Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant drug. Street methamphetamine is referred to as "speed," "meth," and "chalk." Methamphetamine appears to have a neurotoxic effect, damaging brain cells that contain dopamine and serotonin.
Methamphetamine is taken orally, intranasally, by intravenous injection, or by smoking. Users may become addicted quickly, and use it with increasing frequency and by increasing the dose.
Methamphetamine causes increased heart rate and blood pressure and can lead to irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain, producing strokes. Other problems associated with methamphetamine use include respiratory problems, irregular heartbeat, and extreme anorexia. Its use can result in cardiovascular collapse and death. One particular study found that methamphetamine users practice sexual and needle-use behavior that places them at risk of contracting and transmitting HIV and AIDS.