Signs and Symptoms of Crystal Meth

Crystal meth is a narcotic whose common name is Crystal Methamphetamine. It is a drug that is used for recreational purposes as there aren’t any medical uses for it, but it is extremely addictive. This drug typically comes in a clear crystal or glossy blue and white rocks. Meth is typically smoked, however, some users swallow, snort or inject it intravenously. Meth is a manufactured stimulant that provides the user with a euphoric rush, exhilaration, arousal, alert, some say it makes them feel subhuman. Users also have reported feeling reduced appetite, agitation, paranoia, confusion, and delusions. Crystal meth can be laced with a drug called Fentanyl which can be quite deadly and is responsible for the increase in overdoses in the last few years.

According to, the stages of meth are: 

  1. The Rush– this is the initial feeling the user gets when the drug hits their system. During the rush, the user can experience high blood pressure and pulse. Often the Meth rush will last up to 30 minutes. 
  1. The High– Typically the rush is followed by the high which often creates delusional effects where the user becomes fixated on a specific item. They can become argumentative and confrontational. The high can last from 4-16 hours. 
  1. The Binge– Addicts will build a habit of binging which is when the body craves the drug, and you begin to abuse the drug to calm the urge to be high. Some addicts will binge anywhere from 3-15 days. Abusers can become hyperactive on many levels. Each time the drug enters their body they will experience a smaller rush than the original first one until they are unable to feel a rush at all.  
  1. Tweaking– Tweaking is a phase that the abuser can experience and is the most dangerous of all these phases. This is the point where the user will no longer experience a rush after using the drug. At this point they are no longer unable to hide their feelings of void. They may feel empty, shame, and they can become psychotic. Hallucinations become so vivid that they lose sight of what is real and what is not. This makes them dangerous as they can become incredibly agitated and be a danger to themselves as well as those around them. They may hear voices or see things that aren’t there.  
  1. Meth Hangover– The hangover is the period when you feel completely spent, hungry, dehydrated and completely exhausted. This phase usually lasts anywhere from 2-14 weeks. Because it is so difficult for the addict to regain their strength and energy, many times they will feel the need to continue using to chase that high once again. 
  1. Withdrawal– After some time has passed since the individual last used meth, they will become depressed, lack enthusiasm for much, and some even become suicidal. Because this drug is so addictive, reports that 93% of abusers return to abusing meth after treatment.  

Meth Amphetamines and Amphetamines- Why Adderall is often Compared to Meth

While Crystal Meth has no legal medical use, many users will access this drug on the street with the intention to lose weight, ease depression. There is however a meth product that is legal to take to treat obesity and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). When interviewing Benjamin Bueno, an Addiction Specialist at Rock Recovery Center in FL, he explained that the drug Adderall which is often used to treat ADHD in patients, is how what he can best compare meth to. Ben went on to say that “opioids are the number 1 killer of people ages 21-45”.

You can check out Ben’s podcast Real Recovery Talk for some resources and information about recovery and sobriety. Adderall is the brand of a prescription drug commonly prescribed to people struggling to focus. It is also highly abused amongst college kids. Adderall is a stimulant that contains both Dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Adderall is also used to treat narcolepsy. Adderall can become addictive and can increase your chances of developing an addition. Side effects of taking Adderall include dry mouth, nervousness, weight loss, seizures, or paranoia, to name a few. Many people who have used crystal meth compare its effects to taking Adderall.

Meth Amphetamines (Crystal Meth) is chemically like amphetamines. Amphetamines are a synthetic drug that is legally prescribed to treat ADHD in adults and children. This drug works with your central nervous system and speeds up the body’s responses between your brain and the rest of your body. According to the Cleveland Clinic for Health you can find amphetamines in drugs such as the following: 

  • Adderall®. 
  • Concerta®. 
  • Dexedrine®. 
  • Focalin®. 
  • Metadate®. 
  • Methylin®. 
  • Ritalin®. 
  • Vyvanse ®. 


How Meth Amphetamines Affect the Body

Both methamphetamine and amphetamine are drugs that stimulate the body but have different effects based on the chemicals the drug are made up of. Amphetamines can cause side effects such as: psychosis, nausea, heart disease, circulation problems, fatigue, and addition. 

Meth can be produced using certain cold medicines and a variety of household products which is extremely dangerous but a customary practice for some addicts. 

Cooking meth is a dangerous practice that can cause severe burns, skin irritation, and even produce serious harm to your kidneys. Exposure can cause serious side effects such as vertigo, massive headaches, nausea or can be fatal. These laboratories are at risk of explosions or fires. According to the Office for Victims of Crime, approximately 15% of meth labs are discovered due to an explosion or a fire.  


How to Identify a Meth Lab from afar

Meth is imported into the US from Mexico. It is made in chemical labs commonly found in residential homes, often referred to as Clandestine Labs. Meth homes commonly produce odors that resemble ammonia or ether. According to, many people compare the odors to cat urine or rotten eggs. Meth homes are typically blacked out to prevent any visibility from the outside. Methods of ventilation are taken to eliminate or reduce toxic fumes. People who set up meth homes will likely have a security system in place to prevent anyone from approaching the property. They will have large quantities of unusual trash. Some of these items can include torn lithium batteries, stained coffee filters, empty containers of starter fluids, acetone, alcohol, antifreeze and other chemicals, rubber hoses, gloves, and respirator masks.  

It is important to maintain your distance if you suspect a neighbor is cooking meth in a laboratory near you as it can produce potential health complications. Do not try to take matters into your own hands. Contact authorities for assistance.  

To learn more about the clean-up process of meth homes visit our service page about Meth Lab and Drug Lab Cleanup.

Meth Lab Cleanup Regulations

Learn more about the specific State by State regulations for drug lab cleanups, and how Spaulding Decon can help with the proper disinfection and decontamination of drug labs.

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