What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It usually comes in the form of a crystalline white powder that is odorless, bitter-tasting and dissolves easily in water or alcohol.

Other colors of powder have been observed, including brown, yellow-gray, orange and even pink. It can also be compressed into pill form.

It can be snorted, smoked or injected.

Meth can be manufactured using over-the-counter drugs, household products and other chemicals that can be purchased at any local store. Crystal meth comes in clear chunky crystals resembling ice and is most commonly smoked.

Most people develop a strong desire to continue using it because the drug creates a false sense of happiness and well-being—a rush (strong feeling) of confidence, hyperactiveness and energy. One also experiences decreased appetite. These drug effects generally last from six to eight hours but can last up to twenty-four hours.

Methamphetamine in Michigan

As of 2019, county prosecutors in Michigan are warning of a resurgence of methamphetamine throughout the state. They say the latest incarnation of the drug is much more potent and addictive than it used to be.

The meth that is sold on the street these days usually does not come from homemade labs. It is crystal meth imported from places like Mexico. In 2019, detectives called Kalamazoo the epicenter of meth in Michigan.

Physical Symptoms of Use

  • Rapid unhealthy weight loss
  • Abnormal sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nasal problems or nosebleeds
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Dilated pupils
  • Burns on lips or fingers
  • Track marks on arms
  • Severe dental problems, known as “meth mouth”

Behavioral Symptoms of Use

  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Change in friends
  • Disinterest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Increased manic activity
  • Long periods of sleeplessness (24-120 hours) followed by long periods of sleep (24-48 hours)
  • Incessant talking
  • Irritability, erratic attention span
  • Twitching, shaking, itching- delusions of insects crawling under skin
  • Decreased appetite
  • Aggression or violent behavior
  • False sense of confidence and power
  • Carelessness about appearance
  • Paranoia, anxiousness, nervous, agitated
  • Extreme moodiness, severe depression
  • Hallucinations

Paraphernalia to indicate use

  • Rolled up paper money or short straws
  • Pieces of glass/mirrors
  • Razor blades
  • Burned spoons
  • Surgical tubing
  • Syringes/needles

**The list of symptoms may be the warning signs for abuse of other drugs also. Change in behavior doesn’t always indicate drug use, and the list above doesn’t necessarily include all possible behavioral and physical symptoms. In many cases a combination of many of the factors above and severe change in behavior is a common indicator that a person may be using drugs.

Homemade Meth Lab Waste

Meth lab waste, or waste dump sites, pose risks to the public and it should not be handled or disposed of without the proper equipment and adequate training. People make or “cook” methamphetamine (meth) using legal, over-the-counter products. Below is a list of waste generated by meth labs.

If you come across what you believe to be meth lab waste, call 911 or your local law enforcement immediately.

  • Empty medicine boxes and blister packs for common cold pills or diet pills that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.
  • Plastic pop/juice/water bottles with tubing coming out of top or white/brown residue
  • Empty containers of sulfuric, muriatic or phosphoric acid.
  • Lithium batteries that appear to be unrolled.
  • Coffee filters with red stains/powder or white residue.
  • Bags containing a reddish or white powder
  • Respirator masks.
  • Rubber gloves.
  • Plastic or rubber tubing, hoses, and clamps.
  • Pyrex glass, Corning ware, or other glass cookware.
  • Bed sheets or pillow cases stained red or containing a white powdery residue.
  • Engine starting fluid cans (punctured and drained of ethyl ether).
  • Empty drain cleaner containers (lye).
  • Kitty litter.
  • Empty bottles of “rubbing’ alcohol, acetone, tolune, or paint thinner.
  • Propane cylinders (typical of gas grills) used to transport anhydrous ammonia. This ammonia can burn your skin and cause very severe respiratory damage. The brass fitting on the tanks will turn a blue to blue green color. If you find, cylinders, DO NOT TOUCH but note location and report it to the nearest law enforcement agency.
  • Empty cans of Coleman/Camping fuel (naphtha).
  • DO NOT TOUCH anything put together or bundled by duct tape that you find on the side of the road or other such locations.

Street Names

METH: Beannies, Brown, Chalk, Crank, Chicken, feed, Cinnamon, Crink, Crypto, Fast, Getgo, Methlies, Quik, Mexican crack, Pervitin (Czech Republic), Redneck cocaine, Speed, Tick tick, Tweak, Wash, Yaba (Southeast Asia), Yellow powder

CRYSTAL METH: Batu, Blade, Cristy, Crystal, Crystal glass, Glass, Hot ice, Ice, Quartz, Shabu, Shards, Stove top, Tina, Ventana.

Other Helpful Resources

The Meth Project is a large-scale prevention program aimed at reducing meth use through public service messaging, public policy, and community outreach. Central to the program is a research-based marketing campaign, community action programs, and an in-school lesson all designed to communicate the risks of meth use www.methproject.org

drugfreeworld.org – How Methamphetamine Affects Peoples Lives
teens.drugabuse.gov – Methamphetamine