Monday April 21st 2014

Methamphetamine overdose: How much meth does it take to OD?

Is it possible to use meth and not overdose?   It’s critical you know the risks, symptoms and signs of meth overdose, especially if you or someone you know is using too much meth.  First, learn how meth works in the body.  Then, understand how meth overdose occurs.

Here, we review meth OD and the severe side effects due to meth use.  We outline the signs and complications of meth abuse, followed by prognosis and methods of treatment. Then, you can ask questions about methamphetamine abuse, how long meth stays in your system, and overdose at the end. We try to answer all legitimate meth questions personally and promptly.

How does unintentional meth overdose happen?

Methamphetamine, like all drugs, has an accepted, medicinal applications. However, meth is generally thought of as the illegal street drug version which is taken as a white crystal-like powder that can be snorted, swallowed, smoked ,or dissolved and injected directly into the body.  Unintentional meth overdose generally happens in two different ways:

1. Acute methamphetamine overdose occurs while taking high doses of meth and can result in harsh side effects, which can be extremely painful and possibly result in death.

2. Chronic methamphetamine overdose occurs when a user continues to abuse meth over a period of time resulting in many harmful physical side-effects, both temporary and permanent.

Meth overdose – How much is too much?

The amount of meth a person must take to overdose will vary depending on several factors. The weight of the user, their general health, natural immunities, and built-up resistance or tolerance to meth all factor in. What’s more, the purity of the meth itself will determine how much meth is too much.

Currently the purity of meth is considered to be quite high, between 60-90%. This means that the potency of the effect on the central nervous system (CNS) is greater than previous mixtures. Common abuse doses are between 100-1000 mg a day. Chronic binge use can be as high as 5000 mg a day.

Meth overdose complications

People who take meth generally experience a sense of euphoria. This is accompanied by increased heart rate and blood pressure, as well as the widening of the pupils. The complications, however, that can occur when taking large amounts of meth, can be extremely serious and result in permanent damage or death.  Methamphetamine overdose can result in:

  • cardiovascular problems
  • convulsions which can result in death if not treated immediately
  • high blood pressure
  • hyperthermia (a rise in body temperature)
  • irregular heartbeat
  • permanent, stroke-producing damage to small blood vessels in the brain
  • rapid heartbeat

Chronic methamphetamine abuse results in inflammation of the heart lining. Those who inject meth damage their blood vessels and cause skin abscesses. In addition, they increase their chances of protracting HIV and hepatitis B and C. This is particularly prevalent among those who re-use needles. Continued use of meth also results in progressive social and occupational deterioration.

The following represent a list of side-effects and complications methamphetamine use can result in:

  • agitation
  • chest pain
  • coma
  • complete stopping of the heart
  • difficulty breathing
  • heart attack
  • kidney damage and possibly kidney failure
  • missing and rotted teeth (called “meth mouth”)
  • paranoia
  • repeated infections
  • seizures
  • severe stomach pain
  • severe weight loss
  • skin sores (boils)
  • stroke

Psychological complications resulting from long-term meth use include:

  • severe inability to sleep (insomnia)
  • major mood swings
  • delusional behavior
  • extreme paranoia

Meth overdose prognosis

When it comes to treating a meth overdose, chances for recovery depend on several factors. First, the amount of meth ingested can affect recovery results. Second, how quickly medical treatment is administered plays a significant role in whether the user will recover.

Methamphetamine overdose death rate

It is difficult determine the number of deaths due to methamphetamine. To begin with, it would be necessary to decide if the death is directly due to an overdose of the drug itself, or due to complications. Indirectly or directly, deaths due to suicide or traffic accidents may also be considered consequences of meth abuse. However, you can learn more about statistics related to meth abuse from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), a public health surveillance system that monitors drug-related deaths investigated by medical examiners and coroners.

