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Fast Facts about Methamphetamine

Here is some information about methamphetamine from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency:

Q: What is methamphetamine?

A: Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant. It is a controlled substance that is manufactured in clandestine laboratories throughout the United States. It is easy to make using common household chemicals.

Q: How Is Methamphetamine taken?

A: Methamphetamine can be ingested by swallowing, inhaling, injecting or smoking. Methamphetamine is highly addictive. The side effects, which arise from the use and abuse of methamphetamine, include irritability, nervousness, insomnia, nausea, depression, and brain damage.

Q: What are some street names for methamphetamine?

A: Speed, Meth, Ice, Crystal, Chalk, Crank, Tweak, Uppers, Black Beauties, Glass, Bikers Coffee, Methlies Quick, Poor Man's Cocaine, Chicken Feed, Shabu, Crystal Meth, Stove Top, Trash, Go-Fast, Yaba, and Yellow Bam

Q: How much does methamphetamine cost?

A: Prices vary throughout the United States. On the distribution level, it can range from $3,500 per pound in parts of California and Texas to $21,000 per pound in the southeastern and northeastern regions of the country. The retail price for methamphetamine ranges from $400 to $3,000 per ounce. One methamphetamine addict told authorities her habit started at $10-$25 a day and grew to $250 a day.

Q: How many Americans use methamphetamine?

A: According to the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 11.7 million Americans--ages 12 and older--reported trying methamphetamine at least once. This represents 4.9% of the population ages 12 and older. Of the students surveyed in the 2005 Monitoring the Future study, the following reported trying methamphetamine: 3.1% of eighth graders, 4.1% of tenth graders, and 4.5% of twelfth graders.

Q: What are the side effects of methamphetamine?

A: The initial side effects of methamphetamine are pleasurable. But the drug can cause mental confusion, severe anxiety, and paranoia. Methamphetamine users are aggressive and paranoid, and can become violent. There is a direct relationship between methamphetamine abuse and increased incidents of domestic violence and child abuse.

Q: Are there any legal uses for methamphetamine?

A: Methamphetamine has limited medical uses for the treatment of narcolepsy, attention deficit disorders, and obesity.

Q: What are the dangers of clandestine methamphetamine laboratories?

A: The production of methamphetamine requires the use of hazardous chemicals. Many of these chemicals are corrosive or flammable. The vapors that are created in the chemical reaction attack mucous membranes, skin, eyes and the respiratory tract. Some chemicals react dangerously with water and some can cause fire or explosion.

Q: Doesn't much of the methamphetamine in the U.S. come from Mexico?

A: The transportation of methamphetamine from Mexico appears to be increasing. There are an increasing number of seizures along the U.S.-Mexico border. The amount of methamphetamine seized at or between U.S.-Mexico border ports of entry (POEs) increased more than 75 percent overall from 2002 (1,129.8 kg), to 2003 (1,733.1 kg), and 2004 (1,984.6 kg). This increase most likely reflects the increased methamphetamine production in Mexico since 2002. Drug trafficking operations in Mexico primarily smuggle methamphetamines into the U.S. in Arizona and southern Texas.

Q: Can the waste from methamphetamine laboratories be dangerous?

A: Methamphetamine manufacturing results in a great deal of hazardous waste. Making one pound of methamphetamine generates six pounds of waste. This waste include corrosive liquids, acid vapors, heavy metals, solvents and other harmful materials that can cause disfigurement or death if they come in contact with the skin or are inhaled into the lungs. Lab operators almost always illegally dump this waste in ways that damage the environment. National parks and other preserved sites have been adversely affected. For more information, go to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's Web site: www.dea.gov