Methods of Use
Methamphetamine has become an increasingly popular drug since the 1990's when new methods of production resulted in higher percentages of d-methamphetamine, a more psychogenic isomer of the drug. The new manufacturing techniques also made clandestine manufacture of the drug easy, to the point that it could be manufactured by most anyone willing to follow directions. Manufacturing and use of the drug skyrocketed in the 1990's on the west coast and then began a move eastward after the turn of the century.
Methamphetamine is a drug that can be taken in a multitude of ways. The drug can be smoked, snorted, injected, or ingested with all methods resulting in a significant amount of the drug being introduced into the body. In areas of high surface concentration, the drug can actually be absorbed through intact skin. The fastest way to get the drug into the body is through injection. This is also the method that reportedly results in the greatest and most instantaneous affect. Smoking is the method most used and a method that, short of injection, can result in the quickest and best effect. Ingestion and snorting generally result in lower absorption of the drug.
The act of smoking methamphetamine does not actually consist of setting the drug on fire, but rather consists of heating the drug above the vapor point so that the vapor can be inhaled. This is possible because the methamphetamine hydrochloride does not decompose when heated. The vapor that is not inhaled into the lungs will normally be released into the room and cause general methamphetamine contamination, even though an actual "meth lab" did not exist. The amount of methamphetamine contamination generated will depend upon the amount "smoked" and the conditions at the time of "smoking". Researchers at National Jewish Medical Center have characterized the "vapor" and suggested resulting building contamination levels for several levels of smoking.(1)