Meth overdose amount questions

If you have questions regarding methamphetamine overdose, or insights into this subject, please feel free to leave your comments below. We try to respond to all queries personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: NHTSA: Methamphetamine
Vermont State Department of Health: Meth Facts
NIDA Drug Facts: Methamphetamine 

Photo credit: DEA

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25 Responses to “Methamphetamine overdose: How much meth does it take to OD?
Judi
5:14 am April 10th, 2013

My sister was found dead in her bed with her boyfriend. Coroner said it was due to an overdose of meth. She and her boyfriend had issues. He says that she had been out the night before and returned home at approx 230am and went directly to sleep next to him in a small bed. He said he awoke at 7 am the next morning and left to get her coffee (first time ever) and when he returned at 730 to wake her he found she was dead.
This seems really suspicious.
How long does after a person does meth, if its a pm overdose, does it actually affect them?
Being that meth is an upper, would it make sane that she would come home and go directly to bed if she in fact had just taken a lethal amount?
Any help you can give is deeply appreciated.
Thank you.
Judi

5:48 am April 10th, 2013

Hi Judi. I am so sorry for the loss of your sister to meth. I know that you are looking for answers to understand more about her death. These very specific questions would be best addressed by a toxologist or even the coroner directly. Even if your sister’s boyfriend was present during her death, there may have been nothing he could have done to help her, especially if he was also intoxicated by meth. I hope that you can find some resolution and the peace that you are looking for around her passing. Keep in mind that after using meth over time, loss of life is always a possibility.

franchesca
4:58 am July 25th, 2013

can you od if you slam a vry large amount of meth?

Monica
12:04 am August 5th, 2013

I had just started using meth 3 months ago and on some occasions my friend and I would go 3 days without sleep. We did this once or sometimes twice a week until the very last time, I had a frightening and severe attack.
I had been up smoking meth with only 4 hours of sleep in the last 3 days and also had consumed alcohol that evening. Normally when I smoke meth, it makes me sober and more aware of my surroundings, but this time I had a completely different feeling.
I started to feel dizzy and nauseous, I vomited and felt a lot better. It was 11pm and time for my friend to leave. As she was leaving I felt a strong feeling of paranoia come over me. I felt very light headed and short of breath but was afraid to tell her although I normally share everything with her. After she left, I felt as if I was going to faint or black out. My body felt weak and I was shaking uncontrollably. My breathing started to get faster as my heart was racing and I felt nauseous again. I started to feel as though I couldn’t breathe, then I knew I had to call my friend to come back. She sped back to my place which was 10 minutes away and found me shaking and breathing very hard. I needed to vomit again and I felt a lot better after that. During the next two hours, the feeling came back every 10-15 minutes but not as severe as the first attack. I’d make sure my friend could pull my arms and stretch them out, or do strong cupping movements on my body which I don’t know why but somehow relieved my condition a little.
When the tragic 2 hours was up I could finally rest, although I couldn’t sleep, I was able to just sit back n relax. It was very traumatizing for me and at that moment I thought that this was it, death, this is what it feels like to die struggling. After that I have vowed to never take meth again, even if it were a small amount for recreational use, I still refused to use it.
It is not worth losing your life over a drug like this!
There are some questions I would like to ask you to help me understand what I went through.
Does this sound like I had an overdose or was it due to anxiety/sleep deprivation? I was told from my friend that I was having anxiety attacks because I worried too much and had been paranoid and lack of sleep.
Why did the massage and cupping movements on my back and chest seem to help me in my situation?
Does it become more dangerous to use meth while drinking alcohol?
Am I more likely to overdose when I have been using this drug to stay awake on a longer period of time rather than the first day of using after a good sleep or whatnot?
I hope to hear from you soon!

7:42 am August 13th, 2013

Hi Monica. Thanks for sharing about your experience with meth. Are you considering using it again and trying to hedge your risks?

katherine
8:07 am September 12th, 2013

My brother is in ICU for overdose of 10 grams of meth. Had seizures,non redponsive,fluid in lungs. His hands and feet look like big swollen punching bag gloves. Will he make it through this or is this the end?????

10:56 am September 13th, 2013

Hello Katherine. I am so sorry to hear about your brother! What do the doctors say? I’d suggest that you speak with them directly about the prognosis for your brother.

