Recognizing a user
Since the high from Meth can last up to 24 hours after one use, the chance of you running into someone high on meth during the course of your day is very likely. The effects are long-lasting, and users have been known to stay awake for days on end during binges. If you encounter someone high on meth, move slowly, don’t raise your voice, excuse yourself, back away and leave. Do not confront them.
One of the most striking effects of meth is the change in the physical appearance of meth users. For every year one uses meth, their body ages 10 years. Meth use causes the destruction of tissues and blood vessels, inhibiting the body's ability to repair itself.
“Meth mouth”, a condition resulting from chemicals used to make meth, tooth grinding, poor personal hygiene and a diet of sweets, causes the teeth to rot and decay. It also causes the salivary glands to dry out, which allows the mouth's acids to eat away at the tooth enamel, causing cavities.
Meth users also have sores, known as “crank bugs” or “meth mites”, all over their body. Due to the chemical imbalance created in the brain from meth use, users think bugs are crawling on their skin. So they pick and scratch, consciously and subconsciously, leaving open sores. There is an increase of Hepatitis C, HIV, and bacterial infections with meth users. It is recommended that if you have to deal with a meth user that you wear nitrile gloves, not latex.
Meth is an appetite suppressant, thus weight loss is an appealing side effect of this drug, especially for women. Meth also constricts the blood vessels causing poor blood flow to the organs, increasing the heart rate and body temperature. Users often become agitated and their behavior can be unpredictable. They can be calm and approachable one minute and extremely angry and terrified the next. They often do meaningless repetitive tasks and take things apart. If you are in a house where the computer, microwave, television, toaster, or car engine is in pieces on the living room floor, this is probably a meth house.
Some signs to look for in an individual high on methamphetamine could be:
- Extremely thin, bad teeth, sores from head to toe, sunken face
- Dilated pupils, nervous physical activity, excited speech
- Paranoid and bizarre behavior
Remember if you encounter someone like this, do not confront them or raise your voice. If the meth user is also using alcohol, the mere presence of a uniform (Police, Fire, Boy Scout, Utility worker, Mail carrier, etc) can set them off. These users can be extremely violent.