Immediately after smoking the drug or injecting it intravenously, the user experiences an intense rush or "flash" that lasts only a few minutes and is described as extremely pleasurable. Snorting or oral ingestion produces euphoria - a high but not an intense rush. Snorting produces effects within 3 to 5 minutes, and oral ingestion produces effects within 15 to 20 minutes.
As with similar stimulants, methamphetamine most often is used in a "binge and crash" pattern. Because tolerance for methamphetamine occurs within minutes - meaning that the pleasurable effects disappear even before the drug concentration in the blood falls significantly - users try to maintain the high by binging on the drug.
In the 1980's, "ice," a smokable form of methamphetamine, came into use. Ice is a large, usually clear crystal of high purity that is smoked in a glass pipe like crack cocaine. The smoke is odorless, leaves a residue that can be resmoked, and produces effects that may continue for 12 hours or more.
Methamphetamine, also known as "speed" or "crank," is a narcotic which is highly addictive, much cheaper than cocaine, and has significantly longer lasting effects, by some 8 to 10 hours, compared to cocaine. Methamphetamine's street value is as little as $3,000 per pound (about the size of a brick), while the price of cocaine is roughly $11,000 per pound.
Methamphetamine comes in multiple forms and can be smoked, snorted or injected. Methamphetamine is habit forming and users develop tolerances that lead to higher and more frequent doses. The price of methamphetamine is largely determined by the availability of ephedrine, a key ingredient. Regulation of ephedrine, and its resulting unavailability, has increased its wholesale price. As a result, industrious drug traffickers have switched to a less regulated and more economic substitute, pseudoephedrine. This change will ultimately reduce the cost of methamphetamine.
Does methamphetamine contribute to violent crime and death? Absolutely. Law enforcement officials in California and throughout the United States attribute rising methamphetamine abuse to increases in emergency room admissions and violent crimes.
More than 1,800 deaths were caused by methamphetamine abuse from 1992 to 1994 -- a 145 percent increase in just two years. The majority of these cases occurred in the four western cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Phoenix.
California Emergency room admissions related to methamphetamine abuse increased by more than 366 percent from 1983 to 1993. Nearly 3,000 methamphetamine users entered drug treatment centers in 1994 alone in the southern San Francisco Bay and San Diego regions, the Washington Post reports.