Mixing Meth With Other Drugs
Methamphetamine (meth) is a synthetic psychostimulant drug. Meth produces fleeting boosts in mental and physical performance, and may cause other effects such as heightened alertness and increased physical stamina.
Meth is distributed in crystal, rock, and powder forms and is known by numerous street names, such as:
- White cross.
The short-term effects of meth use may be both positive and negative. New users experience effects such as wakefulness and energy as well as irritability and irregular heartbeat. Problems increase as meth users become physically dependent on the drug. Many who become addicted to meth and begin to compulsively abuse the drug experience symptoms such as paranoia and display behaviors consistent with psychotic disorders. People from all walks of life have used meth with varying degrees of intensity, from cases of random recreational hits to prolonged and ultimately lethal dependencies.
A Brief History of Meth
Like many synthetic drugs, meth was initially synthesized with therapeutic intentions. The drug was championed by Japanese pharmacologists as a treatment for fatigue and depression at the close of World War I, according to the Vermont Department of Health.
By the early 1930s, various amphetamine drugs were being administered in the United States to treat conditions such as nasal problems and sleeping disorders. However, with its gradual spread across the Pacific and more widespread use, meth came to be blamed for various ill effects among its users. By the 1950s, production of meth was promptly halted by the Japanese Ministry of Health.
Over the next 20 years, meth abuse spread among student and working-class populations throughout the U.S. This increase ultimately led to the regulation of meth under the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. More recent years have nonetheless given rise to cross-border meth trafficking as well as an increase in domestic production. As a result, the U.S. saw skyrocketing levels of meth use in the latter part of the twentieth century, and the rates of meth use have held relatively steady to this day.
How Is Meth Consumed?
Meth can be consumed in the following ways:
- Ingestion. The drug is eaten in crystal form or consumed as a liquid in powder form, usually in combination with alcohol.
- Inhalation. Its crystal form is heated and the smoke or vapor is inhaled.
- Intranasal. Its powder form is snorted.
- Intravenous. Its powder form is liquefied and injected into the veins.
- Intramascular. Its powder form is liquefied and injected into muscle tissue.
All forms of meth consumption can bring powerful and dangerous effects upon users, but the quickest and most intense doses are the injections that send meth straight into the bloodstream.
An addiction to meth can be overcome with proper treatment. Please call 1-888-744-0789 to be connected with a rehab program that will work best for you.
Using Meth With Other Drugs
Some of the most dangerous methods of meth consumption have involved polydrug use, in which two or more drugs are combined to produce a broader range of stimulating effects. According to figures gathered by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), polydrug use involving meth and other hard substances leads to many unsafe behaviors among people within high-risk groups for sexually transmitted diseases. In its 2009 survey of 341 HIV-positive men, the NLM found that 65% engaged in riskier forms of unprotected intercourse when under the influence of meth and another drug.
Poly-usage in such cases typically is motivated by a wish for prolonged sexual stamina, which many abusers seek by mixing methamphetamines with other drugs like sildenafil (sold as Viagra), gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), and ketamine (“Special K”). Figures gathered in the NLM survey revealed numerous commonalities among HIV-positive polydrug users, including the following:
- 21.9% were African-American.
- 52% had been diagnosed with psychiatric problems.
- 78% had only finished high school, or merely attended college at the entry level.
- 80% were netting incomes of less than $19,999 per year.
- 92% were clinically defined as being dependent on methamphetamines.
While the NLM acknowledged a shortage of prior studies on the co-administration of meth with other drugs, the library’s study has revealed some fundamental disadvantages among poly-meth users in terms of education and income.
Drugs Commonly Mixed With Meth
Sixty-five percent of those surveyed by the NLM reported mixing meth with other hard drugs. Without taking alcoholic beverages into consideration, researchers found that meth was combined with other drugs at the following rates:
- 43.7% combined the drug with marijuana.
- 14% combined it with GHB.
- 10.8% combined it with amyl nitrite (“poppers”).
