Over 2.6 million people have reported using methamphetamines in the past 12 months. Methamphetamine, or meth, is a stimulant that impacts the central nervous system. It can come in a few different forms, so how can you identify it if you think you’ve found it?
With the use of meth continuing to be prevalent, especially in rural communities, we here at Shadow Mountain Recovery strive to help further educate our communities about it. Education can go a long way in helping those who don’t know where to start. Today, we’re going to dive into meth, how to identify it, and how it can impact those who use it.
Identifying Meth: Things to Look Out For
It can feel scary to find an unknown substance in the possession of your loved one. If you think it might be meth, but aren’t sure how to confirm it, there are a few things you can look out for to help identify it. It’s important to remember that you can’t always know what might be cut or mixed into a substance, so it’s never safe to try and ingest it as a means of identification.
What Does Meth Look Like?
Meth comes in a few different forms. The most common of these forms include a pill, powder, or crystal rock. It is usually white, off-white, or in the case of crystal meth, it might appear translucent or even blue in tone. It could be stored in many different containers, from bags to normal household objects. While many times it is eaten or snorted, it can also be smoked, so you might notice a pipe nearby as well.
What Does Meth Smell Like?
Because there are other substances, like cocaine or heroin, that can come in a white powdery form, you might be determined to use another method of identifying it. Meth is an odorless substance, so smelling it won’t yield any results. It’s also important to note that snorting meth is a common means of consumption. Trying to smell it to determine what it is could lead to you ingesting some as well.
What Does Meth Taste Like?
While it is not recommended that you taste a substance you find to determine its origins, meth has a bitter taste to it.
Mixing Meth With Other Drugs
Combined substance use is not uncommon. Some people may take more than one substance to chase a different feeling or stronger high. There’s no guaranteed way to predict what the outcome will be, as it can vary depending on the substances combined, their purity, how much is taken, the person’s age and metabolism, and many other factors. However, combining two substances can have negative effects and outcomes.
Meth is a stimulant. When it’s combined with other stimulants such as cocaine or heroin, it can lead to cardiovascular problems, psychosis, serotonin syndrome, and panic attacks.
When meth is mixed with a depressant, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, it can increase the risk of heart problems or psychosis. In addition, this combination can work to make the person feel less impacted by both, as they tend to counteract each other. Because of this, the risk of meth overdose increases as the person is unaware of how much they’ve truly ingested.
Popular Street Names for Meth
Many substances have “street names,” which is a nickname people use when talking to others about that substance. There are many names out there, and there are surely new ones that develop over time, but here are a few of the more common street names for meth:
- Crystal Meth
How Can You Tell if Someone is Using Meth?
Before even finding a potential substance in a loved one’s possession, you might wonder if there are ways to tell if someone has been taking meth. Meth use comes with a myriad of potential side effects. Let’s break down some of the signs and changes that can come with meth consumption.
Physical Health Issues Cause By Meth Use
One of the most common symptoms of long-term meth consumption is a symptom that’s been dubbed “meth mouth.” This comes from the substance being regularly ingested as a form of consumption and can look like broken teeth and other dry mouth symptoms. This also can develop due to many people who manage substance use having a lower interest in personal hygiene. With their focus being primarily on the substance they’re interested in, they lose the desire to take care of themselves.
Another common physical sign is a symptom known as “meth mites.” Those who’ve consumed meth long-term are prone to hallucinations. One of the most prevalent ones is the sensation that bugs are crawling on or under the skin. They then pick at their skin to try to get rid of the bugs or alleviate the sensation, leading to many scabs and marks forming on their body. The most common location for these “mites” to appear is on easily accessible parts of the body such as the arms or face.
Of course, the body can be affected in other ways. If someone commonly injects meth as their form of consumption, they might have marks on their body or could run the risk of infections or other diseases from constant needle use.
Meth is a stimulant, so it makes the body more alert when it’s consumed, but also can impact the speed at which certain parts of the body function, like your heart rate. These are just a few of the short-term effects of meth that you can look out for:
- Decreased appetite
- Rapid or irregular breathing
- Higher body temperature
- Increased blood pressure
The longer a substance is consumed, the more the body is impacted by it. Meth use over time can start to impact not just your mental health, but your physical health as well. These are some of the symptoms and side effects that can develop over time with meth consumption:
- Extreme weight loss
- Dental issues
- Memory loss
- Violent behaviors
Types of Treatment Options for Meth Use Disorder
When it comes to substance use, in this case, meth, the body can eventually adapt or adjust to the substance being in your system. This doesn’t mean that continued use becomes safe afterward, but it's this process that leads to meth withdrawal when someone stops taking it.
If you or your loved one is looking to start treatment for meth use disorder, you can start right here at Shadow Mountain Recovery. We offer every step of the treatment process, from meth detox to inpatient and outpatient services.
With detox, you will stay and be assisted by our medically licensed, professional staff. They’ll help ensure your withdrawal symptoms are managed and that you recover safely.
After this, you will talk with your medical team to determine what course of action will work best for you and your recovery journey. Our inpatient services allow for the patient to stay on-site 24/7 during their recovery. This gives you a safe and secure environment where you can focus solely on recovery. We offer individual and group therapy sessions, alongside other, alternative, evidence-based treatment options. We understand that every patient is unique, which is why we offer a variety of treatment options for your healing journey so you can find what works best for you.
If you choose outpatient, or move to outpatient after inpatient, you won’t stay on-site during your stay. Regardless, you will still gain access to the same treatment options and services that are offered while being able to go home. This can work particularly well for those working during recovery, who have family they need to be with, or for those who want to slowly transition out of recovery.
If you have any questions about our treatment options, meth recovery, or anything else, don’t hesitate to give us a call today at 800-203-8249.
FAQs About Meth Identification
What to do when a loved one requires meth addiction treatment?
Remember to approach your loved one with open-mindedness. Being judgemental won’t help them want to take steps toward recovery. You can also contact places like Shadow Mountain to get more insight on how to best start this recovery journey.
How is meth produced?
Meth is derived from many over-the-counter pharmaceuticals such as Claritin. It’s produced in a lab and can come in forms such as pills, powder, or crystal rocks.