to start craving the feeling of being high as the return to sobriety becomes increasingly difficult to handle. Over a short amount of time, meth use and addiction can be very dangerous to an individual’s mental and physical health — it’s important to seek treatment so that successful recovery can and sobriety can replace patterns of addiction.