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NIDA Research Report

Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction

From the Director

The abuse of methamphetamine - a potent and highly addictive psychostimulant - is a very serious problem in the United States. Initially limited to Hawaii and western parts of the country, methamphetamine abuse continues to spread eastward, with rural and urban areas everywhere increasingly affected. According to one national survey, approximately 10 million people in the United States have tried methamphetamine at least once.

Methamphetamine abuse leads to devastating medical, psychological, and social consequences. Adverse health effects include memory loss, aggression, psychotic behavior, heart damage, malnutrition, and severe dental problems. Methamphetamine abuse also contributes to increased transmission of infectious diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS, and can infuse whole communities with new waves of crime, unemployment, child neglect or abuse, and other social ills.

The good news is that methamphetamine abuse can be prevented and methamphetamine addiction can be treated. People do recover, but only when effective treatments that address the multitude of problems resulting from methamphetamine abuse are readily available. Primary goals of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) are to apply what our scientists learn from drug abuse research to develop new and enhance existing treatment approaches and to bring these effective treatments to the communities that need them.

In this report, we provide an overview of the latest scientific findings on methamphetamine. Our intent is to enlighten readers about the damaging effects of methamphetamine abuse and to inform prevention and treatment efforts.

Nora D.Volkow, M.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse


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Also Available in Spanish

All materials appearing in the Research Reports Series are in the public domain and may be reproduced without permission from NIDA. Citation of the source is appreciated.

To obtain printed copies of this report, please call or write the National Clearinghouse on Alcohol and Drug Information, P.O. Box 2345, Rockville, MD 20852, 1-800-729-6686. NIDA Research Report - Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction: NIH Publication No. 06-4210, Printed April 1998, Reprinted January 2002. Revised September 2006. 3003273times since 2/18/02.


Letter from the Director

What is methamphetamine?

What is the scope of methamphetamine abuse in the United States?

How is methamphetamine abused?

How is methamphetamine different from other stimulants, such as cocaine?

What are the immediate (short-term) effects of methamphetamine abuse?

What are the long-term effects of methamphetamine abuse?

What are the risks of methamphetamine abuse during pregnancy?

Are methamphetamine abusers at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C?

What treatments are effective for methamphetamine abusers?

Where can I get further scientific information about methamphetamine abuse?

Glossary and References


Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction Research Report Cover

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