Meth Overdose

Part of the complete guide to understanding addiction

Table of Contents
  1. Meth Overdose
  2. How is Meth Used?
  3. Side Effects of Meth Use
  4. Can You Overdose on Meth?
  5. Meth Overdose Symptoms
  6. How To Help With an Overdose
  7. Amphetamine Overdose
  8. Meth Abuse Resources

Meth Overdose

Methamphetamine (or meth) is an illegal and highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system (CNS) of the body. In addition to “meth”, it is commonly known as crystal, ice, crank, speed, Tina, tweak, chalk, and blue.

Meth is an aphrodisiac and is used for the sudden euphoria it induces. It has a crystal or glass-like physical appearance. A weaker form of the drug, called amphetamine, treats symptoms of ADHD, narcolepsy, and weight loss.

Pseudoephedrine is a common ingredient in over-the-counter cold medications that is often extracted to produce meth. The FDA requires all pharmacies and drugstores to record the sales of products containing pseudoephedrine to help prevent the production of meth. Most of the meth that exists in the US is made by TCOs –  transnational criminal organizations – in Mexico.

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How is Meth Used?

Meth can be ingested in a multitude of ways, including injecting, smoking, swallowing, or snorting. The method of ingestion impacts the level of “rush” that the individual feels. Both injection and smoking convey the drug to the blood and brain most efficiently, and produce the most immediate and intense rush.

Oral ingestion or snorting also cause a feeling of euphoria, but not at the same speed. The more an individual uses the drug, the greater the tolerance they develop to it, which makes them need higher doses of meth to get the same “high”. This need for ever-higher dosages leads to a higher risk of overdose.

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Side Effects of Meth Use

Meth has many short-term side effects:

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Can You Overdose on Meth?

Overdosing on meth is extremely possible depending on the amount of drug taken and the person’s medical and drug use history. Of the symptoms listed above, overdose is the most lethal risk of using the drug.

When someone overdoses on meth, they require immediate medical attention. The most common effect of meth overdose which leads to death is uncontrolled heatstroke, which can cause organ failure without immediate medical intervention.

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Meth Overdose Symptoms

The symptoms of meth overdose are quite similar to symptoms of being high on meth; however, symptoms when one is high are much more elevated/ intense. This can be very dangerous as the user may not recognize that they are experiencing an overdose.

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How To Help With an Overdose

If someone near you is experiencing a meth overdose, call 911 immediately. One’s chances of recovery from a meth overdose are dependent on how quickly they receive the required medical attention.

Do not leave the overdosed person alone as they may begin to experience convulsions or seizures. In such a situation, hold the individual’s head to protect them from injuring themselves. Move away all sharp objects that can be hazardous to the person.

When emergency responders arrive, try to be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • Individual’s weight and age
  • Amount of meth ingested
  • Method of drug ingestion
  • Duration since person last took the drug
  • Any other substances used simultaneously

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Amphetamine Overdose

Like methamphetamine, taking too high of a dosage of amphetamine (a legal substance) can also cause an overdose.

Amphetamine overdose has two phases: an over-stimulation phase and a depressive phase.

Some common symptoms of the over-stimulation phase may include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Rapid breathing
  • Aggression, restlessness, and agitation
  • Panic/extreme anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Shakiness
  • Hallucinations

Some common symptoms of the depressive phase may include:

  • Coma
  • Depression
  • Muscular pain and abdominal cramps
  • Convulsions/seizures
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Major drop in blood pressure

If you see someone displaying these symptoms, call 911 immediately. The Good Samaritan law provides some legal protection to the person who makes the call.

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Meth Abuse Resources

Overdose on meth or amphetamine can have a serious impact on an individual. From 2015 to 2019, researchers found that overdose deaths involving drugs (mostly meth) increased from approximately 5,500 to 15,500. Risky drug ingestion methods increased in tandem, and researchers have made a correlation between the two statistics.

If you or someone you know is struggling with meth or amphetamine addiction/ abuse, help is available! Treatment options range from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), to Matrix Model treatment, to MIEDAR intervention, and more – based on the individual’s circumstances and needs. Meth rehab is a must for those struggling with addiction.

There are several fully confidential health hotlines one can contact to get started on their road to recovery:

To learn more about meth addiction, including how long meth stays in your system, read our online resources.

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