What is meth?
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant. Tolerance to meth develops quickly, meaning that the higher doses are necessary to achieve the same effects or “high”. Many users compensate this reduction in affect by taking higher doses, sometimes causing the user to develop dependence because they’re “chasing the high” or attempting to remediate their “lows”.
Meth is not a new drug. It comes from a family of drugs called amphetamines, which act as a stimulant to the central nervous system. They speed up messages to and from the brain – earning them the street name “speed”. The pharmaceutical name for amphetamine is Dexamphetamine, which is commonly used to treat ADHD, narcolepsy and is an ingredient used in some diet pills.
Meth comes in two main forms. Crystal rock which is the purest form of meth and is often called “ice” because of its appearance. Crystal rock is highly addictive because it is usually smoked therefore it is absorbed rapidly into the body, resulting in more profound effects on the nervous system.
The other common form of meth is powder. This can be snorted, injected or swallowed as a pill. It can come in a variety of shades of blue, green, brown and yellow.
Other common street names include, “P”, crack, whiz, burn, speed, crank, ice, crystal meth, etc.
Why is it a problem?
It is important to know that the majority of meth contamination is caused by “use” and not “manufacture”. Meth can be smoked, injected, swallowed or snorted. Both smoking and manufacturing leave behind a residue that is toxic, not only to those that reside at the property but, also to everyone that visits the property including family, friends, property inspectors and contractors etc.
Many chemicals and precursors that can be used in the manufacture of meth can individually cause health problems. Cooking these up to produce methamphetamine obviously produces a toxic cocktail! During the process of manufacturing meth, these chemicals become airborne and settle on the buildings walls, ceilings, carpet, appliances, decor etc. These chemicals can be easily absorbed into porous surfaces such as carpet and curtains and settle on the surface of walls and consequently seep through these walls.
When smoking or the manufacturing of meth has taken place in a property, the vapour clings to surfaces. People who come in contact with these surfaces can ingest the meth through their skin or by touching contaminated surfaces then touching mouth, nose or eyes. Babies are especially vulnerable. They live in a world where they crawl on all fours and everything is sampled by tasting. It takes only small amounts of meth to affect a baby. It’s safe to assume that small, chronic doses of the drug would cause the same reactions as the users experience but on a much smaller scale.
Common side effects include: speediness, loss of appetite, feeling “spaced out”, inability to concentrate, itchy skin, dry eyes, irritability, paranoia, colds, breathing difficulty, sinus problems, headaches, nervousness, anxiety, acne and confusion.