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Methamphetamine: The newest of the “Kentucky Uglies”. Prepared by: Holly E. Hopper, MRC Extension Associate for Health. Crystal Methamphetamine. What is methamphetamine?. A psycho-stimulant known as: “meth” “speed” “crystal” “ice” “uppers” “poor man’s cocaine”

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methamphetamine the newest of the kentucky uglies

Methamphetamine:Thenewestof the“Kentucky Uglies”

Prepared by: Holly E. Hopper, MRC

Extension Associate for Health

what is methamphetamine
What is methamphetamine?

A psycho-stimulant known as:

  • “meth”
  • “speed”
  • “crystal”
  • “ice”
  • “uppers”
  • “poor man’s cocaine”
  • “black beauties”
who is at risk
Who is at risk?
  • Women
  • Men
  • Teens
  • Abusers of other drugs

Anyone willing to try it.

why women
Why women?
  • Buying into weight loss advertisements
  • Myths about energy
  • Myth of productivity
  • Attempts to be “Super Woman”
  • Child care
why youth
Why youth?
  • Adult family members’ use
  • Think it is fun
  • Cheap and popular
  • Easy to find
  • Believe local availability means safety
why men
Why men?
  • Belief it provides more energy
  • Belief they will be more productive
  • Looking to improve work performance
  • To escape from life stress
dangers associated with methamphetamine
Dangers associated with Methamphetamine
  • Addiction
  • Aggression
  • Brain damage
  • Paranoia
  • Family violence
  • Criminal involvement
  • Multiple health risks
  • Death
how did methamphetamine get to kentucky
How did methamphetamine get to Kentucky?

1970-California discovered meth

1990’s: Moving eastward…

Utah, Kansas and Iowa


1994 6 labs

1998 434 labs

2002 953 labs

2001 Missouri Extension targets problem

2002 Oklahoma Extension targets problem

2003 Iowa Extension partners with area Substance Abuse Council

--part of Healthy County programming

2003 Indiana Extension (Purdue) targets methamphetamine



what does meth do to you
What does meth do to you?

In the short-term:

  • Euphoria
  • Increased alertness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Paranoia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased physical activity; jerky or flailing movements, picking at skin or pulling hair
  • Irritability, nervousness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Aggression and psychological distress
  • Teeth grinding
  • Non-stop talking
  • Rapid heart beat and increased blood pressure
  • Heart-failure, high body temperature, or death
what are some other effects
What are some other effects?

Common long-term effects are:

  • Tooth decay
  • Acne or skin sores (“speed bumps”)
  • Anger
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Repetitive behavior patterns
  • Fatal kidney and lung disorders
  • Brain damage
  • Liver damage
  • Blood clots
  • Chronic depression
  • Malnutrition
  • Disturbed personality
  • Deficient immune system
  • Violent or psychotic behavior
why don t people just stop using
Why don’t people just stop using?
  • People can go without sleep for as many as 13 days while using methamphetamine.

Upon waking, users will experience intense :

        • Drug craving
        • Irritability
        • Loss of energy
        • Depression
        • Fearfulness
        • Drowsiness
        • Shaking
        • Nausea
        • Heart palpitations
        • Sweating
        • Hyperventilation
        • Increased appetite
it doesn t make sense
It doesn’t make sense
  • Impaired reasoning
  • Lost jobs
  • Lost lives
  • Lost friends
  • Damaged relationships
  • Paranoia
  • Psychological pain
  • Physical pain
  • Disease
  • Death
employment and livelihood
Employment and Livelihood
  • 38 to 50% of all workers’ comp claims are drug and alcohol related.

(National Council on Compensation Insurance, 1993)

  • 71% of current drug users 18 and older were unemployed.

(1995 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, SAMHSA, August 1996).

methamphetamine environment
Methamphetamine & Environment
  • Toxic waste
  • Water pollution
  • Soil pollution
  • Risk to food supply
  • Property contamination
  • Exposure risk can last years
landowner s responsibility
Landowner’s Responsibility
  • Know what happens on your land
  • Maintain safety of rental property
  • Become aware of potential liability

Protect yourself and your farm

what are signs of production
What are signs of production?
  • Strange smells
  • Strange looking trash
  • Blacked out windows
  • Night traffic

DO NOT attempt clean-up on your own.

This requires special protective equipment and training to reduce health risks from corrosive burns, asphyxiation, toxic exposure, fire, and toxic psychological effects from exposure to methamphetamine oil.

risks to families and children
Risks to Families and Children
  • Fetal defects, abnormality
  • Domestic violence
  • Child neglect
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Child physical abuse
  • Child poisoning
  • Brain damage
  • Toxic living environments
  • Death
family members as victims
Family members as victims
  • Loaning money
  • Theft of money
  • Theft of valuables
  • Threats of violence
  • Threats of harm
  • Community crime increase
  • Meth production on family property
social cultural strengths of east kentucky
Social & cultural strengths of East Kentucky
  • Family
  • Pride
  • Hope
  • Privacy
  • Faith
  • Resilience
  • Tradition
  • Unconditional support
  • Strong emotional expression
  • History
what if i find a meth production site
What if I find a meth production site?

DO NOT attempt to clean or inspect the site yourself.

Call Operation UNITE:


Kentucky State Police:


Meth-certified officers are available to handle such situations.

what can i do to help
What can I do to help?
  • Talk to others
  • Get involved
  • Talk to your kids
  • Encourage users to seek treatment
  • Seek the aid of law enforcement
  • Support others affected by drug use
  • Become aware of national trends
  • Build community assets
  • Build developmental assets
  • html
  • Methamphetamine Fact Book, A Community Handbook and Resource Guide, Speed Prevention and Awareness Network (SPAN)
  • Newspaper clippings from the Lexington Herald Leader
  • Lab photos courtesy of the Fayette County Police Dept.
  • Brain and meth user photos from, Hawaii’s Ice Age
  • The DAWN Report: Club Drugs, 2001 Update, October 2002, SAMHSA.

Movie that accurately portrays methamphetamine use:

  • Requiem for a Dream

Warning: This movie is an accurate but graphic portrayal.


For more information on health issues in Kentucky, contact your local County Extension Office or visit the HEEL website at:

Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.

This information is provided by the H.E.E.L. Program. Health Education through Extension Leadership (H.E.E.L.) is a partnership among the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension Program, the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and the Kentucky School of Public Health.

The development of the HEEL program was made possible by Senator Mitch McConnell with funds earmarked for the University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Lexington, KY and budgeted through the CSREES/USDA Federal Administration.