Dangers of Snorting, Smoking, or Injecting Meth
Meth, or methamphetamine, is an intense and highly addictive stimulant that is commonly snorted, smoked, or injected directly into one’s veins.
Those taking meth typically want a fast or even instant high, and these methods of intake allow for this as the drug bypasses the digestive system and liver, and goes straight to the brain, producing a euphoric rush. The effects peak in 1-15 minutes and generally last 4-8 hours.
Unfortunately, ingesting any kind of drugs via these methods is both dangerous and damaging to one’s health. Considering how devastating meth is in any form, these risks are very serious for meth users and have resulted in many deaths. According to the NIH, 1.6 million people reported using meth in the last year in 2017.1 Overdose deaths increased by 7.5 times between 2007 and 2017.1 And approximately 15% of all drug overdose deaths involved a drug in the methamphetamine category in 2017.1
Typical short-term effects of meth include:
- Increased energy, wakefulness, and activity
- Decreased fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Increased respiration
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Hyperthermia (higher than normal body temperature)
Meth tends to make people feel as though they can do anything. It also gives them energy to get a lot of things done in a short amount of time. The downside is that after a few hours, the following crash leaves them feeling drained, depressed, and miserable. They may then take more meth in order to feel better, and a vicious cycle occurs.
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The more a person abuses a drug like meth, the more likely it is that they will develop an addiction. Frequent, ongoing intake of meth will eventually cause health problems, particularly if it’s smoked, snorted, or injected.
Snorting, predictably, can cause a lot of damage to the sinus cavity. People snort drugs because they can be absorbed through the sensitive mucus membranes in the nose. Over time, this causes the tissue to become dry and worn, resulting in chronic runny or bloody noses and sinus infections. Eventually, a hole can be worn in the septum.
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, smoking meth is the form of intake that is most likely to result in addiction. Any kind of smoking is hard on the mouth, throat, and lungs. Due to the fact that it’s made of such harsh chemicals, smoking meth tends to result in a condition referred to as meth mouth. Tooth decay and damage are common, including mouth sores and gum disease, the latter of which can lead to heart problems if left untreated.
Injecting drugs comes with its own unique risks. Needle sharing for drugs like meth is common and puts individuals at a high risk for contracting dangerous diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. Repeated use of needles also tends to cause general infections and collapsed veins. The meth particles in the solution can cause blockages in and near the heart, brain, and liver, causing serious health problems. The substance can also cause infection of the heart tissue, which is a very dangerous condition.
Meth is one of the most dangerous, addictive, and damaging drugs one can take, in part because the standard forms of abuse are snorting, smoking, or injecting the drug. These methods seriously increase the risk of dependence, and the more the drug is used, the more the harsh chemicals in meth damage the body. Treatment options range from drug detox to stabilize the user to inpatient rehab to help users find a more long-term solution to treatment. If the cost of rehab is preventing you or a loved one from finding treatment, insurance may be able to cover all or the part of the cost of treatment.
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- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (Oct 2019). What is the scope of methamphetamine misuse in the United States?