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Awareness

An important step in combating meth use is being aware of the problems and symptoms associated with meth use.

Warning Signs
(compiled from: http://www.drugfree.org/Portal/DrugIssue/Meth/is_my_child.html)

Short-Term Use Can Result In:

  • Alertness and inability to sleep: Something might be up if you notice a change in sleeping patterns -- especially staying up for days on end and then sleeping or fatigued for a few days straight.
  • Nervous physical activity: You notice fidgeting -- and possibly scratching or picking at skin.
  • Decreased appetite: Uninterested in food, and starts to become dangerously thin.
  • Euphoria and rush: Might be extremely alert and energized, even after being up all night.
  • Increased respiration and/or increased body temperature: Might appear out of breath for no reason (meth is a stimulant that can speed up one's heart rate.)
  • Burns, nosebleeds or track marks: Strange burns on lips or fingers, may be smoking meth through a hot glass or metal pipe. Snorting meth could cause nosebleeds and eventually eat away at the septum inside the nose. If using meth intravenously there could be track marks on her arms.
  • Carelessness about appearance: Stopped showering? Lost interest in grooming? No longer brushes teeth?
  • Deceit or secretiveness: Lying to you all the time? Plans sounding fishy or vague? Bedroom door always closed? Seemingly endless string of excuses to justify behavior?
  • Violence and aggression: Meth affects the central nervous system, which in turn can affect a person's mood. Look for wild mood swings, hostility or abusive behavior.
  • Presence of inhaling and injecting paraphernalia: If you noticed razor blades, mirrors, straws, syringes, spoons or surgical tubing, this is a clear sign of drug abuse -- and a cry for help.
  • Withdrawal from family and friends: Look for deteriorating relationships with family members and friends. May be depressed or exhibit a lack of enthusiasm -- and not share or express themselves as they used to.
  • Loss of interest in school and extracurricular activities: Meth is highly addictive, and many users spend most of their free time looking for another way to find more of the drug. Therefore, interests that were once very important may all of a sudden seem insignificant.
  • Problems at school: This can include slipping grades, absenteeism and decreased motivation.
  • Missing valuables: From stealing cash from your wallet to swiping valuables like jewelry and heirlooms to pawn for money to purchase more drugs.


Long-Term Use Can Result In:

  • Dependence: Can't function in their day-to-day activities without meth, they are dependent - and possibly addicted.
  • Addiction psychosis: This can include a number of disturbing behaviors:
    • Hallucinations
    • Paranoia
    • Mood disturbances
    • Repetitive motor activity
    • Might talk to people who aren't there or become so paranoid that they won't leave the house.
  • Severe anorexia: Some take meth to lose weight, and become dependant on the drug. The weight loss can be rather quick and drastic - leaving them looking unhealthy and skeleton-thin.
  • Memory loss: Meth is very toxic and can affect the brain so much that the user may begin to show symptoms similar to Alzheimer's.
  • Stroke, liver or heart failure: Meth puts the body in overdrive, which can fatally damage one's internal organs.

    ** In all cases of meth use, a user may experience a loss of inhibitions and a false sense of control and confidence, which can lead to dangerous behavior.
meth user meth user

© 2005 COPC Project
Last Updated: June 14, 2006