Methamphetamine, commonly referred to as “meth”, is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant drug. Although it was once thought of as a drug only to be found in poor, rural areas of the United States, meth can actually be found all across the country and is used by people of varying wealth and socioeconomic status. While meth production in the United States has decreased since 2006, according to the 2017 Drug Threat Assessment put out by the DEA, meth use may actually on the rise.
Since it’s typically associated with illicit drug use, many users will talk about meth using what are called “street names” in order to cover up their drug use or addiction. As the consequences of meth use are severe, it’s important to stay educated on the latest street names and slang for meth, particularly if you’re concerned that a friend or family member may be using or abusing this drug.
What is Meth?
While its chemical structure is similar to amphetamine (a drug that may be prescribed by physicians to treat narcolepsy and ADHD), methamphetamine is typically thought of as a “street drug”. The one exception here is the prescription drug Desoxyn, which is methamphetamine that may be prescribed for weight loss in obese patients or for ADHD. It should be noted that even though Desoxyn is a prescription drug, there is still a high risk of abuse and dependence. Consequently, this drug should be taken exactly as prescribed by a doctor. Any other use should be cause for concern.
Methamphetamine that is sold illegally is typically found in three forms—either as a white powder, a pill, or looking like shiny rocks (known as crystal meth). Depending on the form, meth can be smoked, inhaled, snorted, swallowed, or injected. Since meth is a stimulant, users typically experience the following short-term effects after taking the drug:
- Increased alertness
- Increased energy/physical activity
- Fast (and sometimes irregular) heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure
- Decreased appetite
- Higher body temperature
The high resulting from meth is typically short-lived, and many users will repeatedly take the drug in what is known as a “binge and crash” pattern. This cycle can last anywhere from a couple hours to a few days during which time the individual may not sleep or eat. Over time, regular meth use can cause extremely detrimental effects, including:
- Severe tooth decay
- Changes in brain structure and function affecting verbal learning and coordination
- Memory loss
- Intense weight loss
- Psychotic disorders
- Increased risk of stroke and heart attack
- Increased risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis B and C
Street Names for Meth
Since the effects of meth can be extremely detrimental or even fatal, the earlier you identify that your friend or family member is using meth, the earlier you’ll be able to get them the help they need. As many users try to hide their addiction, one way that you can clue yourself into a loved one’s meth use is by being aware of common street names for meth and crystal meth, slang for being high on meth or for meth users, and nicknames used for drug combinations involving meth.
Common Street Names for Meth and Crystal Meth
- Bathtub crank (low quality meth)
- Christmas tree (meth that has a green tint)
- Go Fast
- Poor Man’s Coke
- Redneck Cocaine
- Rocket fuel
- Scooby Snacks
Nicknames for Drug Combinations Involving Meth
Individuals who use or abuse drugs on a regular basis may begin to experiment with combining drugs. This may involve combining drugs of the same type (e.g. two stimulants such as cocaine and meth) in order to amplify the effects of the drugs or combining drugs of different types (e.g. a sedative such as heroin with a stimulant like meth) to experience a new kind of high or to counteract the negative effects of one of the drugs. While meth use is dangerous on its own, combining meth with other drugs is especially hazardous.
Nicknames for drug combinations involving meth include:
- Biker Coffee – Coffee and Meth
- Shabu or Croak – Cocaine and Meth
- Twisters, Fire, or Mexican Speedball – Crack and Meth
- Jet Fuel: PCP and Meth
- Screwball – Heroin and Meth
- Hugs and Kisses – MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly) and Meth
- Party and Play – MDMA, Meth, and Viagra
- Five Way – Meth, Heroin, Cocaine, Rohypnol (the “date rape drug”), and Alcohol
Slang for Meth Use, Being High, or Meth Users
In addition to street names for meth itself, meth users typically have a variety of slang used to describe getting high, being high, the effects of meth, etc.
Some Various Slang to Be Aware Of
- Box or Rolling Labs: Small, transportable laboratories used to make meth.
- Hot Railing: Heating meth in a tube and then using the tube to inhale the drug.
- Hot Rolling: Liquifying meth inside an eye dropper in order to inhale the drug.
- Meth Mites: Sensation where meth users feel bugs are crawling under their skin.
- Crank Craters or Meth Sores: Sores on the face and body caused when meth users pick at skin due to tweaking or feeling of meth mites.
- Tweaking: Typically occurs at end of high where user engages in compulsive behaviors and may be paranoid, irritable, and violent.
- Tweaker, Meth Head, or Speed Freak: A regular meth user or addict.
- Chicken Flippin’: Smoking crystal meth.
- Getting Glassed: Snorting meth.
Other Signs of Meth Abuse and Addiction
If you’re concerned that a friend or family member is suffering from a meth addiction, knowing the street names for meth along with other meth-related slang is a good start. However, it’s important to remember that street names and slang for drugs can change rapidly as users try to evade discovery from friends and family members and also from authorities. Consequently, in addition to staying up-to-date on the latest street names for meth, it’s also beneficial to be aware of other warning signals of meth abuse or addiction. Some signs to be on the lookout for include:
- Changes in mood such as intense mood swings, irritability, or panic.
- Changes in behavior such as increased risk taking or violent outbursts.
- Itching or picking at the skin which can cause sores on the face and body.
- Changes in sleep patterns – usually insomnia followed by an increased amount of sleep.
- Having hallucinations or acting extremely paranoid.
- Loss of appetite which may lead to weight loss.
- Rapid tooth decay also known as “meth mouth.”
- Disregard for family, employment, school, and/or personal hygiene.
- Changes in friend groups – especially for teens and young adults.
- Engaging in illegal activities to pay for or get access to meth.
- Lying about or becoming defensive when asked about methamphetamine use
When to Seek Treatment
Realizing that a friend or family member has a problem with drugs can be jarring. Some people may feel that the affected individual is being irresponsible or selfish with his or her addiction and should simply be able to stop using on their own. However, it’s important to remember that addiction is a chronic brain disease and the longer it goes untreated, the more challenging the recovery process can be.
If you suspect that a loved one is struggling with meth abuse or addiction, it may be time to seek professional help. Many individuals have greater success obtaining and maintaining sobriety by going through a reputable drug and alcohol treatment program. In this type of environment, your loved one will be able to receive care from medical professionals and addiction specialists while also getting to the root of his or her addiction and learning ways to cope with life’s stressors without drugs or alcohol.
If you’re interested in learning more about treatment options for meth addiction, we recommend speaking to a Nexus recovery advisor. We’re here to answer all your questions and discuss the best treatment options for you or your loved one. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.