- 8.6% combined it with both cocaine and 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly called Ecstasy.
- 2.7% combined it with both heroin and Viagra.
Of the people surveyed who co-administered meth, 23% did so with two or more other drugs. The most common triple mixtures included combinations of meth and marijuana with poppers (56.9%) and GHB (37.3%). Quadruple mixtures accounted for 8.2% of poly-meth cases across the survey, in which the drug was typically combined with:
- Special K.
Meth Polydrug Abuse Patterns
Meth polydrug abuse has become common among partygoers in countries such as the United States, England, Canada, and Australia. Various factors play into these poly-usage patterns. Many people at night clubs combine whichever drugs are available, and others mix in more drugs as intoxication takes hold.
Boundaries tend to be loose in drug circles. However, some poly-users have drawn the line at hallucinogens, especially when prior episodes of paranoia have been a factor.
Mixing Meth and Ecstasy
Ecstasy has become a widely used recreational drug throughout the Western club scene over the past 25 years. Despite its origins as a psychotherapy treatment, Ecstasy has become primarily identified as a sensory enhancer among fans of dance pop and electronica. Although prohibited in most countries, Ecstasy is widely distributed at parties, clubs, and raves in the form of colored pills. Figures gathered in American and Australian surveys have found Ecstasy to be the most commonly abused drug across the board among young, club-going poly-users, especially among those who also use meth.
The NLM has reported that in the United States, 91.7% of New York City club-goers in the 18-to-29 age bracket have engaged in polydrug abuse, with Ecstasy factoring into a whopping 86.6% of combinations. The NLM referred to Ecstasy as the “universal complement” because of how frequently it was co-administered with other hard drugs.
Mixing Meth and Viagra
Because meth intoxication lowers inhibitions, the drug has contributed to countless acts of risky sexual behavior. But many people who use meth feel the need to medicate further to account for the drug’s effect on sexual performance.
Meth can lower the likelihood that users will refrain from sex or that they’ll engage in safer sex practices, but the drug can also cause erectile dysfunction. Therefore, the co-administration of meth and Viagra has become relatively common during sexual encounters between people in high-risk categories.
Meth, Viagra, and HIV Risk
An NLM review of research on polydrug use and sexual behavior among heterosexual and homosexual men found that respondents who had co-administered meth and Viagra were more likely to be homosexual. Some of these users also added poppers to the mix. The review also found the following:
- The risk of HIV seroconversion jumped from 2.99% for people who used only one drug to 8.45% in people who used meth with Viagra and poppers.
- In advance of sexual contact, users generally take Viagra or poppers first, then meth.
- Men who took this combination had the highest numbers of unprotected sex.
- Meth usage is generally more associated with the receptive parties in these encounters, while Viagra use is more common among those associated with insertive acts.
Health Effects of Meth Polydrug Abuse
Unfortunately the topic of polydrug abuse has been overlooked in most narcotics studies. In the book “Cocaine and Methamphetamine Dependence: Advances in Treatment,” Richard De La Garza II, PhD, and Ari D. Kalechstein, PhD, highlight this lack of research and point out that most healthcare providers would attest that polydrug use is typical among people addicted to meth and cocaine.
The NLM has studied the effects of meth and heroin combined on lab rats. However, Dr. De La Garza and Dr. Kalechstein note that the effects of various drug combinations on human subjects have yet to be evaluated.
Overcoming Meth Polydrug Addiction
Because meth is one of the most highly addictive illicit drugs, withdrawal from the drug can be extremely difficult for long-time users. The past two decades have seen a marked increase in meth addiction across the US.
As noted by the Department of Health and Human Services, emergency room visits involving meth usage jumped by 54% between 1995 and 2002. Cities such as Baltimore, Newark, and New Orleans witnessed increases of 500% or more during this period. In more than 60% of these cases, poly-usage involving alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana was also reported.
