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Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant. The street version of the drug is most often manufactured illegally in underground labs. One of the most common manufacturing procedures is called the "cold method".

Methamphetamine is a drug that strongly activates certain systems in the brain. It is closely related chemically to amphetamine, but the central nervous system effects of methamphetamine are greater. Both drugs have some medical uses, primarily in the treatment of obesity, but their therapeutic use is limited. The central nervous system (CNS) actions that result from taking even small amounts of methamphetamine include increased wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite, increased respiration, hyperthermia, and euphoria. Other CNS effects include irritability, insomnia, confusion, tremors, convulsions, anxiety, paranoia, and aggressiveness. Hyperthermia and convulsions can result in death.

Methamphetamine is also known as "speed" or "crystal" when it is swallowed or sniffed; as "crank" when it is injected; and as "ice" or "glass" when it is smoked. Ice is clear chunky crystals that resemble ice. All forms of methamphetamine are extremely dangerous and induce long-lasting, debilitating effects. Methamphetamine has a high potential for abuse and dependence.

Side effects of methamphetamine use include irritability, nervousness, insomnia, nausea, hot flashes, dryness of the mouth, sweating, palpitations, and hypertension. Excessive doses can produce mental confusion, severe anxiety, and paranoia. Continued moderate to chronic use may lead to physical dependence and even death.

Methamphetamine is a Schedule II drug under Federal regulations, meaning it has a high potential for abuse with severe liability to cause dependence. During World War II, methamphetamine was used by soldiers as an aid to fight fatigue and enhance performance. In Japan, intravenous methamphetamine abuse reached epidemic proportions immediately after World War II, when supplies stored for military use became available to the public. See Designer Drugs and Methamphetamine Analogs.
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