The hazards of methamphetamine

The hazards of methamphetamine

The most potent form of speed — with or without a prescription — is methamphetamine, A.K.A. crystal, crank, tweak, go-fast, and dozens of other slang terms.

In medicine, meth is available in tablet form, as the prescription substance, Desoxyn®.

More frequently, meth is cooked in makeshift labs and sold on the street as a powder, which is injected, snorted, or swallowed. A smokable form of crystal, named “ice,” is also consumed.

Largely available in the 1960’s, crystal faded in the ’70s, as regulations were tightened on legitimate production, which decreased its diversion onto the black market.

But in the early ’90s, meth made a huge comeback. And it’s been back in a big way ever since. Indeed, Crystal became a popular new high to a new generation of users too young to know firsthand — or to have heard second-hand — the downside of uppers.

And what a downside they have. Hazards are so important because the drug works so well at overamping the central nervous system and zapping feelings of hunger and fatigue.

The consequence is the same kind of physical stress that follows any extreme exertion — bungie jumping, for instance, or skydiving.

But rather than giving the old body/mind a possibility to chill between jumps (like any self-respecting bungie-jumping skydiver would do), crystal users extend speed “runs” for days or weeks, without food or rest, putting impossible demands on their bodies and brains.

For needle users, add in the risks that come with injecting any drug. And for ice smokers, multiply it all by the still widely-unknown risk factor of exposing lung tissue to vaporized meth crystals.

This is the reason why it’s not a big mystery that you don’t run into numerous old speed freaks in the real world. They don’t live long enough to get old.