Brief Description

Methamphetamine is a very addictive stimulant that is closely related to amphetamine. It is long lasting and toxic to dopamine nerve terminals in the central nervous system. It is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting powder taken orally or by snorting or injecting, or a rock “crystal” that is heated and smoked.

Street Names

Speed, meth, chalk, ice, crystal, glass


Methamphetamine increases wakefulness and physical activity, produces rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure and body temperature. Long-term use can lead to mood disturbances, violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and severe dental problems. All users, but particularly those who inject the drug, risk infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

Statistics and Trends

According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 1.2 million people (0.4 percent of the population) reported using methamphetamine in the past year, and 440,000 (0.2 percent) reported using it in the past month. This represents a decrease from previous years: In 2006 731,000 (0.3 percent) reported past-month use. In 2012, there were 133,000 new users of methamphetamine age 12 or older—the same as the previous year but continuing a general downward trend across the past decade. The average age of new methamphetamine users in 2012 was 19.7 years old.  Source:


 The NIDA-funded 2010 Monitoring the Future Study showed that 1.2% of 8th graders, 1.6% of 10th graders, and 1.0% of 12th graders had abused methamphetamine at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. Source: Monitoring the Future (University of Michigan Web Site).

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Related Publications

Methamphetamine (DrugFacts)

Published Jan 2014.
Provides facts about the stimulant drug methamphetamine, including how it affects the brain, other adverse health effects, possible treatment options, and trends and data on its use among youth.En Español

Publication Cover

Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction (Research Reports)

Published Apr 1998. Revised Sept 2013.
Provides an overview of the latest scientific findings on methamphetamine, including short- and long-term health consequences, effects on pregnancy, and potential prevention and treatment options.En Español

Publication Cover

Methamphetamine (Mind Over Matter)

Published Oct 2000.
Explains how methamphetamine acts in the body and the brain and what happens with long-term use of the drug.En Español


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