Wikipedia provides an excellent insight into the medical and cultural impacts of methamphetamine on this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methamphetamine
For more information on methamphetamine in New Zealand, please visit the New Zealand Police website: http://www.police.govt.nz/advice/drugs-and-alcohol/methamphetamine-and-law
The Drug Foundation provides an excellent information and assistance resource for a variety of drugs at http://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/
Join the crime prevention community at http://thecpc.org.nz/
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine (referred to as “meth”, “P”, "speed", "pure", "burn", "goey", "crank", "crystal", "ice" and "yaba") is a synthetic neurotoxic psycho-stimulant. It can be smoked, snorted, injected or eaten. First synthesised in 1893, it is now illegally “cooked” in makeshift clandestine labs (clan labs).
Methamphetamine is a class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act and therefore attracts severe penalties. Manufacturing, importing, dealing and possession for supply can lead to a life sentence. For more information on methamphetamine laws and penalties, and what you can do about methamphetamine in New Zealand, please visit http://www.police.govt.nz/advice/drugs-and-alcohol/methamphetamine-and-law
What is the difference between testing types?
Lab Based Testing
All of our samples are processed in an independent IANZ accredited lab for analysis via Liquid-chromatography-mass spectrometry. LCMS is a powerful technique with very high sensitivity levels which allow detection of methamphetamine to 0.02µg/100cm2. The analysis is very accurate, does not return false positives and all testing is done independently of the people who take the samples. Lab-based testing gives a quantitative result, this allows the forensic sampling credited person to write a HAZARD REMEDIATION REPORT to the independent appointed decontamination contractor to provide recommendations for contamination.
In Field / Presumptive / Self Testing
Meth residue check kits purchased (online) often look like pregnancy tests while they provide instant results, they have low sensitivity when compared to lab-based testing.
Note: Are not acceptable to lenders.
It is possible with online kits that the presence of meth residue may be missed even though it is present. The sampling may be done by the same inexperienced people who make the interpretations of the samples and that does cause problems with the results.
Presumptive testing is not evidential and should not be used for property transactions. If a presumptive test was undertaken onsite by experienced professional returns a not negative result, further testing should be undertaken, including independent lab-based tests.
What if my neighbour manufactured P?
Depending on the quality of the precursors and methods used by the cook, along with the proximity of the structures involved, anecdotal evidence suggests the contamination may drift. Given the low cost of indicative testing available now (including our residue Lab Base_Line check), we recommend that you set your mind at ease and call us on 0800 837 8464 to book an onsite check!
How can I tell if a meth lab is present near my residence?
Some warning signs may include:
Windows blacked out, with blankets, plastic or tin foil. Strong or unusual odours. Unusual security systems or devices. Increased activity, especially at night. Unusual structures and excessive rubbish. Discoloured structures, pavement or soil.
Will I smell it?
Meth use will often not leave behind a discernible odour. Sometimes, you may be able to smell a chemical or urine smell.
Aren’t P-Labs only found in low socio-economic areas?
Contamination can be found anywhere. Meth means big money and labs have been found in multi-million dollar homes and luxury apartments.
Methamphetamine (/mɛθæmfɛtəmiːn/, also known as methylamphetamine, N-methylamphetamine or desoxyephedrine) is a powerful psychostimulant and sympathomimetic drug. It is a member of the family of phenylethylamines. It is primarily used illegally for recreational purposes, weight loss and to maintain alertness, focus, motivation, with mental clarity for extended periods of time.
Methamphetamine enters the brain and triggers a cascading release of norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. It is highly active in the mesolimbic reward pathway of the brain, inducing intense euphoria, with high-risk for abuse and powerful addiction. Methamphetamine, to a lesser extent, acts as a dopaminergic and adrenergic reuptake inhibitor with high concentrations serving as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. Users may become hypersexual or obsessed with a task, thought or activity. Withdrawal is characterized by excessive sleeping, eating, and major depression, often accompanied by anxiety and drug-craving. Users of methamphetamine often take sedatives such as benzodiazepines as a means of easing their "come down" and enable them to sleep.
