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Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction

 / Methamphetamine
Meth abuse
Meth stats 2020 to 2021
What is methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine addiction

Methamphetamine Statistics and Abuse

Meth is one of America's most dangerously addictive and misused drugs. It has an extreme physical and psychological effect on the body and has become a lethal drug even to those who use it for the first time. 

The devastating effects of meth have not even escaped the clutches of children. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 8th graders using methamphetamine increased by 61% between 2016 and 2020. Here are some other highly shocking statistics associated with methamphetamine abuse.

Methamphetamine Statistics in 2020 and 2021

  • 0.9% of people in 2020, age 12 and above, reported having used methamphetamine in the previous twelve months, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

  • 0.2% of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in 2021 admitted to using meth in the previous 12 months, according to the 2021 Monitoring the Future Survey.

  • 1.5 million people, or about 0.6% of people aged 12 and older, report developing a Meth Use Disorder in the previous twelve months, according to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.


CDC wonder database revealed that about 24000 people die from a psychostimulant overdose, primarily methamphetamine.

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is manufactured from the parent drug amphetamine and has the original purpose of usage in bronchial inhalers and nasal decongestants. Methamphetamine is an odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that quickly dissolves in alcohol or water. It is a highly addictive and powerful stimulant that significantly impacts the central nervous system.


Like amphetamine, methamphetamine boosts energy, talkativeness, euphoria, and decreased appetite. However, methamphetamine causes a lot of the drug to enter your brain, unlike amphetamine, which became a more potent stimulant. This makes methamphetamine a widely misused drug, with its more harmful and longer-lasting effects on the central nervous system.


U.S Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA, groups methamphetamine under schedule II stimulants, mostly legally available through non-refillable prescriptions. Most doctors prescribe the drug for weight loss treatments to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or short-term components. However, medical professionals make sure to specify the drug in limited dosages that are much lower than those customarily misused.

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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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Methamphetamine Addiction

Methamphetamine is available in several forms and may be injected, smoked, orally ingested, or snorted. These administration forms determine how quickly or slowly the effects of the drug register themselves. The mode of administration also determines how long the impact of the methamphetamine lasts in your system.


For instance, injecting or smoking methamphetamine quickly puts the drug into the brain and bloodstream; you feel an immediate and intense rush that amplifies the risk of addiction and severe health consequences. However, the "rush" quickly goes away as it comes and is reported to be highly pleasurable.


Oral ingestion or snorting produces euphoria (high) but is not an intense "rush." For example, snorting methamphetamine produces effects within 3 to 5 minutes, while oral ingestion produces a high within 15 to 20 minutes.


Like many other stimulants, people using methamphetamine mostly do so in a "binge and crash" pattern. A "binge and crash" pattern is when a user takes a lot of the drug quickly. This happens because methamphetamine effects only last for a few minutes, even before the concentration of the drug in the blood falls.


Since these effects last for short periods, users take more of the drug to try and maintain the high. In other extreme cases, people indulge in a binge called "run." Users forgo sleep and food for up to several days while taking the drug.

Effects of Abusing Methamphetamine

Effects of meth abuse

Even when used in small quantities, methamphetamine can drastically increase physical activity and wakefulness and decrease appetite. The following are the short-term and long-term effects of using methamphetamine. They include:


Short-Term Effects


Methamphetamine has the following mild effects:


  • A "rush" or high

  • Increased respiration

  • Elevated body temperature

  • Convulsions

  • Stroke

  • Wakefulness

  • Increased physical activity

  • Less appetite

  • Euphoria

  • Irritability

  • Insomnia

  • Confusion

  • Tremors

  • Anxiety

  • Paranoia

  • Violence

  • Hypothermia

  • Higher heart rate

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Irreversible damage to the blood vessels found in the brain

  • Increased attention


Long-Term Effects


In severe cases of methamphetamine abuse, a user may develop the following long-term effects:


  • Acute vision loss

  • Corneal ulcers

  • Strokes  

  • Deadly convulsions

  • Intense paranoia

  • Psychotic behavior

  • Memory loss

  • Aggression

  • Brain damage

  • Breathing problems

  • Heart damage

  • Cardiovascular collapse

  • Severe dental diseases

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Unhealthy weight loss

  • Death

  • Visual & auditory hallucinations

  • Rages and violent episodes

  • Body sores in case of scratching unreal crank bugs

  • Loss of dopamine

  • Confusion

  • Delusions

  • Injecting methamphetamine exposes victims to hepatitis B, C, and HIV/AIDS risks.


More About Meth Abuse and Addiction

Signs of Meth Abuse

Signs of meth abuse

Methamphetamine releases much dopamine in the brain, interfering with your reward system. Once it introduces dopamine, your brain quickly learns to repeat using the drug because it associates it with the "high" feeling. In addition, dopamine influences motor function and motivation, causing its release to the reward circuit, a defining feature of various addictive drugs.


The released dopamine also contributes to methamphetamine's harmful effects on the nerve terminals of your brain. Watch out for the following signs and symptoms of methamphetamine addiction:


  • Increased heart rate

  • Elevated body temperature

  • Flushed skin

  • Itchiness

  • Dilated pupils

  • Rapid eye movement

  • Hyperactivity

  • Erratic and uncontrollable twitching

  • Dental damages

  • Weight loss

  • Scabbed or bruised skin

  • Taking more methamphetamine to have the "high" feeling

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms in the absence of meth

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms of meth

As soon as your body develops tolerance to methamphetamine, you experience withdrawal symptoms when you fail to use the drug. Withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe and depend on how long you use the drug, gender, age, and more. Some withdrawal symptoms associated with meth include:


  • Depression

  • Fatigue

  • Anxiety

  • Hallucinations

  • Insomnia

  • Intense cravings for meth

  • Headaches

  • Paranoia

  • Increased appetite

  • Agitation

  • Excessive sweating

  • Fever

  • Red, itchy eyes

  • Confusion

  • Nausea

  • Loss of motivation

  • Tremor

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Stomach ache

  • Dehydration

Methamphetamine Overdose

Meth overdose

Meth overdose may occur at any time and whether knowingly or unknowingly. Even when not addicted to the drug, you can still overdose on methamphetamine; first-time users may overdose without knowing. In addition, overdose is hazardous for people who have used meth for a long time due to the drug buildup in the body.


You can overdose on meth without even taking a large dose, and since meth varies from one drug to another, two doses appearing to be similar may be different. Take caution and contact the necessary authorities if you notice the following signs and symptoms of methamphetamine overdose:


  • Trouble breathing

  • Signs of a stroke or heart-like confusion

  • Seizures

  • Low or high blood pressure

  • High body temperature

  • Kidney failure leads to very dark urine or peeing less

  • Intense stomach pain

  • Changes in alertness or personality

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Intensely aggressive or hyper behavior

  • Paranoia

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