Why Methamphetamine Addicts Age Faster

Women aging quickly with meth

Methamphetamine, most commonly known as crystal meth or ice, is a recreational drug that produces a stimulant and euphoric high. Meth can be smoked, snorted, or injected. Meth is often called “the poor man’s cocaine” as it is much cheaper than cocaine and lasts for much longer. A single dose of meth can last for up to 12 hours depending on how it is consumed. Methamphetamine is mostly used as an illicit drug although it does have some limited medical such as in the case of narcolepsy, weight loss, and ADHD.

Meth is extremely addictive. At low doses, users experience an elevated mood, increased alertness and concentration, loss of appetite, and a feeling of invincibility. At high doses, users can go into a stage of psychosis and the drug can cause bleeding in the brain and breakdown of skeletal muscles. Chronic long term effects include paranoia, hallucinations, psychosis, mood swings, seizures, and violent behavior.

Methamphetamine has been around since the late 1900s when it was synthesized from ephedrine. Pilots and soldiers in World War II were given meth tablets in order to combat fatigue and to stretch their fighting capabilities. Following the war, methamphetamine was used as a diet supplement and an anti-depressant. Methamphetamine was made illegal in the 1970s as methamphetamine addiction soared through the roof. Not having a legal way to obtain, many addicts turned to the streets to get their drugs. Biker gangs controlled the illicit market around that time, mostly in rural communities. In the 90s, Mexican cartels began to manufacture large amounts of meth which they then imported into the United States.

We have all seen the before-and-after pictures of meth addicts. The addicts look like they have aged twenty years in just a couple of months. So what is it about meth that makes addicts age so fast? First, let’s look at how meth is made. Since the regulation of meth precursors such as ephedrine, illicit methamphetamine chemists had to look for other ways to obtain the ingredients to produce meth. Those ingredients include acetone (found in nail polish remover and paint thinner), anhydrous ammonia (found in fertilizers), hydrochloric acid (a corrosive acid used to remove rust from steel), lithium (found in batteries), red phosphorus (found on matchboxes and road flare), lye (used to dissolve roadkill and also highly corrosive), and sulfuric acid (used in cleaning products).

As you can see, all these ingredients are dangerous and not meant for human consumption. In addition to that, the environment used to manufacture meth is not the most professional. There are no regulations in place or anyone to enforce how clean the lab is or how often the equipment is sterilized. Bottom line is you are getting drugs made in someone’s kitchen

A recent study has shown why methamphetamine increases the aging process. “With funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to probe the effects of methamphetamine on the “lipidome” (the complete lipid profile of representative organs and tissues) in rats that self-administer the drug, UCI’s Daniele Piomelli and his IIT colleagues found that its use caused abnormalities in cellular fat metabolism, triggering extreme inflammation marked by a considerable rise in the formation of ceramides, pro-inflammatory molecules that can foster cell aging and death” (UCI, Italian scientists limit accelerated cellular aging caused by methamphetamine use).

In other words, using methamphetamine affects the body at the cellular level which in turn affects the aging process of organs and tissues. This, along with poor nutrition and lack of sleep from chronic meth use are the reasons a person can look so different in their before-and-after pictures.

If a loved one is struggling with methamphetamine addiction, call Narconon and help them get their life back. It is never too late to get a fresh start.


Angel Serra

While Angel was growing up in South Texas he saw the impact of drugs in his community. Today he writes about political problems and struggles connected with drug abuse.