Methamphetamine addiction typically occurs when a person begins to use it because of its powerful enhancing effects on mood and energy, weight loss and appetite suppression, among its other psychological and physical effects. Over time effectiveness decreases, and users find that they need to take higher doses to get the same results and have far greater difficulty functioning and experiencing pleasure without the drug than they did before. Many users report becoming an addict from their first "shot", or just one intravenous injection of crystal methamphetamine, marking its high affinity for a spiral of debilitating addiction and labelling as a "hard drug".
Common nicknames for methamphetamine include "speed", "crank", "meth", "ice", "snappy", "crystal", "tina", "glass", "P", "shabu" or "syabu" (Philippines), "tik" (South Africa), and "yaa baa" (Thailand).
Physical effects can include a reduced appetite, anorexia, hyperactivity, dilated pupils, flushing, restlessness, dry mouth, headache, tachycardia, bradycardia, tachypnea, hypertension, hypotension, hyperthermia, diaphoresis, diarrhea, constipation, blurred vision, aphasia, dizziness, twitches, insomnia, numbness, palpitations, arrhythmias, tremors, dry and/or itchy skin,acne,pallor, and with chronic and/or high dosages, convulsions, coma, heart attack, stroke and death can occur.
Psychological effects can include euphoria, anxiety, increased libido, increased self-awareness, increased alertness, increased concentration, increased energy, increased self-esteem, increased self-confidence, increased excitation, increased orgasmic intensity, increased sociability, increased irritability, increased aggression, psychomotor agitation, hubris, excessive feelings of power and/or superiority, repetitive and/or obsessive behaviours, paranoia, and with chronic and/or high dosages, amphetamine psychosis can occur.
Withdrawal is characterised by excessive sleeping, eating, and major depression, often accompanied by anxiety and drug-craving.
Methamphetamine is addictive, especially when injected or smoked. While not life-threatening, withdrawal is often intense and, as with all addictions, relapse is common.
Methamphetamine addicts may lose their teeth abnormally quickly, a condition known as "meth mouth". This effect is not caused by any corrosive effects of the drug itself, which is a common myth. According to the American Dental Association, meth mouth "is probably caused by a combination of drug-induced psychological and physiological changes resulting in xerostomia (dry mouth), extended periods of poor oral hygiene, frequent consumption of high calorie, carbonated beverages and tooth grinding and clenching." Similar, though far less severe symptoms have been reported in clinical use of other amphetamines, where effects are not exacerbated by a lack of oral hygiene for extended periods.
Like other substances which stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, methamphetamine causes decreased production of acid-fighting saliva and increased thirst, resulting in increased risk for tooth decay, especially when thirst is quenched by high-sugar drinks.
Serious health and appearance problems can be caused by unsterilised needles, ignoring of hygiene needs, increase in acne in high doses, and obsessive skin-picking which may lead to abscesses.
Users may exhibit sexually compulsive behaviour while under the influence. This disregard for the potential dangers of unprotected sex or other reckless sexual behaviours may contribute to the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Among the effects reported by methamphetamine users are increased libido and sexual pleasure, the ability to have sex for extended periods of time, and an inability to ejaculate or reach orgasm or physical release. In addition to increasing the need for sex and enabling the user to engage in a prolonged sexual activity, methamphetamine lowers inhibitions and may cause users to behave recklessly or to become forgetful. Users may even report negative experiences after prolonged use, which contradict reported feelings, thoughts, and attitudes achieved at similar dosages under similar circumstances but at earlier periods of an extended or prolonged cycle.
According to a recent San Diego study methamphetamine users often engage in unsafe sexual activities, and forget to or choose not to use condoms. The study found that methamphetamine users were six times less likely to use condoms. The urgency for sex combined with the inability to achieve release (ejaculation) can result in tearing, chafing, and trauma (such as rawness and friction sores) to the sex organs, the rectum and mouth, dramatically increasing the risk of transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Methamphetamine also causes erectile dysfunction due to vasoconstriction.
Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding
Methamphetamine passes through the placenta and is secreted in the breast milk. Half of the newborns whose mothers used methamphetamine during pregnancy experience withdrawal syndrome; this syndrome is relatively mild and required medication in only 4% of the cases.
