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Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine

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.

Published: April 1998
Revised: September 2013

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine (also called meth, crystal, chalk, and ice, among other terms) is an extremely addictive stimulant drug that is chemically similar to amphetamine. It takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder.

In Nationwide Survey, More Students Use Marijuana, Fewer Use Other Drugs

Almost one-third (32 percent) of the roughly 42,000 Monitoring the Future survey respondents reported having used marijuana during their lifetime. However, abuse of many other drugs—methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and some prescription medications—declined.

Methamphetamine Alters Brain Structures, Impairs Mental Flexibility

Methamphetamine alters brain structures involved in decision-making and impairs the ability to suppress habitual behaviors that have become useless or counterproductive. The two effects were correlated, indicating that the structural change underlies the decline in mental flexibility.

Intervention Strengthens American Indian Teen Mothers’ Parenting

Teen mothers on three American Indian reservations improved on several measures of parenting after participating in Family Spirit, a home-visiting intervention developed with NIDA support. At 12 months postpartum, the women’s children exhibited reduced rates of emotional difficulties predicting later drug abuse and other behavioral problems. Infants at highest risk—those whose mothers had histories of drug abuse—benefited the most.

Stress-Induced Enzyme Compounds Methamphetamine Neurotoxicity

Ketoprofen, an anti-inflammatory agent commonly prescribed to treat arthritis, reduces neuronal damage in rats that have been exposed to chronic stress and methamphetamine. If this finding of a recent NIDA-supported study extrapolates to humans, anti-inflammatory medications may gain a place in the treatment of methamphetamine addiction.

Stimulant-addicted patients can quit smoking without hindering treatment

Smokers who are addicted to cocaine or methamphetamine can quit smoking while being treated for their stimulant addiction, without interfering with stimulant addiction treatment.


Dr. Marilyn Huestis Q & A: Matching Drug Effects to Drug Concentrations

Dr. Marilyn Huestis of NIDA’s Intramural Research Program talks about conducting research on drug effects with human subjects, developing tests to help law enforcement identify drugged drivers, and an assay to help identify children whose prenatal exposure to anti-HIV drugs may put them at risk for adverse developmental outcomes.

Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure Linked With Problems

Study findings indicate that children exposed to methamphetamine prenatally show more signs of increased emotionality, anxiety, and depression than nonexposed children at ages 3 and 5 years.

NIDA Announces Avant-Garde Medication Development Awards

Dr. Thomas Kosten of Baylor College of Medicine and Dr. Peter Burkhard of the University of Connecticut are the recipients of NIDA’s 2011 Avant-Garde Awards for Innovative Medication Development Research. Dr. Kosten is developing a vaccine against methamphetamine abuse and Dr. Burkhard is developing a vaccine to counter nicotine addiction.

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