Meth is short for methamphetamine, a stimulant drug, and there is only one legal type of methamphetamine, which is used to treat ADD, ADHD, and occasionally obesity. Most other types of meth are manufactured illegally in hidden meth labs and are extremely dangerous. If you suspect that your teen could be using meth, it is important that you address the issue immediately. Below you will find the three most important basic facts about meth and meth use:
1. It happens more than you might think.
Meth is definitely not the most popular drug among teenagers, but it is used more often than you might think. Although meth use among teens has been declining over the past ten years, it is still a commonly used drug. Over tree percent of teens in the 10th grade report having used meth in the past year, and approximately one in 25 students in the 12th grade report meth use within the past year. In the population as a whole, nearly 9 million people have tried methamphetamines at least once in their lives, and this is particularly troubling when presented with the fact that many adult drug users, meth users included, tried drugs for the first time during their teens.
2. Meth is very dangerous.
As a manufactured drug, meth is incredibly dangerous and unpredictable. Meth is often concocted in home labs, meaning there’s no telling what a particular batch could contain, and although the basis for meth is usually pills for treating common ailments, the end product is much more dangerous. Chemicals are extracted from these otherwise harmless pills, and then they are mixed with substances to increase meth’s potency, such as battery acid, ammonia, drain cleaner, lantern fuel, and antifreeze.
In addition to causing sudden, unpredictable death, meth use can also cause a number of serious and harmful side effects. The drug is highly addictive, which means that stopping meth use is remarkably difficult and can cause painful withdrawal symptoms. Brain damage is one of the most severe side effects of long term meth use, and many people have compared meth’s particular type of brain damage to Alzheimer’s Disease.
3. Meth signs are hard to distinguish.
Unfortunately for concerned parents, the symptoms of meth use are rather difficult to distinguish from the symptoms of other types of drug use. Changes in sleep patterns, appetite, and mood are common, but these could be easily confused with other drugs’ signs. Meth is characterized, however, by its ability to cause unusual levels of aggression and agitation. One of the only indicators of meth use that is unique to the drug is a symptom known as “meth mouth.” Meth mouth is the informal name for the drug’s ability to cause addicts to lose their teeth abnormally quickly. The drug causes dry mouth and teeth grinding and clenching, both of which contribute to teeth rot and loss.
If you suspect that your teen may be using meth, it is important to address the problem promptly. Meth use can result in a multitude of negative side effects, and although they are difficult to distinguish from other drug use symptoms, you should still seek professional assistance if you have reason to believe that your teenaged son or daughter could be using drugs.