Methamphetamine is commonly known as "speed," "meth" and "chalk." In
its smoked form, it is often referred to as "ice," "crystal,"
"crank" and "glass." It is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting
crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol. The
drug was developed early in this century from its parent drug,
and was used originally in nasal decongestants and bronchial
inhalers. Methamphetamine's chemical structure is similar to that of
amphetamine, but it has more pronounced effects on the central
nervous system. Like amphetamine, it causes increased activity,
decreased appetite, and a general sense of well-being. The effects
of methamphetamine can last six to eight hours. After the initial
"rush," there is typically a state of high agitation that in some
individuals can lead to violent behavior.
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Methamphetamine is a Schedule II stimulant, which means it has a
high potential for abuse and is available only through a
prescription that cannot be refilled. There are a few accepted
medical reasons for its use, such as the treatment of narcolepsy,
attention deficit disorder and -- for short-term use -- obesity; but
these medical uses are limited.
[Source: U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services.
National Institute on Drug Abuse.]