Routes of administration
Studies have shown that the subjective pleasure of drug use (the reinforcing component of addiction) is proportional to the rate at which the blood level of the drug increases. In general, intravenous injection is the fastest mechanism (it causes blood concentrations to rise the most quickly), followed by smoking, anal insertion (suppository), insufflation, and ingestion (swallowing). Ingestion does not produce a "rush", which is the most transcendent state of euphoria experienced with the use of methamphetamine and is the most prominent with intravenous use. While the onset of the "rush" produced by injection or smoking can occur in as little as two minutes, the oral route of administration usually requires approximately half an hour before the "high" kicks in. Thus, oral routes of administration are generally used by recreational or medicinal consumers of the drug, while other more fast-acting routes of administration are used by addicts.
"Smoking" amphetamines actually refers to vaporizing it to inhale fumes, rather than burning and inhaling the resulting smoke, as with tobacco. It is commonly smoked in glass pipes made from blown Pyrex tubes, light bulbs, or on aluminium foil heated underneath by a flame. This method is also known as "chasing the white dragon" (derived from heroin, known as "chasing the dragon"). There is little evidence that methamphetamine inhalation results in greater toxicity than any other route of administration. Lung damage has been reported with long-term use, but manifests in forms independent of route (pulmonary hypertension and associated complications), or limited to injection users (pulmonary emboli).
Injection is a popular method for use, also known as slamming, but carries quite serious risks. The hydrochloride salt of methamphetamine is soluble in water; injection users may use any dose from 125 milligrams to over one gram using a hypodermic needle. Injection users often experience skin rashes (sometimes called "speed bumps") and infections at the site of injection. As with any injected drug, if a group of users shares a common needle or any type of injecting equipment without sterilisation procedures, blood-borne diseases such as HIV or hepatitis can be transmitted as well.
Another popular method for recreational use of methamphetamine is to insufflate (sometimes called snorting). This is done by crushing the methamphetamine crystals up into a fine powder and then sharply inhaling it (sometimes with a straw or a rolled-up banknote) into the nose where the methamphetamine is absorbed through the soft tissue in the mucous membrane of the sinus cavity straight into the bloodstream. This method bypasses the first-pass metabolism and has a faster onset with a higher bioavailability, although duration is shorter than oral administration. This method is sometimes preferred by users who do not want to use needles for injection or do not want to have to smoke the methamphetamine.
Very little research has focused on suppository or anal insertion as a method, and anecdotal evidence of its effects is infrequently discussed, possibly due to social taboos in many cultures regarding the anus. This method is often known within methamphetamine communities as a "butt rocket", "potato thumping", "turkey basting", a "booty bump", "keistering", "plugging", "shafting", "shelving" (vaginal), or "bumming" and is anecdotally reported to increase sexual pleasure while the effects of the drug last longer. The rectum is where the majority of the drug would likely be taken up, through the membranes lining its walls.
Methamphetamine and Meth Labs
What is a meth lab?
Meth can be manufactured in a clandestine drug lab (meth lab) in a variety of indoor and outdoor locations, including houses, apartment buildings, motels, vehicles, wooded areas or fields. Meth is manufactured (or “cooked”) by applying common, readily available materials to one of several basic recipes.
Meth "recipes" can be easily obtained through the Internet or by associating with other cooks. There are hundreds of chemical products and substances that are used interchangeably to produce meth. The substitution of one chemical for another in meth recipes may cause the process to be more hazardous (resulting in fire or explosion) or may result in a tainted, final product with unwanted or dangerous effects.
Many dangerous chemical ingredients are used to make meth. The cooking process causes chemical residues and meth to be deposited on surfaces and household belongings. Also, chemical by-products such as toxic phosphine gas may be formed during meth manufacture. This may occur through planned chemical interaction, or by processing errors, such as increasing cooking temperatures too rapidly.
Every meth "recipe" starts with over-the-counter medications that include pseudoephedrine or ephedrine in their contents. The pills are crushed and mixed with other chemicals in the process of cooking meth. Various meth recipes include combinations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), acids, bases, metals, solvents and salts. Making meth with these chemicals can result in explosions, chemical fires, and the release of toxic gases.
Meth cooking also produces solid and liquid wastes that can contaminate a building and its contents, or the groundwater or soil where they are dumped.