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Methamphetamine Overdose: How Much Meth Can Kill?

Meth Overdose

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Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that closely resembles Amphetamine. Math users eat, inject, snort, or smoke it. This substance is also known for its high overdose risks.  Methamphetamine overdose occurs when user takes too much of it.
Currently, it belongs to a class of powerful and highly addictive substances. We call them CNS stimulants. Naturally, it brings euphoria and relaxed feelings in the users. For this reason, they abuse it. At the same time, doctors also prescribe a less powerful form to treat ADHD. They also use to treat a sleep disorder which they call Narcolepsy. Notice, that the substance meth users got on streets is more powerful. In fact, it carries an increased risk of overdose even with a little quantity.
Synonyms: meth, crank, speed, crystal meth, and ice

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Table of Contents

Methamphetamine Overdose Symptoms

If overdose happens, the effects are widespread and cover a number of body systems. With this in mind, There are some things that can determine the severity of the symptoms. One of them is the amount of the drug that reaches the brain. In addition, it also influences how long one will have to bear them.
Understandably, injecting it is more dangerous than eating or smoking.
Nervous System

  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Stroke
  • Mental confusion
  • Hearing or listening things that are not there (hallucinations)
  • Extreme fear or panic states
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Tremor
  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory and judgment

Digestive System

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain

Respiratory System

  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fast breathing

Urinary System

  • Dark colored urine
  • Damages to the kidneys that may lead to its failure

Muscles System

  • Abnormal muscle contractions
  • Muscle pain or weakness
  • Extreme tiredness

Moreover, extremely high body temperature (hyperthermia) is another vital and potentially fatal effect.

Methamphetamine Overdose Treatment

Regrettably, there is no antidote. Nothing can directly counteract the toxic effects or reverse them. However, supportive treatments can restrict or relieve them.
The treatments include:

  • Medications to normalize abnormal heart rhythms
  • Benzos to control convulsions
  • Injections of antipsychotic agents to mitigate severe restlessness
  • Pressure-lowering medications to treat high blood pressure
  • Fluid and electrolyte injections to stabilize the patient. As a result, it may decrease the risk of damage to the kidneys.
  • Activated charcoal and laxative can be useful. That is if the user took the drug by mouth. In addition, it happens not so long before reaching the hospital. That way, it may help to restrict its absorption in the stomach and intestines.
  • Artificial ventilation and oxygen supplementation to facilitate breathing.
  • Supportive treatment to treat hyperthermia and prevent excessive dehydration.

How Methamphetamine Overdose Affects The Body And Brain?

Methamphetamine OverdoseFirst, the drug reaches the brain. Then, it starts to affect the activity of many of the brain chemicals (neurotransmitters). Notably, it affects the “pleasure neurotransmitter.” Scientists call it dopamine. It is because both dopamine and Meth have similar chemical structures.
For this reason, it can cause euphoric feelings after a dose of the drug. But when it too much of it were taken, an exaggeration of dopamine activity occurs. This results in marked agitation, rapid breathing, aggression and other excitatory symptoms.
The symptoms reach their peak within a few hours after the take. Then, they start climbing down. Consequently, the symptoms of physical and mental depression start to act.

Methamphetamine Overdose Amount

The lethal dose varies depending on an individual’s previous exposure to the drug. For example, it can be the way they take it and their unique capacity to digest it.
In addition, in some cases, one might already have some diseases of the vital organs. Consequently, they might also affect how the body metabolizes the drug.
Scientists say a single oral dose of 150 mg is enough to produce a fatal situation. In the same way, 100 mg given by injection or 50 mg by smoking is extremely harmful.
Understandably, injecting or smoking can kill even with a low amount.

Methamphetamine Overdose Death

Methamphetamine abuse reached its pinnacle in 2005. At that time, they said that overdosing had caused almost 4.500 deaths in the US. This is according to a report by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
In addition, Methamphetamine overdose also accounts for 100,000 emergency room visits. This is every year in the US.
What Makes Amphetamine A Drug Of Epidemic Abuse

  • Low cost
  • Long-lasting high
  • Easy accessibility

How To Help Someone Having Methamphetamine Overdose

Call local emergency number or 911. The call to the National toll-free Poison Help hotline can also save a life.

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Looking for professional medical help for addictions? Talk with the experts nearby.

