Man in yellow suit making methamphetamine

The Rise of Super Meth (P2P Meth) in California

Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that ramps up the central nervous system, causing a person to feel energized, alert and confident. It’s similar to amphetamine, its parent drug, in that it increases energy and talkativeness and decreases appetite. However, methamphetamine allows greater amounts of the substance to get to the brain, making it more powerful than regular amphetamine. Its effects are also longer lasting and more harmful, which is why meth is associated with a higher risk for misuse. 

In 2021, about 2.5 million people ages 12 and older reported using methamphetamine in the past 12 months. It’s estimated that of these people, about 1.6 million had a methamphetamine use disorder in the past year as well. Also in the same year, over 32,000 people died from an overdose involving psychostimulants. 

But, just as other substances—marijuana, cocaine, heroin—are getting stronger, so is meth. Much of the meth in California today is actually “super meth,” which is more powerful and more addictive. Let’s learn more. 

What is Super Meth? 

Super meth refers to meth that is made using phenyl-2-propanone instead of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine (which was used back in the day). With the rise in meth labs across the U.S., officials cracked down and banned over-the-counter sales of cold medicines that contained pseudoephedrine. 

However, P2P meth is cheaper and easier to produce, being made in illegal drug labs where it’s then smuggled over the border and into our major cities. The closer you are to the border, the more likely the meth is to be pure. By the time it gets to other areas, it’s often cut with other substances. 

As a stronger version of methamphetamine, super meth is up to 97% pure, has a high that lasts up to 24 hours (compared with regular meth’s high of 12 hours) and is overall stronger and more potent. It’s also less expensive, making it appealing to those who use meth regularly. 

Dangers of Using Super Meth 

The dangers are the same whether a person is using meth or super meth. However, with super meth, the drug is far more potent, powerful and addictive. Therefore, users may experience negative side effects even sooner. It’s also important to point out that meth is sometimes combined with fentanyl, unbeknownst to the user. It takes just a couple milligrams of fentanyl to be deadly, and this substance has no taste, smell or texture, making it impossible to identify. If fentanyl is in meth, users are at an even greater risk for overdose and death. 

Here are some of the short-term and long-term risks associated with meth use:

Short-term dangers: 

  • Increased heart rate
  • Hyperthermia (increased body temperature) 
  • Skin sores from scratching
  • Insomnia
  • Psychological problems, such as anxiety, paranoia, confusion, hallucinations or aggressive behavior
  • Risk of overdose, seizures, coma or death 
  • Weight loss and malnutrition 

Long-term dangers: 

  • Neurological damage 
  • Liver damage 
  • Infectious diseases, especially when sharing needles 
  • Dependence and addiction 
  • Cardiovascular problems 
  • Severe depression 
  • Severe dental decay (meth mouth)

Is Meth Use Disorder Treatable? 

Due to how addictive and potent meth is, most people become dependent on it very quickly and will do anything to get it, including lying, stealing and damaging relationships. While meth is a difficult substance to quit, it is possible. The first step is typically detox, which involves removing meth and any other substances from the body. 

The biggest risk during withdrawal is severe depression. This happens because the brain has become dependent on meth to release dopamine and feel good. When the substance is stopped, the brain is depleted of dopamine, causing extreme depression. However, the brain has to recover, and it eventually will. In the meantime, treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing and contingency management can help. Other effective treatments for meth use disorder are family therapy, support groups, medications for withdrawal symptoms and treatment for co-occurring disorders. 

Get Help for Meth Use Disorder in Agoura Hills, CA

Are you ready to overcome your addiction to meth? Awakenings Treatment Center can help. We offer convenient outpatient programs in Agoura Hills, CA that fit with your lifestyle. We firmly believe in building a life that you can enjoy, which is why we encourage fitness, nutrition, exercise and healthy hobbies like yoga, mindfulness and art. These activities will help you stay busy and keep your mind off meth. Meanwhile, therapy helps you understand your reasons for using substances and how to cope in new ways. To learn more about how we can support your journey, contact our admissions department today.