what is meth

What Is Meth?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

It is the central character of one of the most successful dramatic series of all time. It has been rumored to have been coursing through Marilyn Monroe when she performed her famous “Happy Birthday” rendition to JFK. It’s the name of a popular electronica, trip hop band and commonly connected to the rave culture around the world. But other than these things, what is meth? And how does it affect those caught in its grips of addiction?


Originally synthesized in 1887 by a German chemist, with a more potent version being produced in Japan a few decades later, Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant—a synthetic narcotic that targets the central nervous system. Maybe the most interesting aspect of its origins is the fact that German WWII soldiers were given methamphetamines in the form of a tablet called Pervatin. It was believed that its properties as a stimulant would enhance the abilities a person in battle. It was particularly popular with fighter pilots who needed any edge to gain an upper hand. However, the side effects were potent often resulting in a drugged-out soldier unable to function normally for a couple of days after the effects had worn off.

While national trends are showing overall declines of usage, methamphetamine abuse continues to exhibit regional variability. The strongest effects are felt in the West and parts of the Midwest. Many cities in the western United States, such as San Diego, San Francisco, Denver, and Phoenix, have cited it as a top in drug-related admissions to treatment centers

Crystal and Powder

Crystal Meth, short for crystal methamphetamine, is semi-transparent white or blue and looks like a shard of glass or ice. This was the form Walter White created in the show Breaking Bad. Outside of TV reality, these chunks of glass-like (or ice like) crystal are popular as a party or rave drug, and are usually smoked. But crystal is just one of the forms that meth assumes. Meth is most commonly sold in the form of a white crystalline powder, but the lower the quality the darker the color will be. Much like the WWII fighter pilots, users experience a sense of well-being, happiness, confidence, and a rush of energy when on meth. Whether it is snorted, smoked, or injected, the results are highly addictive and long lasting (usually six to eight hours) sometimes even longer.

Street Names

  • Christina
  • Cookies
  • Cotton candy
  • Crank
  • Crystal
  • Dunk
  • Gak
  • Getgo or Go Fast
  • Go fast
  • Go-go juice
  • Ice
  • No doze
  • Poor Man’s Coke or Redneck Cocaine
  • Speed
  • Tina
  • Trash or Garbage
  • Tweek
  • Uppers
  • White cross

Effects on the Body

Because of its stimulant properties, immediate life-threatening dangers for a user include spiked blood pressure, brain hemorrhage, and lung collapse. Long-term users are in danger of irreversible organ damage, heart attack, blood clots, strokes and many other destructive results.

Other Symptoms

Meth mouth is a term given to the phenomenon that meth users experience as a result of the devastation meth has on teeth and gums (particularly when snorted, or inhaled through the nose). Some of the signs of this side effect include cavities, bad breath, swollen gums, rotting and stained teeth, and even tooth loss. As well, meth users often seem to endure premature aging. Since meth use destroys tissue and blood vessels, a person’s body is incapable of repairing itself in a normal fashion. As a result, meth users will often have sores, acne, and their skin will be dull and aged.


As there are no effective medications to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms of meth, a safe and monitored environment is essential for someone going through the detoxification process. One of the most important aspects of the treatment at First Steps Recovery is the safe environment with ample information always available to the client. Heavy monitoring and experienced specialists will be key to a more comfortable and successful detox. If you are struggling with an addiction to Meth, or you know someone who is, we are here to help you. Please call us today, and we will offer professional guidance on the first steps for you to take on the road to full recovery: 1-844-489-0836.

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