Amphetamine, dextroamphetamine and methamphetamine, are collectively referred to as amphetamines. Their chemical properties and actions are so similar that even experienced users have difficulty knowing which drug they have taken.

Street names – Crank, Crystal, Crystal Glass, Meth, Christina, Tina, Chris, Christy, Chalk, Chalk Dust, Ice, Speed

Effects – Short term effects are:

  • Increased wakefulness.
  • Increased physical activity.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Increased respiration.
  • Hyperthermia.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Irregular heart beat.
  • Cardiovascular collapse.

Other effects of amphetamine use on the central nervous system can produce the following symptoms:

Withdrawal Symptoms – Withdrawal from amphetamine is not fatal. Symptoms primarily consist of fatigue, depression, and increased appetite. Symptoms may last for days with occasional use and weeks or months with chronic use, with severity dependent on the length of time and the amount of methamphetamine used. Withdrawal symptoms may also include anxiety, irritability,headaches, agitation, restlessness, excessive sleeping, vivid or lucid dreams, deep REM sleep, and suicidal ideation

Long-term use – The long-term use of amphetamine can cause damage to the brain similar to that caused by Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and epilepsy. This brain damage lingers for months even after the user stops methamphetamine use.

Methamphetamine abuse can produce extreme anorexia. Even over a short period of use, amphetamine can cause drastic changes in the appearance of the user. Long Term effects can result in:

  • Violent behavior.
  • Psychotic behavior.
  • Auditory hallucinations.
  • Homicidal or suicidal thoughts.
  • Delusions and paranoia

Statistics – The United States government reported in 2008 that approximately 13 million people over the age of 12 have used methamphetamine—and 529,000 of those are regular users.

In 2007, 4.5% of American high-school seniors and 4.1% of tenth grade students reported using methamphetamine at least once in their life.

In the United States, the percentage of drug treatment admissions due to methamphetamine and amphetamine abuse tripled from 3% in 1996 to 9% in 2006. Some states have much higher percentages, such as Hawaii, where 48.2% of the people seeking help for drug or alcohol abuse in 2007 were methamphetamine users.

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