Methamphetamine (also known as speed and meth) is an artificial drug with a faster and more prolonged than amphetamine. Methamphetamine is a highly effective drug that is used illicitly in the treatment of narcolepsy and maintenance of blood pressure. It is one of the substances that the addiction recovery community often deals with in rehab and addiction treatment programs. If you or someone you know is struggling with methamphetamine addiction, understanding this drug is fundamental for seeking appropriate help.

Methamphetamine has a long and complex history. Originally synthesized in Japan in the early 20th century, it was primarily used for medical purposes. However, during World War II, methamphetamine gained popularity among soldiers for its stimulant effects, helping them stay awake and alert. In the 1960s, it became a recreational drug and was classified as a Schedule II controlled substance due to its high potential for abuse.

The effects of methamphetamine can be devastating and affect both physical and mental health. When you use meth, it releases a surge of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, reward and motivation. This intense rush creates a powerful high but repeated use can lead to a quick development of tolerance, causing users to increase their dosage to achieve the same effects.

The consequences of methamphetamine abuse are severe. Chronic use can lead to significant physical and psychological damage. Common physical effects include rapid weight loss, dental problems (commonly referred to as “meth mouth”), skin sores and a deterioration of overall health. Psychologically, methamphetamine can cause paranoia, hallucinations and psychotic episodes.

Crystal Meth in South Africa

Crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as “tik” in South Africa, has rapidly become a prevalent and highly addictive drug in the country, especially in the Western Cape Province and Cape Flats area. Regarded as the fastest growing addictive substance in the market, it has surpassed traditional drugs like dagga, mandrax and ecstasy. Methamphetamine use in South Africa is a relatively new phenomenon, deeply intertwined with the country’s sociopolitical history and ongoing social inequalities, particularly affecting communities struggling with high rates of crime and gangsterism.

The emergence of methamphetamine has led to significant social issues, including a new moral panic in areas like Cape Town, where a large number of teenagers, predominantly Coloured males, have fallen victim to its use. The average age of users is alarmingly young and methamphetamine has become the third most common illicit substance abused. The drug’s accessibility and low cost exacerbate the problem, leading to family disintegration, school dropouts and even suicide. While anecdotal evidence points to a substantial societal impact and associations with behaviors like childhood sexual abuse and HIV risk, formal research into the effects on users’ families, particularly the psychological impact on mothers of addicted children, remains limited. This gap points to the need for a better understanding of the drug’s psychosocial impact and the development of formal support interventions for affected families.

What is Methamphetamine? Your Addiction Guide

Methamphetamine (also known as speed and meth) is an artificial drug with a faster and more prolonged than amphetamine. Get help from qualified counsellors.

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