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Methamphetamine-Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Methamphetamine?

Q: What are the street names for methamphetamine?

Q. Where is meth manufactured and distributed?

Q. Why is meth use so prevalent in the Midwest?

                            A: The region's methamphetamine epidemic stems from two problems:

Seizures of clandestine labs in the Midwest have increased from 44 in 1995 to more than 500 in 1997. In fact, the state of Missouri led the nation in 1997 in the number of meth labs seized.

Twenty Mexican methamphetamine trafficking organizations have been identified by DEA as being involved in the Midwest, which is connected via major interstate highways, rail and air to the West and Southwest border areas that serve as importation, manufacturing and staffing areas for the Mexican operations.

Q. How is meth made?

Q. Where are these labs found?

Q. What ingredients are used to make meth?

Q. What are precursor substances?

Q. How much does meth cost on the street?

Experts estimate that one ounce of meth equals about 110 meth "hits."

Q. Who is using methamphetamine

                            A: There are two basic profiles of users reported by  law enforcement and treatment providers:

  • students, both high school and college age; and

  • white, blue-collar workers and unemployed persons in their 20's and 30's.


Q. Are teenagers using the drug?

Q. Why should I talk to my child about meth?

Q: Why do people start using methamphetamine?

Q: Is meth used in combination with other drugs?

Q. Are there any legitimate uses for methamphetamine?

Q: How is methamphetamine administered?

Q: What happens immediately after a person takes methamphetamine?

Q: What are the federal penalties for methamphetamine trafficking?

Q: What is the Comprehensive Methamphetamine Control Act of 1996?

Q: What do I look for if I suspect a meth lab in my neighborhood?

Q: How does the drug effect users overall?

Q: What are the short-term effects?

Q: What other long-term effects can result?

      A: Fatal kidney and lung disorders, brain damage, liver damage, blood clots, chronic depression, hallucinations, violent and aggressive behavior, malnutrition, disturbed personality development, deficient immune system, and methamphetamine psychosis, a mental disorder that may be paranoid psychosis or may mimic schizophrenia.

Q: How much of the drug can cause an overdose?

Q: What effect does methamphetamine use have on pregnancy?

Q: What are some signs that a person may be using the drug?

Q: If methamphetamine is so dangerous, why can physicians prescribe the drug to patients?

Q: Why is methamphetamine addictive?

Q: How does methamphetamine take over one's life?

Q: Is there methamphetamine withdrawal?

Q: Is methamphetamine addiction difficult to treat?

Q: Is relapse common?

Q: What prompts methamphetamine users to enter treatment?

      A: Methamphetamine causes a variety of mental, physical, and social problems which may prompt entry into treatment. Though not as expensive as heroin and cocaine, its cost might also produce financial problems for users and prompt them to seek help. However, the most commonly reported reason why methamphetamine users enter treatment is trouble with the law. These legal problems include aggressive or bizarre behaviors which prompt others to call police. Other reasons for entry include mental or emotional problems and problems at work or at school.

Q: How does the cost of treating meth users compare to incarceration?

      A: Treatment is a highly cost-effective alternative; it is about one-tenth of the cost to treat a person rather than putting him or her in jail.

Q: What other problems does methamphetamine pose to society?

Q: How is the production of meth more dangerous than other drugs?

      A: Meth trafficking and production are different than other drugs because they are dangerous from start to finish. The reckless practices of the untrained people who manufacture it in clandestine labs result in explosions and fires that injure or kill not only the people and families involved, but also law enforcement or fireman who respond. Any number of solvents, precursors and hazardous agents are found in unmarked containers at these sites. These potent chemicals can enter the central nervous system and cause neural damage, effect the liver and kidneys, and burn or irritate the skin, eyes and nose. Environmental damage is another consequence of these reckless actions, and violence is often a part of the process as well.

Q. What are the most serious environmental consequences of meth labs?

Q: What is the cost of a cleaning up a clandestine meth lab site?

      A: Cleanups of labs are extremely resource-intensive and beyond the financial capabilities of most jurisdictions. The average cost of a cleanup is about $5,000 but some cost as much as $150,000.