  1. Methamphetamine overdose,
  2. John R. Richards; Erik G. Laurin, Methamphetamine Toxicity,
  3. Kitanaka J, Kitanaka N, Hall FS, Uhl GR, Takemura M, Brain Histamine N-Methyltransferase As a Possible Target of Treatment for Methamphetamine Overdose,
Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Isaak Stotts

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


Leave a comment

  • Jody miller
    Can someone die from meth intoxication, if only sins of meth was small amount found in kidneys?
    • Crystal
      What is meth intoxication?
  • Lyn
    Christy, there is help. And yes, you can quit. I’ve been clean from meth and heroin for over 3 years after using IV for almost 10 years. It is possible.
  • Chalen
    You should stop now while you haven’t used long. Save your own life and stay as far away from it as possible. Please believe me when I say, meth will take everything in your life that you hold dear away from you and utterly destroy it.
    • Joe Jarvis
    • Julie R.
      Yes stop now. I was where you are 2 years ago. I thought the same way and choose to keep using. Now, 2 yrs later I took medical leave from work to get help and try to save what I have left of my marriage and family. I got to where I couldn’t even think straight or felt confused alot. I barely remember my previous day. My kids and husband hate me, or that’s how it seems. The things they tell me or accuse me is a hard pill to swallow but what’s worse is most of what they say I don’t even remember doing or saying. I’m fighting every day what seems like an uphill battle that I’m not sure im going to win when it comes to not losing my family. I mean ALL my family, my mom, stepdad, dad, step mom, husband and kids. ITS NOT WORTH IT!! PLEASE STOP now while you still have everything you hold dear. Trust me, the pain in my heart is worse than anything I have or will ever feel. Please put it down, there are other healthier ways to deal with what ever it is that made you want to start using to begin with.
  • Karlito
    Patrick, of course you won’t want to quit. That is the nature of the drug. It’s a nice, easy, addictive high that noone wants to walk away from. Therein lies the danger. I would know. It took me going to prison to quit. And with the help of God, i did! And you can too! Don’t EVER be ashamed to ask for some help. And get God in on it too. He is your number one advocate 🙂
  • Brad pitt
    It may not be bad now, but there is never any happy ending when it comes to using meth. Stay away from it, meth doesn’t give a s**t about you, your family, your job, anything. It will take it all away from you in the blink of an eye
  • Cathy
    My daughter age 49 died from taking illicit meth. She lived in West Virginia and her coworkers and best friend swear she didn’t use. Can you die from taking it one time? I’m in shock and confused
    • Jaime
      I am so very sorry Cathy. I have a sister that lives with us who is in my back room tearing up my flooring as I speak. I don’t know what to do. She swears she doesn’t have a problem but she has ripped all her fingernails off and her face is almost unrecognisable. My husband is one breath away from leaving me over it. I’m scared to death she’s not going to make it and I can’t force her into rehab.
      • Jean
        Call the police and have her arrested. Is it really worth losing your husband over. She won’t get better until she admits that she has a problem to herself and takes the first step in the journey to recovery
    • Joe Jarvis
      Yes. I witnessed its deadly effects. At a high enough dose, extreme hyperthermia will cause the body’s vital organs, kidney, liver, heart to shut down from heat stoke, and extreme high blood pressure will result in internal bleeding. The brain will swell to the point of death. This happens when someone eats a high dose, for example to hide it from family or police.
  • Lisa
    Meth makes u feel good and gives you energy at first, but just like any other drug it gradually takes more and more and you feel it less an less. You will eventually lose your pretty looks an your shiny white teeth. Its NEVER a good ending. But I know some learn faster than others, but about 6 months ago I got ahold of a bad batch an for 4-4 months my mind wasn’t right. I was seeing things that wasn’t there, hearing s**t that wasn’t there, thinking everyone was out to get me, but couldn’t tell u why, I kept tearing things apart , anything with a speaker thinking people were wearing wires on me it was crazy..and I wasn’t sure I was ever going to b ok again, it’s by the grace of God that I’m able to be hear to tell my story. So NEVER think that it’s cool or that person can’t b you. Because it can an it will so jus b aware there’s NEVER a happy ending.
  • Joe
    How much were you using before you got clean? I have a friend who injects 4-5 times a day and has been going for 10 years. She is trying to quit now, any advise will be appreciated.
  • Joe Jarvis
    Patrick, I truly hope you are not using this insidious drug. My son just died from an od on meth. Not only did it destroy his young brain so quickly, it changed who he was, isolated him, cost him his relationships and job, made him delusional and ultimately led to catastrophic organ failure, including his heart which stopped 5 different times as the ER team worked to keep him alive. This is real. Please don’t turn to this illicit substance. Get real help from a doctor if you have a need to self medicate.
    • Zach Buck
      Do you know the weight of the dose he took? Were there other intoxicants in his system as well?
  • Joe Jarvis
    This is a really dangerous notion for anyone out there considering it’s use. I watched my 20 year old son die – just days ago from his meth addiction. You will feel in control until it’s way too late. For anyone reading, please do not use.
  • J
