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The Dangers of Shooting Meth

Shooting meth leads to rapid addiction, significant health risks, including disease transmission and organ damage, and severe mental health issues. Despite these dangers, recovery is achievable with behavioral therapies and supportive treatment options.

Struggling with Methamphetamine Addiction? Get Help Now

Shooting meth, even in small doses, poses significant dangers. Injection drug use can lead to mental and physical health complications, some of which are irreversible. Fortunately, recovery from a meth addiction is possible through a combination of behavioral therapies and support. 

What Is Meth?

Methamphetamine (meth) is a highly potent and addictive stimulant drug. It causes a short-term high, during which many people feel an increased sense of euphoria, energy, and alertness. 

When consumed, meth releases large amounts of dopamine into the brain. Dopamine is a natural feel-good chemical in the brain that affects the body and mind. Because meth rapidly causes such pleasurable feelings, the behavior to use meth is reinforced. 

How Dangerous Is Shooting Meth?

Meth can be consumed in many ways. It can be smoked, injected, snorted, or taken orally. Smoking and injecting meth are two of the most dangerous ways to ingest the drug, regarding potential addiction. When smoked or injected, meth enters the bloodstream and almost immediately causes an intense high. 

Each meth high lasts just a few minutes and is often highly pleasurable. To maintain that high, users often engage in a pattern of repeated ingestion and crashing, sometimes for days. When drug use is placed above eating and sleeping, serious health consequences can occur. 

Intravenous drug use, like shooting meth, also increases the risk of contracting diseases like HIV and hepatitis B and C. These diseases are highly transmissible and often spread when needles used for injecting meth are shared. 

Specific Dangers of Shooting Meth 

There are many dangers associated with shooting meth. It impacts many aspects of a person, including their physical and mental health, as well as their social and financial well-being. Risks begin with the first time someone shoots meth and can persist for months or years after use has stopped, explains the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

Health Risks

Injection drug users expose themselves to a greater risk of infection than users who consume meth in other ways. Use of needles, especially when shared, increases the risk of skin sores, infections at the injection site, and collapsed veins, as well as contracting serious diseases. 

Additional health risks include significant dental problems, osteoporosis, intense itching, liver, kidney, and lung damage, heart attack, and stroke. The heart and brain can also experience permanent damage. Fatal overdose from shooting meth is also possible.

Mental Health Dangers 

In addition to the physical health risks of shooting meth, many mental health dangers exist. Anxiety, confusion, and an inability to sleep are possible, as are paranoia, hallucinations, violent behavior, and delusions. Methamphetamine-induced psychosis can last for years after meth use is stopped.

Legal Dangers 

Methamphetamine is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it is considered highly addictive but does have an accepted medical use. However, it is only legal when consumed in forms approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

In small, controlled amounts, Desoxyn can be prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity. It is the only legal form of methamphetamine. 

Any other form of meth is considered illegal. Being caught with it can have serious legal consequences.

Financial Risk

A meth addiction poses many financial risks, both on the personal and greater economic levels. People with a substance abuse problem often spend a significant amount of their money on substances. As the disease progresses, it also becomes harder to maintain a job and financial problems often occur. 

On the economic level, the annual cost of illegal drug use is estimated to be $193 billion. That includes the cost of drug use, healthcare, lost earning potential, and more.

Social Dangers 

People addicted to shooting meth are likely to struggle with maintaining their daily social lives and meeting their responsibilities. Mood swings and paranoia observed in meth users make it challenging to maintain social relationships. 

Meth use also carries significant social stigma and people using it can feel isolated from potential social support. 

How Shooting Meth Impacts the Mind & Body

Shooting meth impacts the mind and body, both while high and for the long-term. Short-term effects are primarily pleasurable, though they can also be disturbing and upsetting. 

Short-term effects of shooting meth, that typically subside when the high is over, as outlined by SAMHSA, include the following:

  • Increased breathing
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat 
  • Increased blood pressure and body temperature 
  • Reduced appetite
  • Nausea 
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Unpredictable, aggressive, violent, or erratic behavior 
  • Sense of euphoria 
  • A rush

Although the above effects often don’t last long, they can turn into long-term health effects as use continues. Changes in behavior and mental health can continue even when meth use has stopped. 

Treatment Options for Shooting Meth

Someone who has developed an addiction to meth will likely require multiple forms of treatment to manage the addiction. There are not currently any FDA-approved medications specifically for the treatment of a meth addiction, though medications can be used to address specific symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and other health conditions. 

Behavioral therapies are the most well-known treatments for methamphetamine addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and contingency management are two of the most effective types of therapy for a meth addiction, explains the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Individuals are encouraged to participate in therapy, and family therapy is also highly beneficial for supporting an individual’s recovery. 

Ongoing participation in 12-step programs, such as Narcotics Anonymous, helps individuals maintain sobriety after treatment. Effects of meth use can be felt for years after use is stopped, so an effective support system and long-term treatment plan are important for a life of sobriety. Such a plan should include mental and physical health treatment and support, as well as lifestyle choices that encourage sobriety. 

It can be difficult to overcome an addiction to shooting meth, but recovery is possible. Every day, people make gains in addiction treatment and leave meth abuse in their past.

Updated May 10, 2024
  1. Addiction and Substance Misuse Reports and Publications. (March 2023). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  2. Drug Fact Sheet: Methamphetamine. (April 2020). Department of Justice/Drug Enforcement Agency.
  3. Know the Risks of Meth. (August 2022). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  4. Methamphetamine Research Report. (October 2019). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  5. Pharmacological Approaches to Methamphetamine Dependence: A Focused Review. (June 2010). British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.
  6. Current Research on Methamphetamine: Epidemiology, Medical and Psychiatric Effects, Treatment, and Harm Reduction Efforts. (Summer–Autumn 2014). Addiction & Health.
  7. Patterns and Characteristics of Methamphetamine Use Among Adults — United States, 2015–2018. (March 2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  8. Psychosocial and Pharmacologic Interventions for Methamphetamine Addiction: Protocol for a Scoping Review of the Literature. (October 2020). Systematic Reviews.
  9. Methamphetamine-Associated Cardiomyopathy: An Addiction Medicine Perspective. (January 2023). Internal Medicine Journal.
  10. Patterns of Smoking and Injecting Methamphetamine and Their Association With Health and Social Outcomes. (August 2021). Drug and Alcohol Review.
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