Methamphetamine is a drug that is primarily abused recreationally, but can also be used in various forms to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This drug also goes by the street names “speed,” “freeze,” “ice” and “fire”. It alters the natural chemicals in the brain to assist with symptoms of the disorder.1While some physicians prescribe methamphetamine drugs for legitimate medical purposes, these drugs are more often abused and can be bought on the streets. Methamphetamine is highly addictive—some users can get addicted after a single use of the drug. Some people develop a dependence on the drug while taking the medication as directed by a physician, but others become addicted when abusing the drug recreationally to get high.
Being addicted to this drug can have dangerous consequences, such as long-term health issues—it can even lead to death. If you suspect someone you love is abusing methamphetamine, it’s important to get them the help they need to get well.
Dangers of Abuse
One of the biggest risks of long-term methamphetamine use is overdose. Since the body builds a tolerance to the drug after regular use, it’s common for people to increase their doses over time. If they stop taking it, their body’s tolerance for the drug decreases. For this reason, if they then take their prior dose when they start using again, an overdose is likely.
Overdose can also occur when users don’t really know what they’re getting when they buy methamphetamine on the streets. Street drugs are often mixed with other substances that may enhance or alter the drug’s effects. A user may get a very “pure” dose one time and a diluted dose another time, making it difficult to know how much of the drug to take. If the user gets a particularly concentrated batch, methamphetamine overdose can occur.
Overdosing on methamphetamine is incredibly dangerous, and it can lead to death. Symptoms that may indicate an overdose include:2
- Labored breathing.
- Uncontrolled shaking.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Temperature fluctuations.
What to Expect When You Call a Meth Abuse Hotline
Calling a methamphetamine abuse hotline can often be the first step on the path to wellness. These helplines are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with professionals who can guide you toward the right addiction treatment options for you. When you call, you will likely be asked a series of questions regarding your situation. Rest assured that the call is completely confidential so you can feel comfortable to answer honestly.
The information provided will help the counselor to understand your particular situation. Feel free to ask any questions you have about methamphetamine abuse; if you are unsure if someone you know has an addiction issue, discuss your concerns with the counselor.
Even if you aren’t sure that you are ready to take the next step toward treatment, a methamphetamine abuse hotline can help clarify some issues for you. You don’t have to commit to getting treatment; the helpline is just there to assist you in whatever capacity you need. Support is imperative on the road to sober living, and these hotlines provide just that.
Some of the treatment options you will likely be given when you call include:
- Detox (including medication-assisted detox).
- Inpatient or residential treatment.
- Outpatient treatment.
In addition to the consultant you speak with on the phone, it is important to follow up with your primary care provider or your counselor or therapist (if you have one), and gather support from family and friends for your choice to get clean and sober.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). What Is Methamphetamine?
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2015). Methamphetamine overdose. MedlinePlus.