Speed, uppers, meth, crystal meth, chalk, ice, glass, copilots, Christmas tree, crank … these are the street names for methamphetamines in their various forms. They are very powerful, highly addictive and destructive drugs that can potentially ruin the lives of those whose intentions are merely to try them just once. This is why it is so important to know the warning signs of drug abuse and to be aware of what your children are doing, or who they are hanging out with.
What Are Methamphetamines?
Methamphetamines are stimulant drugs that affect the central nervous system. In rare cases, they can be prescribed by a doctor, but they have very few medical benefits and are prescribed at very low, non-refillable doses because of their highly addictive properties. They are white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powders that easily dissolve in water or alcohol and can be taken orally, intra nasally (snorting), by needle injection, or by smoking. They may also be seen in rock form— still crystal-like in color and appearance and easily flaked off.
Just taking a small dosage of a methamphetamine can result in the same experience as taking a drug or stimulant like cocaine. The user will experience:
- Increased wakefulness
- Increased physical activity
- Decreased appetite
- Increased respiration
- Rapid heart rate
- Irregular heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure
How Do I Tell If My Child Is under the Influence?
It is very easy to point out someone who is under the influence of methamphetamines. Here some tell-tale signs to look for:
- Constant fidgeting and OCD-like behavior
- Repeatedly doing the same task over and over
- Dilated pupils
- Rapid eye movements
- Constant rambling conversation
- Tooth decay
- Sores that take a long time to heal
- Weight loss
Although the signs of intoxication can be very clear and easy to point out, it is most likely that your child is taking the drug while you are not around to avoid being caught. This is why you need to be clued in to the little things. There are certain signs and behavioral cues that could tip you off as to whether or not your child is experimenting with drugs. There are no exact symptoms, however, only clues. Many of the early warning signs are the same as those for depression, or they are just normal reactions that many teenagers experience as their hormones change. If you suspect there is a problem, you should just come right out and ask. Here are some things to look for:
- Changes in friends
- Negative changes in school
- Acting out
- Increased secrecy about possessions or activities
- Use of perfumes, incense or deodorant to mask odors
- Change in everyday dress
- Suddenly using eye drops (to cover bloodshot eyes)
- New use of mouthwash or breath mints (to cover alcohol or cigarettes)
- Behavior changes like disrespect, mood swings, or negative attitude changes
- Keeping a distance from you or others
According to The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, even if you think your teen is just experimenting—or if you’re not too sure—you should just come right out and ask. As a parent, it is important to have regular conversations about the dangers and consequences of drug use. Research says that when parents openly talk about drinking and using drugs, children develop a more negative picture of drugs and are able to exhibit better self-control.
You should also take into account that the experimentation of hard drugs like amphetamines and methamphetamines is very possible. Don’t find yourself saying, “Not my child!”
It just may be your child. It is parents with that attitude who miss behavioral cues from their teen and possibly fail to see that something is wrong.
If you suspect your child is using drugs or experimenting with alcohol, we are here to help. Join our organization to fight the war on drugs, or just take advantage of our community resources. Check out our website by clicking here.