Eau Claire (WQOW) – Many methamphetamine users say the highly addictive drug delivers a “rush” that gets you hooked, in as little as one use. As meth use continues, the signs of it become clearer and clearer.
Methamphetamine increases the amount of the natural chemical dopamine in the brain, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dopamine contributes to body movement, motivation and rewarding behaviors. The drug’s ability to rapidly release high levels of dopamine fuels addiction, but the stimulant’s side affects can be serious.
Melissa Moore with the Marathon County Drug Free Communities Program said a rapid deterioration in hygiene is often the first sign.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) signs of meth use may include inability to sleep, increased sensitivity to noise, nervous physical activity, irritability, dizziness or confusion. Prolonged drug use can lead to extreme anorexia, tremors or even convulsions, increased heart rate, blood pressure and risk of stroke. One of the most well-known signs of meth use is known as formication – a sensation resembling small insects crawling on or under the skin. This leads users to scratch or dig at their skin.
Concerned family and friends should also look for these common household items, that can be associated with meth. Inhaling paraphernalia, such as razor blades, mirrors, straws and pens are common. Also look for aluminum foil and tin cans that have burn marks. If the user is injecting it, look out for syringes, heated spoons, or surgical tubing. Glass pipes or light bulbs with the filament are used to smoke meth. Again, look for black burn marks on one side. Small plastic baggies is what meth is usually stored in.
While overdose deaths directly related to meth use are not common, they do still occur. According to a Wisconsin Joint Methamphetamine Study, most meth-related fatalities occur from a heart attack, fluid in the lungs, ventricular fibrulation or fever. However, a large number of meth-related fatalities are from accidents, suicides and homicides.