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Methamphetamine Information and Treatment Options

Meth Treatment in Santa Clara and Contra Costa Counties

Do you have a meth addiction?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) developed the questions below as a brief self-test regarding drug abuse.

  • Are drugs negatively affecting your work or health?
  • Do you feel like you need drugs to get through the day?
  • Are your friends or family members telling you there's a problem?
  • Have you tried to stop or cut down on your drug use, but were unable to do so?

If you answered "Yes" to one or more of these questions, you may have a problem with drugs like meth.  Please keep reading for further information and helpful resources.

What is Methamphetamine and How is it Used?

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine (also known as meth, crystal meth, crystal, speed or crank) is a synthetic, illegally-produced substance of the phenethylamine and amphetamine class of drugs.  It is a powerful central nervous system stimulant, with effects lasting from 4 hours to several days, depending on purity and amount used.  The drug's euphoric effects are similar to, but longer-lasting than, those of cocaine.

Meth is manufactured using over-the-counter cold and asthma medications containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.  Among the other ingredients most commonly used in conjunction with ephedrine or pseudoephedrine are red phosphorous, hydrochloric acid, drain cleaner, battery acid, lye, lantern fuel, ammonia, muriatic acid and/or antifreeze.

How is Methamphetamine Used?

Methamphetamine can be snorted, smoked in a glass pipe or on foil, injected or ingested orally.

Meth Addiction – A Rampant Problem in the U.S.

Methamphetamine has long been a problem in the western part of the United States, especially here in California.  In recent years, meth use has spread to the Midwest and further east.  There are now 1.4 million meth users in the United States.

  • In 1992, only 5 states reported high rates of drug treatment admissions for methamphetamine/amphetamine issues.  By 2002, this number had increased to 21.
  • According to the National Survey on Drug Use, 10.4 million Americans age 12 and up had tried methamphetamine at least once.
  • According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are more than 15,000 deaths annually associated with stimulant use in the U.S.
  • In 2007, there were 137,000 rehab admissions for methamphetamine abuse in the U.S.

Short and Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamine Use

Short-Term Effects of Meth Use

Meth releases a surge of dopamine, causing an intense rush of pleasure or prolonged feelings of euphoria.  This is the primary effect that meth users seek.  Meth gives an almost immediate "high," causing the body to release high doses of adrenaline.  This increases your heartbeat, attention and energy level.

Long-Term Effects of Meth Use

Methamphetamine is manufactured from toxic chemicals and therefore causes serious damage to the mind and body.  Over time, meth destroys the brain's dopamine receptors, making it impossible to feel pleasure.  Permanent cognitive damage can occur.  Deterioration of the body takes place and chronic abuse can lead to psychotic behavior.  Those who inject the drug are susceptible to infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis.

Short-term effects can include:

Long-term effects can include:

  • "Rush"/Euphoria
  • Rapid/irregular heartbeat
  • Increased attention and decreased fatigue
  • Increased activity
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased respiration
  • Hyperthermia
  • Increased sex drive
  • Infectious diseases (due to IV use and/or risky sexual practices)


  • Physical changes to the brain
  • Emotional and cognitive impairments
  • Memory loss
  • Liver damage
  • Stroke
  • Violent/aggressive behavior
  • Dependence and addiction psychosis, including:
    • paranoia
    • hallucinations
    • mood disturbances
    • repetitive motor activity
  • Weight loss and other physical deterioration
  • Acne and sores on the skin
  • Severe dental problems
  • Infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis

Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction

Methamphetamine is a powerful, dangerous and highly addictive drug.  If you're having a problem with meth addiction, long-term treatment is the best chance for recovery (according to research).

Rehab for Methamphetamine Addiction

Support Systems Homes provides several effective treatments and services for meth addiction.  We may use more than one in conjunction with each other, if it helps your treatment progress faster.

Methamphetamine usually processes through the body within 24-48 hours of the last dose.  Meth Detox concentrates on helping the participant cope with the cravings for meth afterward.  And the related withdrawal symptoms – exhaustion, insomnia, distorted thinking, memory problems, depression, low energy, and irritability.  Our detox program helps stabilize you, and prepare you for longer-term treatment like a residential rehab program.

Residential Treatment (Residential Drug Rehab):
Residential treatment participants leave their home to live in a safe, supervised setting for 30 days or more.  In a structured setting, they can focus completely on recovering from their addiction.  Participants receive drug education, individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, introduction to community-based self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous, and referrals to community resources.

Support Systems Homes Residential Treatment also offers the chance to form support networks with others in recovery, and to learn healthy lifestyle choices in terms of nutrition and exercise.

Therapeutic Communities:
Research published by The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that the most effective drug-free treatments are the therapeutic community (TC) programs lasting 3 to 6 months.  TC programs are residential, with the clients and therapists living together.  Group psychotherapy, individual counseling, education and practical activities are typically offered.  The program length gives participants the time they need to stabilize from their drug use and to develop new, healthy behaviors and support networks.

"We were so happy to find Support Systems Homes for our son.  While researching various drug rehabilitation programs, we found so many of them lacking in one or more of the components that we felt were so important.  Support Systems Homes has them all!"

Outpatient Treatment:
More intensive forms of treatment may be followed by outpatient treatment, which involves regular structured therapeutic groups and individual counseling that take place several days per week, usually for several months.  Outpatient participants are those who are stabilized in terms of their drug use and who are appropriate for a level of care that is not monitored or structured 24/7.

Community-Based Self-Help Groups:
These groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous and Crystal Meth Anonymous, along with non-12 step based programs, are designed to help meth addicts attain long-term abstinence.  You'll gain tools and support networks to deal with your addiction.

Call Support Systems Homes for Methamphetamine Treatment at our California Drug Rehab Centers

Support Systems Homes maintains this page so drug treatment participants know they'll receive high-quality care with us.  Our drug rehab programs provide detox, meth treatment centers and community-based rehab options.  Our facilities are located throughout Northern California, especially the San Francisco Bay Area.

If you or someone you know uses methamphetamine, call us at (800) 811-1800 to discuss treatment options.  Or email us at

Further Resources and Information 

Crystal Meth Anonymous
(Support, links to meetings, phone lines and information)

Narcotics Anonymous
(Support, links to meetings, phone lines and information)

(Support, links to meetings, phone lines and information for families/friends of addicts)

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
(Information and education about meth use and addiction)

(Information, educational materials, treatment facility locator, and statistics regarding addiction)

SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI)

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