Table of contents
Dealing With an Emergency
Is a crystal meth overdose in progress? If so, take immediate action.
If someone is experiencing a meth overdose, the correct course of action is to seek help immediately by dialing 911 or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Do not use this content as a treatment protocol or to manage an actual crystal meth overdose. Crystal meth overdoses can cause heart attack, seizures, coma and even death.
When calling for a crystal meth overdose emergency, it is helpful to have the following information:
- Person’s Age
- Person’s Weight
- Amount of Meth that was Taken
- How the Crystal Meth was Taken (smoked, snorted, etc.)
- When the Person Last Took the Drug
What is a Meth Overdose?
An overdose is when the levels of drugs in the body reach toxic amounts, and the system can no longer break the drugs down safely. In the case of a stimulant like crystal meth, this can raise body temperatures, blood pressure, and heart rates to dangerous levels, causing a heart attack or stroke. Statistics regarding overdose fatalities are sobering.
The overdose fatality rate in the United States has more than doubled from 1999 to 2013, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In order to prevent an overdose fatality one must first be aware of the symptoms.
Symptoms of Crystal Meth Overdose
- Chest Pains
- Field of Vision Spots
- Heart Arythmia
- Heart Attack
- High Fever
- Loss of Consciousness
- Loss of Muscle Control
- Pressure Behind the Eye
- Severe Stomach Pain
- Wide Pupils
- Aggressive Behavior
- Feeling of Crawling Flesh
If any of these crystal meth overdose symptoms are present, seek immediate medical care by calling 911 or the Poison Control Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.
What Causes a Crystal Meth Overdose?
Smoking, snorting, and injecting crystal meth sends the drug rapidly and directly into your bloodstream, which can increase the risks for a potentially dangerous or life-threatening overdose. A typical crystal meth high may last around eight hours, but according to the Global Information Network About Drugs (GINAD), it takes at least 12 hours for even half of the drug to be out of your system. This means that taking more just after the high wears off can be dangerous since it may inadvertently lead to extremely high levels of meth in the body.
Additional overdose factors
The impurity of crystal meth may increase the risks as well, since the mixture of drugs and other substances can create dangerous drug interactions with potentially hazardous consequences. It is also nearly impossible to gauge the amount of meth in each dose. Mixing crystal meth with other drugs or alcohol can heighten the side effects and increase the potential for an overdose.
How Much Crystal Meth Causes an Overdose?
There are few steadfast numbers to rely on regarding the amount of crystal meth that can cause an overdose. This is due to the fact that a number of factors come into play including the health, weight and tolerance of the user as well as the purity of the meth come into play.
Commonly, however, overdoses are often found to take place when the user has taken as little as 100mg to as much as 1000mg within a day. This number can dramatically increase for chronic users to as much as 5000mg or more.
Helping Someone Who is Experiencing a Crystal Meth Overdose
If you are with someone who experiences an overdose, it is important to let the first responders know what substances the person may have abused if you are aware. This can assist the medical professionals in reversing the drugs’ effects. Practice general first aid basics such as making sure the person is lying down in a safe place in the rescue position (on his side).
Make sure his airway is unobstructed, and call 911 or poison control immediately at 1-800-222-1222.
After the Overdose: A Recovery Opportunity
Once stabilized it’s important to think about the long-term recovery of the individual. Overdoses can happen to new or long-term drug users-either way when someone experiences a crystal meth overdose, it’s clear that the situation is dire. We recommend seeking treatment as soon as possible.
Often the experience of an overdose serves as a wake up call, interrupting the drug’s ability to control the intentions of its user. Take advantage of this opportunity to seek treatment, be it drug rehab at a residential inpatient facility, or through other means.
Crystal Meth Statistics
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported the following methamphetamine statistics in 2012:
- Approximately 1.2 Million people used methamphetamine in the year prior to the report.
- Approximately 440,000 people used methamphetamine in the month prior to the report.
- The average age of a user is 19.7 years old.
- Meth was the fourt most mentioned drug in hostpital emergency department visits in the US accounting for 103,000 visits
- Treatment for admissions for addiction dropped from 8.1 to 5.6 percent between 2005 and 2011
- Males accountd for 53 percent of methamphetamine admissions
- Non-Hispanic whites made up 68% of admissions
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.