Methamphetamine and You

What is Meth?

Methamphetamine, or “Meth,” is a synthetic drug produced and sold illegally as pills, capsules, powder and chunks. Similar to adrenaline, it affects the central nervous system and is extremely addictive. It is also known as crank, glass, speed, crystal, ice, batu, chalk, shabu, zip, and other names.

Detecting a User

Meth users often become agitated and feel “wired.” Their behavior becomes unpredictable. They may be friendly and calm one moment, angry and terrified the next. Some feel compelled to repeat meaningless tasks, such as taking apart and reassembling bits of machinery. Others may pick at imaginary bugs on their skin. They frequently suffer from insomnia and weight loss. Note that these symptoms can also indicate other illnesses, and only a physician can diagnose the actual cause.

Effects of Meth Use

Effects of Meth usage include almost instant addiction, psychotic behavior, and brain damage. Chronic use can cause violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, hallucinations, moodiness, delusions, paranoia, and eventually death. Brain damage caused by Meth is similar to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, or epilepsy. Pregnant women may have premature labor, detachment of the placenta, or low birth weight babies with neurological damage.  Intravenous (IV) drug users may be exposed to other hazards such as AIDS, Hepatitis infections, and sores at the injection site. Infections of the heart lining and valves have also been reported.

Effects of Meth on Non-users

Users aren’t the only ones who can be affected by Meth. Their families and friends will notice the changes, and may suffer from the User’s outbursts. Meth labs can explode violently if the chemicals are mishandled. Many such labs are in ordinary houses, and pose a threat to neighbors who may have no idea that there is a lab in their neighborhood. Meth also causes a financial drain on local, state, and federal governments, who must allocate additional resources for social services, treatment, prevention, research, clean up, and law enforcement.

Environmental Hazards

Producing a pound of Meth creates five to six pounds of toxic waste. Meth cookers often pour left over chemicals and sludge down household drains, into storm drains, or directly onto the ground. Solvents and other toxic by-products used to produce Meth pose long-term hazards because they can persist in the soil and groundwater for years. Clean-up of labs is expensive and beyond the capability of most law enforcement agencies. Contaminated soil must usually be incinerated. The average cost of a cleanup is about $5,000 but can easily escalate to $150,000 or more.

Careless practices by Meth cookers can result in explosions and fires that injure and kill not only the cookers, but also unsuspecting neighbors and emergency responders. Exposure to the chemicals used in making Meth can cause neural damage, effect kidneys, and burn or irritate the skin, eyes and nose. And Meth “labs” are nothing like what you would think of as a laboratory in the traditional sense. It is not uncommon for the “cookers” to also be users. Someone under the effects of Meth who is handling deadly chemicals is a recipe for disaster.

The Consequences (Source: US Drug Enforcement Administration (opens in new window)

5g – 49g pure or 50g – 499g mixture 50g or more pure or 500g or more mixture
First Offense: Not less than 5 yrs, and not more than 40 yrs. If death or serious injury, not less than 20 or more than life. Fine of not more than $2 million if an individual, $5 million if not an individual

Second Offense: Not less than 10 yrs, and not more than life. If death or serious injury, life imprisonment. Fine of not more than $4 million if an individual, $10 million if not an individual.

First Offense: Not less than 10 yrs, and not more than life. If death or serious injury, not less than 20 or more than life. Fine of not more than $4 million if an individual, $10 million if not an individual.

Second Offense: Not less than 20 yrs, and not more than life. If death or serious injury, life imprisonment. Fine of not more than $8 million if an individual, $20 million if not an individual.

 

2 or More Prior Offenses:
POSSIBLE LIFE IMPRISONMENT