Amphetamines and Methamphetamines

The medical use of amphetamines was common in the 1950/60's when they were used to help cure depression and to help the user lose weight. An amphetamine is a drug that is a stimulant to the central nervous system. Amphetamines are colorless and may be inhaled, injected, or swallowed. Amphetamines are also used non-medically to avoid sleep, improve athletic performance, or to counter the effects of depressant drugs. Amphetamines are addictive. Because of this, when the user discontinues use or reduces the amount that they use, withdrawal symptoms may occur. Some withdrawal symptoms are as follows: severe exhaustion, deep sleep lasting from 24 to 48 hours, psychotic reaction, extreme hunger, deep depression, anxiety reactions, and long but disturbed sleep. Although someone using amphetamines may experience withdrawal symptoms for a short period of time, the benefits to a person who stops using the drug greatly outweigh an addiction to amphetamines. Because amphetamines suppress appetite and give the user feelings of energy, they are sometimes abused by people who are trying to lose weight. But, because appetite is suppressed and decreased, malnutrition occurs. The user will not be getting enough vitamins or minerals and will become ill more often. They may also lose a dangerous amount of weight. Abuse of amphetamines is not a safe nor effective way to lose weight.

Methamphetamine's chemical structure is similar to that of its parent drug, amphetamine, but has more pronounced effects on the central nervous system. Methamphetamines are a powerfully addictive stimulant that, like amphetamines, affects the central nervous system. Methamphetamine was used originally in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers. There are a few accepted medical reasons for its use, such as the treatment of narcolepsy and ADD, but these uses are limited. In its regular form, methamphetamines are also known as speed, meth, and chalk. In its smoked form, it is known as ice, crystal, crank, and glass. Methamphetamine comes in many forms and can be smoked, snorted, orally ingested or injected. The smokeable form of methamphetamine, knows as "ice," came into use in the 1980's. Ice is a large, usually clear crystal of high purity that is smoked in a glass pipe like crack/cocaine. The smoke is odorless, leaves a residue that can be re-smoked, and produces effects that my continue for 12 hours or more. Since there are a few accepted medical reasons for its use, methamphetamine is a controlled substance in the United States, and cannot be used legally without a doctor's approval. Methamphetamine abuse can also lead to legal, financial, and social problems. If methamphetamines are used during pregnancy, babies tend to be asocial, incapable of bonding, have tremors, have birth defects, and cry for 24 hours without stopping. There is also an increased risk of child abuse and neglect of children born to parents who use methamphetamines. WISC-TV reports, "There's a new drug moving into your neighborhood, reports WISC-TV. It's methamphetamine and it's one of the most addictive, dangerous drugs available. Law enforcement agencies are doing what they can to combat the latest trend among drug users, but it may be hard to stop the spread of the highly addictive drug. It's known as 'poor man's cocaine'. It's cheap, it gives a lengthy high and it's easy to make. Police say children are among the buyers." The drug is referred to by many different names. Pure methamphetamine hydrochloride, the smokeable form of the drug, is called "L.A." or because of its clear, chunky crystals which resemble frozen water- ice, crystal, 64glass, or quartz. Since the 1980s, ice has been smuggled from Taiwan and South Korea into Hawaii, where use became widespread by 1988. By 1990, distribution of ice had spread to the U.S. mainland. Methamphetamine has become the drug of choice in the Midwest. Within the last five years, meth use has increased in some communities by as much as 300 percent, accounting for up to 90 percent of the drug cases in many areas. Even small amounts of methamphetamine can produce euphoria, increased alertness, paranoia, decreased appetite, and increased physical activity. Other central nervous system effects include athetosis (writhing jerky, or flailing movements), irritability, extreme nervousness, insomnia, confusion, tremors, anxiety, aggression, incessant talking, hypothermia, and convulsions. Hypothermia (extreme rise in body temperature as high as 108 degrees) and convulsions can sometimes result in death. Some of the long-term effects include fatal kidney and lung disorders , brain damage,