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Crystal Meth: What’s In That Stuff? And What Is It Doing to Your Body?

Crystal methamphetamine (ice, glass, Tina) is one of the fastest-growing drug addictions in the United States today.  Crystal meth users encompass a wide range of people, from poor people in rural areas to fast-moving gay and straight big-city nightlife, from white to black to Latino and other ethnicities.  Meth users are all over the place—and so are meth labs, the dangerous makeshift chemistry labs where amateur manufacturers “cook” their product.  Crystal meth labs are portrayed fairly accurately in the TV show Breaking Bad, in which a cash-strapped high school chemistry teacher teams up with a former student turned dealer to cook meth.  The show doesn’t flinch from showing very graphically how toxic the chemicals are that are used in cooking meth.  But what exactly is in that stuff?  When you do meth, what are you putting into your body?

The basic idea of crystal meth is that ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, drugs found in common, everyday cold and allergy medications, are purified and refined down to a much more potent strength.  According to chemist Anne Marie Helmenstine, crystal meth is made using a “red, white, and blue” process.  Red is red phosphorus (made from white phosphorus, which is used by the US, Israel, and other countries as a chemical weapon), white is the ephedrine from over-the-counter medications, and blue is the easy-to-find nutrient iodine.  Heat them according to a certain precise process, and you’ll make a batch of crystal meth.  Deviate from that process, and you might end up producing deadly phosphine gas—or ammonia, hydrochloric acid, chloroform, and other very toxic, very dangerous byproducts.  In fact, the vapors and leftovers from the crystal meth manufacturing process are so toxic that pollution from covert meth labs (usually hidden away in remote areas) is becoming a serious environmental hazard to groundwater supplies.

As you might imagine, putting all of those toxic chemicals into your body isn’t great for your health—even though it’s highly addictive.  New meth addicts lose weight quickly—but after they’ve become hooked, the weight loss stops and the damage begins.  Crystal meth users can be easily spotted by the horrific condition of their teeth.  Others develop chronic skin conditions because of the way that meth ages the skin, causing it to lose elasticity and develop spots and rashes.  Meth users also have high rates of mental illness because of the way its chemicals can damage the brain.

If you want to stop poisoning yourself with crystal meth, you need to seek professional health as quickly as possible.  Crystal meth withdrawal is difficult and painful, and it can even be dangerous.  To get through it safely, you need the help of trained medical professionals like the team at Archstone Recovery Center of the Palm Beaches, a state-of-the-art drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility in Lantana, Florida (FL).  Meth addicts from New York (NY), New Jersey (NJ), Washington, DC, Philadelphia (PA), Baltimore (MD), New England, and all over the United States seek treatment at Archstone Recovery because of its caring staff, top reputation, and holistic approach.  At Archstone Recovery, you’ll be treated as a whole person, while you learn the tools and skills you need to not just get clean, but stay clean.  Contact Archstone Recovery today to learn more.

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