By Meredith Maran
Signs and Symptoms
In the early stages of use, red flags include incessant talking, decreased appetite, jitteriness and anxiety, dilated pupils, and sweating. Later on, abusers develop strong body odor, tooth decay, and acne-type sores; they also become moody, alternating between angry outbursts and withdrawal. Full-blown addicts suffer extreme weight and hair loss, intense paranoia, and hallucinations.
Talking the Talk
There are many code names for meth that kids may use in your presence or with friends, such as speed, zip, uppers, go-fast, crank (and, by extension, the "Jenny Crank Diet"), crypto, chalk, bling bling, crystal, ice, quartz, glass, shabu, stove top, cinnamon, lemon drop, black beauties, spackle, trash, tina, and tweak.
Razor blades and playing cards are often used to crush meth crystals into powder. Lots of plastic straws or hollowed-out pens in the trash could mean your teen is snorting the drug; partially crushed soda cans (with small holes punched in one side), light bulbs with the bottoms and filaments removed, charred soda bottle caps or a stash of butane cigarette lighters may be evidence he's smoking or injecting it.
One in four teens surveyed say the drug is easy to acquire, and one in three see little to no danger in trying meth once or twice. (Source: The Meth Project)