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Meth Action Coalition

Working to Stop the METH Epidemic in Deschutes County, Oregon


Meth User Symptoms

People who begin using meth often stay awake longer than normal.  They will work on projects into the early morning hours with little or no sleep.  With progressive addiction, users will not sleep at all for many days at a time - maybe as long as a week or two.  Later, they will crash and sleep straight through for two to three days.  You will see them losing weight without explanation.

A common sign of meth use is the appearance of an extremely dry mouth, commonly referred to at "cotton mouth."  This can sometimes be detected in a user's speech.  In the later stages the teeth will start to decay and frequent sores will take longer to heal.  Users will often pick at these sores causing them to bleed.  Some users experience the sensation of "bugs" crawling on their skin and will also become increasingly paranoid, usually feeling they are being watched by the police.

There are several ways to use methamphetamine.  The drug can be:

Smoked --  This is the most common form of ingestion, where the crystals are smoked in a glass pipe.  Other paraphernalia you might find will be lots of matches or butane lighters, and sometimes even light bulbs where the filaments have been removed (used instead of a glass pipe).

Snorted - The powder is inhaled through a straw into the nose

Injected - A small amount of water is added to the powder/crystal for dilution and the solution is injected into a vein with a hypodermic needle.  A user will have "tracks" and bruising on their arms from constant injecting.

Eaten - This is the least used form of use because it takes at least 20 minutes for the drug to enter into the bloodstream.

One technique that is used by police to possibly identify meth addiction, is to compare former photographs of the user (e.g. a driver's licensed) to a current photograph or mug shot.  Typically there will be a noted difference and as the addiction progresses, the change in appearance is remarkable (refer to the "Face of Meth" at