    I’ve recently overdosed on meth, too. Worst experience ever. It’s painful as hell, too. I did not go to the hospital either because I didn’t want to go to jail, and have it on my record. It changed who I was for awhile, I felt so depressed and I cried for days. It got to the point to where I wanted to kill my self; it was mainly the come down making me feel this way and how my brain was struggling to heal itself. When I was overdosing, my friends were trying hard to keep me conscious, they said I stiffed up really bad to where they could hear my bones grind, my jaw was clamped shut because they were trying to give me some milk, I felt my arms go numb, my legs go numb, my eyesight seemed like a darkened blur and my hearing faded. The whole time, I felt “tired” but I tried my best to stay awake. I ended up closing my eyes for a second and I swear I felt myself step out of my body and saw how pale I looked, my lips were pale and blue. My fingertips were blue. Then they were performing CPR on me and rubbed my chest to keep my heart from stopping. I ended up coming back to. Man, I never touched that s**t again. That s**t really opened my eyes and made me realize I almost lost my life to meth. And it breaks my heart to see people go because of this drug, and I wish I could help them. My come down was horrific; splitting headaches, body aches, irregular heart beats, and my boyfriend had to force me to eat and drink water because I was so weak and felt drained. I hope that a user sees this as well and thinks twice about still doing that drug. It’s not worth to lose your life over, man. Put it down and walk away forever. Even if you may think you have nobody that cares about you…. I DO. I don’t care if I don’t know who you are, it’s not worth your life. At all.
    Meth took my son on 5/6/19 and he was an occasional user, so yes you can die even if you are not an addict. He had just celebrated his 1st wedding anniversary, and left his only child, my only grandson. The pain your family will have to go through if you die from this shit, is indescribable. Most days I just want to lay down and die as well. PLEASE STOP, THERE IS HELP OUT THERE!
  • Angelique
    What medication helps be to normalize heart rhythym
  • Deborah
    Just got the toxicology results for my daughter, it was methamphetamine that she over dosed on! I was sure it was heroin, no heroin in her system, small amount of benzos, her test said ” greater than 1000 Ng/ml!
    • Crystal
      1000 mg of meth in your daughters system that killed her? I’m sorry for your loss but I just lost my husband to meth, they say. But the autopsy said he had 0.52mg in his system.. That don’t seem like an overdose amount… But I don’t no anything about the drug. He done it behind my back .
  • Nita Waller
    My son died of a overdose on July of this year 2019 the girl that was with him said he was screaming in pain. The medics tried to save him they even put a tube in his lungs to try in get air in,but to no avail.I wonder if he knew he went to far.I wish we had known he even using meth.he kept his life so secretive,his twin brother didn’t even know.he was on it no more than a few months his friend said,so he didn’t get a chance to start looking different.we miss him so much and wish he had came to us for help.
  • Tyler
    I snorted meth for 3 months when i was 18, i tell you that i was so lucky never to have had 1 police encounter in my life but im 20 now and i still sometimes have paranoia even when im doing nothing wrong at all, and remember, hugs not drugs
  • Beana
    I enjoy the fact I have messages from real people, I truly am grateful you made it through that really rough time you was going through. It showed you you have real people that really does love you and cares about you. I have oded on several pills at one time. Was taken to hospital and put in a medical coma twice. I have used meth off and on over several years of my life. It seems like it takes care of the pain a lot better and fastest. I would like to ask you if you already felt like you had no point to want to live without being on it, due to only being able to lay in bed in a fetal position in pain. The only way to get out of bed is to take more then a far share of oxycodone. Then one only gets to the point of being able to sit up then to get out and do anything it takes that many more mgs of pain pills. Where one can do g and be able to get out of bed and do house work for a few minutes/ hour. Then more of each or more of one or the other. Every one around you telling you it is just wanting to have an excuse to be able to do it. No one, I am sure you will agree with others, believing you when you say you truly hurt that bad. The cold weather makes it so much harder to get around. One can be completely clean and let the drs and “love”ones see what you are like to get told it’s all in your head but they tell you you have fibro, bulging disk, pinch nerves in lower back o and don’t forget the too small to do anything tumor in brain. Then be in a relationship that is not a good one. Them not able to do half of the mental stuff you deal with weekly while paying all the bills and making sure the money you have to work with gets everything taken care of. They try for a week and family is upset down with nothing paid and loans being taken out. But the one ready for some real pain free moment is the too f#cked up one. When you say you care sorry you don’t you haven’t spent a week with me as I cry in severe pain and have the highest anxiety and depression one can deal with scared of someone might touch you and cause one to hurt that much more. Yes I pray for God to see my pain and to please just kill me already. My family has pretty much told me they would be better off if I was dead cause they wouldn’t have to worry about me calling crying saying how much you hurt. My husband/ex husband just back together without remarrying wishes he could kill you off but needs help with bills. Sorry just keeping it real. Yes I have good teeth and they are clean. No I am 5 foot 230 pounds. Eat 3 meals and I sleep around 4-5 hours nightly unless my pain is keeping me up. Then one has service dog that cries cause you can’t spend time in just play. Sometimes not even being able to get up to take those 5 steps to let them out to potty. Please tell me what is their to live for. Why not do what it takes to be able to have those few hours a day to feel normal?
  • Darlene howard
    My son is 31 years old and has been using meth for 5 years, he has been in rehab twice, even got a 90 day chip, be he relapsed and now he isn’t the person he was. His teeth are rotting, he weighs 140 lbs and he’s 5’9”. He says he wants help but he’s only saying it to appease the person he’s talking to. He is verbally, emotionally and sexually abusing his wife. He is having unprotected sex with anyone. He disappears for days at a time. We are trying to get him help but unless he agrees our hands are tied.