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Signs Of Meth Abuse In Teens


bag of methamphetamines

Methamphetamine, also known as Meth, is a synthetic chemical. It is a neuro-toxic stimulant that is highly addictive. Meth works by acting on certain neurotransmitters. The presence of methamphetamines in one’s system creates a surge of dopamine in one’s brain, which produces a feeling of excess pleasure; this is described as the rush of euphoria that is experienced by methamphetamine users. Methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II Controlled Substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which is defined as a substance “with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.” There are several different ways a teenager could ingest methamphetamine. It can be smoked, injected, snorted, swallowed, and in some cases it could even be inserted into one’s anus or urethra. 

Methamphetamine Paraphernalia

Meth usually comes in the form of powder or a crystal rock, which is why there are different types of drug paraphernalia, associated its use. The following are are frequently relied upon items when using methamphetamine:

  • Pen tubes and straws—are used to snort powdered drug lines.
  • Tightly rolled dollar bills—are also used as a means to snort lines of powdered drugs.
  • Cards and razor blades—are used to prepared powdered drugs for snorting by separating the powder into thin lines (cut into rows).
  • Mirrors—powdered drugs require a hard surface on which to cut lines of drugs, which is why mirrors are frequently used.
  • Spoons—spoons (that usually have burn marks on the bottom) are used to hold the drug and heat it from the bottom, which dissolves or melts the drug to allow for ingestion.
  • Bungee cords, belts, shoelaces—these are used as makeshift tourniquets to use in order to enlarge veins around the injection site. 
  • Syringes—are used to inject the drug (by which the powder has been melted or made into liquid) directly into one’s bloodstream. 

If you notice one or more of the above items in your teenager’s possession you may want to address their use. 

Signs and Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms exhibited by teenagers abusing methamphetamines. Common examples of signs and symptoms that a teen may display could include any combination of the following, provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH):

  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Lack of personal hygiene 
  • Obsessive hair or skin picking
  • Dialed pupils
  • Facial tics
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Stealing 
  • Staying awake for days or even weeks on end
  • Angry outbursts
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Twitching
  • Constant talking
  • Constantly borrowing money

Methamphetamine is a fully man-made substance. Meth is an unregulated chemical, which allows each manufacturer full authority over its production. A person that manufactures meth extracts ingredients from certain pills and mixes it with other chemicals, such as lantern fuel, antifreeze, battery acid, drain cleaner…etc. Due to that fact that meth is completely unregulated consumers have no idea what they are actually ingesting. This puts those who use meth at risk of overdose every single time they use the drug. Additionally, ingesting the potential poison that is laced into meth can be dangerous and life threatening in its own right. 

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

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