If you or someone you know is suffering from addictions involving meth and other drugs, professional substance abuse treatment can help. Seeking help might initially seem like a difficult step to take, but our caring treatment support staff will make the process as easy as they can as they direct you to the finest treatment centers in your area when you call our toll-free number 1-888-744-0789.
Treatment for Meth Polydrug Abuse and Addiction
Treating a person who uses meth and other drugs concurrently requires special care. Because meth alone can be very addictive, many programs take an intensive approach to treatment, especially for multi-drug abuse. Detox is an important part of treatment, and medical monitoring might be necessary to manage the onset of troublesome or severe withdrawal symptoms.
In many cases, residential or inpatient addiction rehab programs will offer a recovering polydrug user the most intensive level of care. These programs can provide time away from the environmental circumstances that might have contributed to the development of meth abuse.
For people who can’t take time away from home, an outpatient program is a good option. It allows people in addiction treatment to continue living at home, fulfilling their obligations while attending scheduled therapy sessions multiple times a week. People who choose this option must make sure they have strong resolve and that they dedicate themselves to recovery.
Currently no medications have proven to be especially effective for people in recovery for meth polydrug abuse, so treatment focuses heavily on behavioral therapy. The types of therapy that have been found to help with meth and polydrug addiction include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. This method helps people understand their substance abuse better by examining why they abused the drugs, how they can cope with cravings, and how to resist relapse.
- Contingency management. This method provides incentives for maintaining sobriety in order to increase a person’s motivation.
- Matrix model. This 16-week intensive program combines:
- Substance and addiction education.
- Behavioral therapy.
- Drug tests to ensure abstinence.
- Self-help group support.
- The promotion of non-drug activities.
The treatment process of overcoming meth addiction is likely to be challenging and uncomfortable at times. Many recovering polydrug users find that luxury programs offer them the best recovery course. Luxury rehab programs consider patient comfort a major aspect of treatment, offering different amenities to recovering users.
Traditional rehab for meth abuse and addiction might not include all the comforts and amenities that luxury programs do, but these programs still offer quality therapy and treatment. Luxury rehab programs cost more than other addiction treatment options. Be sure to consider what matters most to you when evaluating and comparing different programs.
Finding the Right Meth Rehab Center
If you suffer from a dependence on meth and other drugs, you might not know where to start when searching for recovery centers. Consider the following factors when looking for an addiction rehab center that will provide you with the best treatment:
- Dual-diagnosis experience. Meth is often abused with other drugs. Its use is also common in people who also struggle with metal health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Suffering from an addiction to meth in addition to another substance addiction or mental health disorder is known as a dual diagnosis, and it benefits from comprehensive treatment in order to increase the individual’s chances of a full recovery.
- Certified staff. It’s vital that the treatment team at the rehab facility is qualified to treat substance addictions and mental health disorders. When researching options, you can ask the treatment center what kinds of certifications it requires staff members to hold.
- Individualized treatment plans. The best recovery centers will do a thorough intake evaluation in which they assess for any co-occurring mental or behavioral health issues. Once the evaluation is complete, the staff will create a treatment plan that caters to you and your personal needs.
- Family involvement. Many recovery programs prioritize offering family counseling, which can aid in repairing broken relationships and improving communication between the recovering individual and family members.
- Aftercare planning. A quality rehab facility will employ a treatment team that creates comprehensive aftercare plans for patients who complete the recovery program. Aftercare planning includes ongoing treatment that will help to prevent relapse.
Rehab placement advisors are standing by to help you find a meth polydrug rehab program that’s right for you and your circumstances. Whether you’re experiencing physical or mental withdrawal symptoms, there’s a program that can help you heal and move forward. Call 1-888-744-0789 today for more information.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). “What treatments are effective for people who abuse methamphetamine?”
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). “What are the long-term effects of methamphetamine abuse?”
- Zorick, T. et al. (2010). “Withdrawal symptoms in abstinent methamphetamine-dependent subjects.” Addiction. 105(10): pp. 1809-1818.