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.
What is it? Methamphetamine or Meth is a powerful addictive stimulant that is similar to adrenaline, and dramatically affects the central nervous system. The fact that it is widely manufactured from inexpensive ingredients in simple labs, often home based, contributes to its widespread use. Toxic ingredients such as battery acid and drain cleaner are also used to produce meth.
Meth Slang Terms: Meth, crank, crystal, speed, ice and glass. Use is often referred to as “doing a line.” Binging is “doing a run.”
How is it used? Methamphetamine is a white or colored powder that can be taken intravenously, smoked, snorted through the nose, or made into pill form and swallowed. Smokeable methamphetamine is known as glass or ice.
Signs of usage: When under the influence of meth, the user may be very talkative with a high level of energy. Dry mouth can be observed, as well as dilated pupils. Users may also scratch at imaginary bugs on the face and other skin, leaving sores. Weight loss can be observed after a period of use.
Effects of usage: At first the user feels energized, focused, positive, and alert. Many people take the drug to stay awake and active. However, the first “high” is usually not attained again with the same dose, so more meth is taken the next time. Many teenage girls and young women take meth to lose weight, which seems easy because of loss of appetite. Insomnia, sweating, and repeated motor activity are common effects as well as some alarming psychological and physical effects. These can include paranoia; increased heart rate; increase in blood pressure; delusional thinking; anger and aggression; tremors, and at higher doses, palpitations and hypothermia.
How long do the effects last? The effects of meth can last anywhere from three to 12 hours. Users often “do a run” for several days straight in an effort to increase and prolong meth’s perceived positive effects, going without sleep or food.