During the past several years, the scope of methamphetamine misuse around the United States has grown exponentially. With cheap and potent meth flowing freely over Mexico’s border, Americans are facing a new crisis: the meth crisis. While our efforts have remained laser-focused on fighting the battle against opioids, we’ve allowed another potential epidemic to overwhelm frontline workers. Unfortunately, the numbers continue to worsen, despite our knowledge on the topic.
A survey found that about 1.6 million people, which is 0.6 percent of the population, reported using methamphetamine in the past year. Another 774,00, or 0.3 percent, reported using the drug in the previous month. Even more frightening, the same survey showed that the average age of new meth users in 2016 was 23.3 years old.
In 2017, the same survey showed that nearly 964,000 people over the age of 12 were struggling with a methamphetamine use disorder. Those who responded to the survey admitted to clinically significant impairment, including failure to meet their responsibilities at school or work, and health problems resulting from their meth use. This number is much higher than the 684,000 people who reported a meth disorder in 2016.
Those who use meth typically want a quick or instant high, and by smoking or snorting, the drug bypasses the digestive system and liver and goes straight to the brain, which produces a rush of euphoria. The effects peak anywhere from one to 15 minutes and last four to eight hours.
Unfortunately, ingestion of any drug using these methods can be both dangerous and damaging to your health. Meth is devastating in all forms, and the risks are severe for users, which have resulted in various deaths across the country. Those who abuse the drug regularly put themselves at significant risk of death.
The Dangers Of Smoking And Snorting Methamphetamine
Smoking or snorting meth comes with a host of dangers. While some people may abuse the drug by injecting it, many also snort and smoke the drug. Some believe that snorting or smoking comes with fewer health risks than those who inject the drug, such as the increased risk of contracting a disease, but that’s not the case.
Whether you smoke or snort meth, there are specific side effects, such as developing an addiction and withdrawal symptoms and overdose. Snorting the drug produces an addiction set of issues while increasing the risks of abuse.
Short-Term Effects Of Smoking And Snorting Meth
Snorting meth produces less intense effects than other methods of abuse, which is one reason individuals might believe they’re at less risk of developing an addiction, overdosing, or other adverse effects caused by snorting it. However, individuals who snort meth will experience the following risks and could develop other health concerns as well.
Dangers Of Snorting Meth Include The Following:
- Damage to nasal tissues and to the nose lining
- Damage to sinuses
- Increased nosebleeds
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Increased heart rate
- Risk of physical dependence or addiction
Generally speaking, continued abuse of any drug increases adverse risks in the short-term, and with time, in the long-term as well.
Long-Term Effects Of Smoking And Snorting Meth
Smoking meth can be extremely dangerous as well. By administering the drug in this fashion, the substance will enter the bloodstream immediately, meaning the euphoric effects will occur rapidly. Each person is unique, so the experience will vary. Factors like chemical makeup, dosage, medical history, and expectations will influence the effects of smoking meth and how strong they’ll be.
The Most Common Effects Of A Meth High Include:
- Euphoric feelings
- Dilated pupils
- Increased energy levels
The immediate effects of smoking meth may not seem all that bad. However, when someone takes too much in one sitting, they could potentially overdose. A meth overdose is accompanied by stomach pain, irregular heart rate, and problems breathing. In many cases, it’s fatal.
The real dangers of smoking meth come with prolonged use. Since meth is addictive, many people who become dependent on the substance won’t be able to stop despite the adverse consequences they face, meaning they’re more likely to develop long-term effects from smoking.
The Dangerous Long-Term Effects Of Smoking The Drug Include:
- Emotional issues and impaired cognition from brain changes
- Meth mouth
- Respiratory problems
- Erratic or violent behavior
- Organ damage
Meth mouth is one of the more common dangers attributed to smoking meth. It refers to dental problems like tooth loss, gum decay, and rotting teeth from smoking meth. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), those who frequently abuse meth were twice as likely to have cavities as light meth users. An estimated 58 percent of meth uses had untreated tooth decay.
As you’d expect with anything smoked, smoking the drug can lead to respiratory problems when the toxins flood the bloodstream on a regular basis. This can range from asthma or even as severe as lung cancer. Those who inhaled meth showed various signs of detectable lung damage.
Since meth is a stimulant, it increases energy levels and accelerates the central nervous system, which results in people having trouble falling asleep. When a person goes on a meth binge and uses several doses in a row, they can go several days without sleeping. As this continues, the behavior will interfere with the body’s circadian rhythm, leading to long-term sleep disturbances.
An estimated 24 to 46 percent of meth users will experience psychosis as a result of their use. The episodes are more common for those who become dependent on the drug. While the psychosis might vary, the most common are hallucinations of meth mites, which leads to unsightly meth sores.
As a person continues using meth, one of the many dangers is the impact on the brain. Research shows that meth abuse leads to brain changes related to impaired verbal learning, reduced motor speed, and emotional problems.
Smoking or snorting meth can also drastically damage internal organs with repeated abuse. The dangerous effects of smoking and snorting the drug include lung damage, cardiovascular damage, and kidney failure.
Does Snorting Meth Increase Chances Of Addiction?
Snorting the drug will increase the chances of developing an addiction. Individuals who snort meth will experience a less intense rush than other methods of abuse. When this happens, the person will snort more frequently and more substantial doses of the drug, which leads to an increased risk of becoming addicted and overdosing.
What follows a meth rush might also contribute to abuse and addiction. When a person comes down from meth, they typically experience a “crash,” when they feel incredibly anxious, irritable, depressed, paranoid, and agitated. They won’t feel happy, well, or regular until they use meth again. The more frequently a person uses or abuses meth, the greater their chances are of developing an addiction.
Can Snorting Meth Cause Withdrawal
When people become addicted to meth, they’ll experience intense cravings for the drug when they’re not using it. Although withdrawal symptoms for meth aren’t life-threatening, they are uncomfortable enough to lead a person to abuse meth again and again and get caught in the endless cycle that is addiction.
Withdrawal symptoms will occur about 24-hours after the last dose. They aren’t typically harmful until the individual engages in destructive behavior caused by the intense and uncomfortable symptoms. Unfortunately, those withdrawing from meth might engage in self-harm or harm others, so it’s vital to get help immediately for anyone who’s becoming addicted to the drug and enters the withdrawal stage.
Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms Include The Following:
- Extreme sleepiness or fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Highly increased appetite
- Extreme jitteriness
How To Safely Detox From Meth
Although there aren’t any approved medications for treating meth withdrawal, medically supervised detox programs will help a person transition safely into a sober state so they can move on to a formal treatment center. Under medical supervision, the person detoxing from the substance will receive constant medical monitoring to ensure essential functions like heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and body temperature remain at optimum levels.
Many people in meth withdrawal will become severely dehydrated and malnourished. Medical personnel will make sure they receive proper nutrition, fluids, and supplements to restore their physical health.