Methamphetamine Information

Methamphetamine Meth Lab Ice
Illicit Meth Lab Ice


The term "methamphetamines" is often used broadly to represent the amphetamine derivates: methamphetamine, the designer drug MDMA (ecstasy), and other designer drugs. These substances are similar in chemistry and also have generally similar effects on users. In addition, MDMA is known to show significant cross-reactivity with many types of methamphetamine urine screen tests. Prescription and illicit forms of methamphetamine are discussed below. The designer drug MDMA is discussed on a separate page.


  • Synonyms: 
    Deoxyephedrine; Desoxyephedrine; Dextromethamphetamine
  • Drug Class: 
    Anorexic; CNS Stimulant
  • Brand Names: 
    Desoxyn; Desyphed; Norodin; Stimulex
  • Street Names: 
    Chalk; Crank; Crystal; Crystal Meth; Glass; Ice; Meth; Quartz; Speed
  • Description: 
    Methamphetamine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that dramatically affects the central nervous system. The drug was developed early in the 20th century from its parent drug, amphetamine, and was used originally in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers. Methamphetamine's chemical structure is similar to that of amphetamine, but it has more pronounced effects on the central nervous system and has a higher potential for abuse and addiction. Like amphetamine, it causes increased activity, decreased appetite, and a general sense of well-being. The effects of methamphetamine can last for 6 to 8 hours. After the initial "rush", there is typically a state of high agitation that in some individuals can lead to violent behavior. Some users repeatedly take the drug over several days in order to maintain the euphoria. These binges often continue even when agitation and hallucinations replace the feelings of exhilaration.
    Methamphetamine is found in both prescription form and in illicitly manufactured forms. Prescription methamphetamine is used sparingly in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (attacks of uncontrollable sleepiness). It is usually found in the form of tablets or capsules - in a variety of shapes and colors. This form has a high potential for abuse. But it's uncommon, as prescriptions are limited. The majority of methamphetamine abuse is associated with the illegally manufactured forms - the powdered form and "ice". The powdered form is commonly referred to as "crystal meth" or "crank". This form is found in varied colors, but is normally a white crystalline powder that is sniffed. It is also commonly converted to a liquid form and injected. Ice, also known as "glass", "crystal", or "quartz", has the appearance of shaved glass. This form is typically smoked and is thought to be even more addictive than the powdered forms. Both crystal meth and ice are produced easily in clandestine laboratories with relatively inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients. This accounts for their widespread abuse in rural areas as well as in urban areas.
  • Excretion: 
    Under normal conditions in the 24-hour urine, up to 43% of a methamphetamine dose is excreted as unchanged methamphetamine, 15% as p-hydroxymethamphetamine, 4% to 7% as amphetamine, and the remainder as minor amounts of the same metabolites found after amphetamine use. These figures can vary significantly as a result of differences in urine pH. Methamphetamine concentrations as high as 333,000 ng/ml have been reported in the urine of methamphetamine abusers.


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  • Baselt, Randall C., and Robert H. Cravey. Disposition of Toxic Drugs and Chemicals in Man. Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, Inc., 1989.
  • Drug Photos from the IPRC Website. Indiana Prevention Resource Center. 10 Sept. 2001 <>.
  • NIDA Research Report Series - Methamphetamine: Abuse and Addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse. 10 Sept. 2001 <>.