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Military pilots used amphetamines to stay awake on long flights to their bombing targets during the war. College students used them to stay awake all night to study for exams. In the 1960's people used amphetamines for entertainment. Then, in the 1970's as laws made getting amphetamines more difficult, their use all but disappeared. But now the use of amphetamines has returned in full force, primarily in the form of the supercharged version called Crystal Meth. Processed mainly in makeshift "meth labs", Crystal Meth use is booming, and in its wake people are dying. What is Crystal Meth? What does it do and what is being done to halt its march across our cities?
Crystal Meth is the synthetic white crystalline powder form of amphetamines. While the legal form of amphetamines are used primarily as a short term treatment for obesity, crystal meth is used as a recreational drug, for its ability to enhance the senses and cause an euphoric high.
It is said that when used, people often go days without sleep and engage in high risk sexual activity non-stop. While the legal form it is odorless, crystal meth often smells of ammonia, due to the chemicals used during manufacturing.
Crystal meth is "cooked" in labs that spring up in abandoned homes, warehouses, and kitchens in middle class neighborhoods. Chemicals and solvents that can be purchased in hardware stores, over the counter medications such as pseudophed, and ordinary items such as pots and pans are used to manufacture this killer. What results is a deadly form of amphetamine...crystal meth...and toxic by-products that contaminate the air, can cause illness and death, and are highly volatile, often exploding without warning. When meth labs are found and shut down, hazardous materials units respond to properly handle and dismantle the labs in order to protect homes and people living near the lab.
Crystal meth is hazardous and is often a killer, that much is known. But why? The dangers of crystal meth are many:
Steps are being taken to slow the crystal meth problem. Some states are limiting the purchase of over the counter pseudophed, one of the components of crystal meth. Prevention messages are being targeted to at risk populations and law enforcement are cracking down on the labs.
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