What are methamphetamines?

Methamphetamine (amphetamine) is a stimulant drug. Methamphetamine has also been called crystal, tina, crystal meth, krank, tweak, ice and speed. Methamphetamines can be swallowed, snorted, smoked, or injected. Injecting is the riskiest method of using methamphetamines. In addition to risk of HIV and other STD transmission resulting from risky behavior while high, sharing injection equipment when using can also put you at risk of HIV and hepatitis transmission.

What are the effects of methamphetamines?

As the effects of methamphetamines vary with each person, it is difficult to predict exactly in what way and for how long. Effects are influenced by factors such as how much, how often and how they are used, plus the psychological and physical attributes of the person using them. Methamphetamines are used to reduce inhibitions and increase sexual pleasure. However, the liberating nature of the drug means that often safe sex is discarded while sexual activity increases greatly. It has been reported in the United States that in many new HIV cases, methamphetamines has been a factor.

Are methamphetamines addictive?

Regular use can produce a need to increase the dose to get the same effect, and can lead to physical dependence on the drug. Methamphetamines can produce a powerful craving for more of the drug. Long-term use can result in serious psychological and physical problems.

What are the risks of methamphetamines?

Methamphetamine users are at higher risk for HIV and hepatitis transmission risk through unsafe sex and needle sharing. Although rare, methamphetamines can cause seizures, heart attacks, strokes, and death from overdose. Many users become physically run down, which leaves them susceptible to a wide range of illnesses. Extended use of methamphetamines can cause paranoia and psychosis. The user may think that everybody is out to get them, or that they are being followed or watched. Mixing methamphetamines with other drugs, particularly other stimulants, can increase the risk of adverse reactions. Methamphetamines are also illegal and possession can result in long prison terms.

Are there specific risks of injecting methamphetamines?

The dose reaches the brain almost immediately, increasing the possibility of overdose. Impurities are introduced directly into the bloodstream and can cause septicemia, endocarditis and other infections. Repeated injections damage the veins, leading to thrombosis and abscesses. Sharing syringes can result in the transmission of HIV and hepatitis.

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