Methamphetamine is a Schedule II stimulant with a high potential for abuse and dependence. A synthetic drug, meth is closely related chemically to amphetamine, but produces greater effects on the central nervous system. There are few accepted medical reasons for its use, such as the treatment of narcolepsy, attention deficit disorder and for short-term use-obesity; but these medical uses are limited.

Methamphetamine is a man-made stimulant. The chemicals used in the manufacturing process can be corrosive, explosive, flammable, toxic, and, possibly, radioactive. There are currently three types of methamphetamine:

* L-methamphetamine (Levo-methamphetamine) which raises the blood pressure and causes the heart to beat rapidly, but does not increase alertness very much. Shakes/tremors and stomach cramps are common physical side-effects.

* D/L methamphetamine (Dextro-levo-methamphetamine) is made with the amalgam (P2P) method. It was popular during the 1960's, but it is still made and distributed, primarily by outlaw motorcycle gangs. It has to be injected to get the desired rush and produces side effects such as shakes, tremors, and stomach cramps.

* D-methamphetamine (Dextro-methamphetamine) is the most common currently. It is originated during the 1980's. It is made by the ephedrine reduction process. It is 2 to 10 times as physiologically active as L-methamphetamine. It increases the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and rate of breathing and dilates the pupils, and has fewer adverse side effects than the other two types of methamphetamine. The term "ice" most often refers to a pure form of d-methamphetamine. It is a large, usually clear crystal of high purity that is smoked in a glass pipe. The smoke is odorless, leaves a residue that can be re-smoked, and produces effects that may continue for 12 hours or more.

Methamphetamine comes in pill, powder, clear liquid, and rock form. The coloration of methamphetamine may vary significantly due to the manufacturing process and as a result, it may have a foul rancid odor. Colors range from colorless/white, red, orange, purple, green and brown depending on the process.

Methamphetamine is commonly known as "speed", "meth", and "chalk". Other street names for methamphetamine include: bennies, blue myth, blue mollies, bomido, CR, crank, cranksters, crink, cris, croak, and crystal. In its smoked form, it is often referred to as "ice", "crystal", "crank" or "glass". Methamphetamine got the nickname "crank" because bikers used to hide it in the crankcase of their motorcycles.

Methamphetamine is commonly smoked, injected intravenously, or snorted. The primary route of administration varies, even within regions. Smoking is becoming the most popular method of administration followed closely by inhalation/sniffing. When it is smoked or injected intravenously, methamphetamine produces an intense, extremely pleasurable "rush" almost immediately that lasts only a few minutes, followed by euphoria, referred to as a "high". Snorting or oral ingestions produces euphoria—a high but not an intense rush. Snorting produces effects within 3 to 5 minutes, and oral ingestion produces effects within 15 to 20 minutes.

Methamphetamine is commonly combined with morphine, heroine or cocaine in a "speedball". It is also used in conjunction with marijuana or alcohol. Methamphetamine is mot often used in a "binge and crash" pattern. Tolerance for methamphetamine occurs within minutes—meaning that the pleasurable effects begin to disappear even before the drug concentration in the blood falls significantly—users try to maintain the high by binging on the drug.

Meth cookers use an old recipe
Published : Thursday, 27 Aug 2009
-Allen Tomlin

As it gets harder and harder to gather the ingredients used in more conventional methamphetamine recipes, Albuquerque police say they're seeing a resurgence of "shake and bake" meth that's faster and cheaper to make.

Conventional meth recipes have used elaborate labs with jugs, chemicals and piping, taking 5 to 8 hours to make a batch.

But, police said, the "shake-and-bake" method uses fewer ingredients and just a two-liter soda bottle, taking just over an hour to make.

"It is a very simplistic method in which to produce methamphetamines," said John Walsh with the Albuquerque Police Department.

The process comes from an older recipe known as "Nazi meth." Some claim it was developed in Germany, but lost its popularity until recent restrictions on the ingredients used to make conventional meth.

Walsh said "shake-and-bake" meth is easier to transport because it's in smaller packaging.

"The labs themselves have become small to the point that they are transported literally in a backpack," he said.

Users come from all stripes, but police said they're getting younger. The high lasts four to 12 hours, and some addicts said it's better than normal meth.

Narcotics officers said it's cheaper too, about $20 for a quarter gram, but, Walsh said, it's "still just as volatile and still just as dangerous."

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