Last updated: October 2, 2023
Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant and, moreover, it’s highly addictive. Someone who is high on meth can act very erratically. It’s important for employers and their management teams to be able to identify methamphetamine use. Someone who is under the influence of the drug while at work is putting themselves—and anyone nearby—at a heightened risk of being involved in an accident.
Methamphetamine carries a Schedule 2 rating on the DEA’s Controlled Substances list which means it has a high potential for abuse. Drugs listed as Schedule 2 also have accepted medical uses. This drug is rarely prescribed though and if someone does have a prescription for it, it’s not refillable.
Users have no problem locating the stuff though. That’s because black market meth is manufactured in clandestine laboratories in Mexico and then brought across the border into the United States. It’s plagued our nation for decades now. The chemicals used to manufacture the drug wreak havoc on the body from the inside out. Addicts literally waste away before the eyes of their loved ones—or office mates.
Here’s what you need to watch for.
What does it look like and how is it used?
Users purchase meth in pill or powder form. However, black market meth is often sold in the form of “crystal meth,” also called “ice.” That’s because the crystal-like shards, called rocks, resemble both crystal or pieces of ice. It’s usually packaged in small plastic baggies which makes it easy to conceal.
Meth pills are typically a reddish-orange color and are swallowed. The powder form of the drug is often snorted or put into empty capsules for swallowing. It can be prepared for use in a syringe by mixing it with a bit of liquid as well. Crystal meth is most commonly smoked in small glass pipes, but it can be crushed for snorting or dissolved in liquid for shooting up.
It takes about 20 minutes or so before the user begins to experience the effects of the drug after taking a meth pill because it has to go through the metabolization process before entering the bloodstream. Smoking, snorting, or injecting the drug produces quicker results as it gets into the bloodstream almost immediately.
How does meth affect the mind?
Users report feeling an intense—albeit brief—rush of euphoria after smoking or injecting methamphetamine. On the other hand, taking meth orally or snorting the drug, produce a long-lasting effect. They say that if you use either of these two methods, the high lasts as long as half a day.
Methamphetamine releases very high levels of dopamine into specific areas of the brain that regulate feelings of pleasure. The brain quickly comes to accept the feeling as being “normal” and then starts searching for the drug when it’s absent alerting the body that something is wrong.
Chronic methamphetamine users can exhibit increasingly violent behavior. Other symptoms they may display are:
- Visual and auditory hallucinations
- Mood swings
Someone suffering from hallucinations or delusions can become distraught and panic-stricken quickly. It’s important to be able to identify methamphetamine signs and symptoms of use because the person’s demeanor can change very quickly.
How does meth affect the body?
It doesn’t take much of a dose to cause side effects. We’ve listed some of them here:
- Prolonged wakefulness
- Increased physical activity
- Decreased appetite
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Irregular heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure
- Hyperthermia, otherwise known as overheating
When your management teams are able to identify methamphetamine use, they could potentially get help for someone who was in danger of suffering serious side effects. Taking high doses of the drug can elevate the body temperature to dangerous and, even, lethal levels in some cases. It can also cause the following:
- Cardiovascular collapse
- Extreme anorexia
- Memory loss
- Severe dental problems
What’s the word on the street
You can locate methamphetamine using many street names. It’s probably not a complete list, but here’s a good start!
- Black Beauties
- Chicken Feed
- Methies Quick
- Poor Man’s Cocaine
- Rocket Fuel
- Yellow Bam
Users mix methamphetamine with other substances as well.
- Molly refers to a mixture of methamphetamine and MDMA or ecstasy.
- Biker’s Coffee is what you call a cup of coffee that has a dose of methamphetamine added to it.
- Croak refers to a mixture of cocaine and methamphetamine.
- Mexican Speed Balls are a mixture of crack cocaine and methamphetamine.
These specialty drugs are even more lethal due to the combinations. Users risk overdosing every time they ingest meth. That’s especially true now. Fentanyl is causing a problem. It’s extremely lethal. Dealers can buy it cheap and “cut” into their merchandise to stretch the goods that they have for sale.
Are your management teams on top of their game?
If you have a drug-free protocol in place, your management personnel should have received training in recognizing the signs and symptoms of the various drugs that your company tests for. Be sure that they’re able to identify methamphetamine symptoms of use. If it’s been a while since their last course, schedule a refresher!
Feeling confident about the protocol that is in place and being capable of recognizing the physical signs of drug use can nip a potential problem in the bud. Detailed documentation of the signs an employee who may be using drugs in the workplace exhibits is the first step in requiring a reasonable suspicion drug test. Subsequently, confronting them about it and notifying them to report for a drug test comes next.
Calling someone out about their possible drug use is tough. However, someone has to do it. Your employees recognize the symptoms of drug use too. Perhaps it was because someone they know and love abused drugs at some point in their lives. Possibly, through the addiction of a friend or family member. Knowing that you won’t tolerate even the suspicion of drug abuse in the workplace is going to increase their sense of security.
No one wants to worry about going to work and someone who’s high causing an accident. Knowing that they work for a company that strives to be drug-free, thereby, putting their well-being first, is going to increase their satisfaction level. Subsequently, it’s likely that they’ll be sticking with you for the long haul.
That says a lot about you. Nice work!