Michelle
3:07 pm October 8th, 2013

I am coming to grips with the death of my husband. He was a tall man 6′ 2 large in body weight. He had High Blood pressure, took Ritalin and many other over the counter medications for reflux, Herpes ( which I gave him from my previous husband) erectile dysfunction injections….The coroner says that he had nothing wrong with his heart. The report says some congestion and oedema of the lungs, no actual amount or number. The reports also says toxicology blood methylamphetamine level of 1mg/litre with amphetamine level of 0.05mg litre. They are putting this down as cause of death..Drug overdose, accidental. I don’t believe this for one moment. There is no way. can you pleas advise if someone can overdose on such a level?… thank you

11:03 am October 23rd, 2013

Hi Michelle. You’ll need a professional opinion from a toxicologist or another coroner. I know that you’re looking for answers, so I’d suggest that you seek the best possible specialist and keep asking questions until you are satisfied. My heart goes out to you.

basem
9:58 am December 9th, 2013

How do I know I’m having an overdose? I feel tired which is weird and my heart rate is pounding…I feel as though my veins in my hands are going to pop out and be exposed..I’ve smoked meth everyday for the last 3 months but I do sleep 3-4 hours a night

9:33 am December 12th, 2013

Hi basem. It’s possible that you’re experiencing hallucinations caused by long term use of meth. I would suggest that you check in with a detox clinic (by phone or by visiting) to learn more about getting off meth and avoiding long term brain damage that is caused by chronic meth use.

trish
11:06 pm December 18th, 2013

Hi,I believe I had a close call a few days ago I drank “warb” water , water that has been in a water bong used to smoke meth for extended periods of time..leading to a highly concentrated aamount of meth. II drank no more than 2 oz and about 39 minutes after I could not walk..my eyes were shaking as was my entire body..I could not walk and started vomiting stomach acids for a about 10 hours with headache that was 3 days ago and I’m just behin Ong to feel better should j go to dr

Joel
8:29 am December 25th, 2013

My boyfriend at age 27 used meth about 2-3 times a week on binges for a year. He iv’d it and usually did 1.5mg/night. Can you explain what this means for his health and ability to recover any damage ( he says he feels fine )? Also, how does his prognosis for survival look and over what period of time on average?

11:48 am December 26th, 2013

Hello Joel. Is he still using? Meth can cause long term effects to the brain and body; but the shorter the period of use, the less impact it has on the system.

Timmy Nguyen
1:44 pm January 2nd, 2014

i have been in and out of the hospital for about 4 month. the first time i went i was diagnosed with viral gastroenteritis. but i would still vomit after it was supposed to go away in 3 days to a week max. this was before i started to smoke meth again. second time i went (due to all the vomiting/nausea still) they said i had irritable bowel syndrome but wasn’t sure since they said there are no real tests to find out for sure. at this time was when i started to use meth again, but when i barely started again i wouldn’t have stomach pains. i then went to the hospital another time and they said my appendix was bigger then normal size, so i got it removed. recently ill have a lot of dry heaves and stomach pain. today the stomach pain was SOOOOO BAD…. i would sleep for about 30 minutes to an hour, wake up and smoke again. then my stomach pains would come back. but when i was 14-17 i would never get these stomach pains from doing meth. so im wondering do i need to go to the hospital once again or what am i supposed to do? please reply to me asap. thank you!!

8:34 pm January 2nd, 2014

Hello Timmy. I’d suggest that you definitely seek medical help. A family doctor is a good place to start, as you can get a full medical assessment and then referral to specialists, if needed. Call the ER if you need to, for sure.

Dani
7:39 pm February 16th, 2014

Im danii im 16 and I’ve been sober for two months before last night and the night before that I an expirencing muscle spasms in having very light but hallucinations difficulty breathing and cant sleep but im too scared to tell anyone because everyone here thinks I’m still sober.

12:42 pm February 17th, 2014

Hello Dani. Relapse is common when you’re coming off meth because the cravings are so extreme. Tell on yourself! This is the only way that you can get medical attention and the psychological help that you need to get past the cravings. My best goes out to you!

candice
4:19 pm March 1st, 2014

Hi. Ive been slamming crystal meth the last two weeks. Last night i did a good amount but then passed right out. Im starting to get a tolerance. When I woke up this mornin my pupils were still dilated but I wasnt where I wanted to be so I fixed up another shot. I got no rush at all but almost immediatly my chest started hurting. Almost like I swallowed sumthin n it got stuck.also my whole chest turned brught red. I grabbed an ice pack and put it over my heart and cooled my body with a cold rag. I tried to stand but chest wld hurt little more and my ears started to ring. I started guzzling water and peeing as much as possible trying to flush my systwm. I feel a lil better. My chest isnt hurting so bad but my body is si cokd. Its been two hours since shot. Am I ib the clear

sally
10:04 pm March 3rd, 2014

Hi. I smoke meth once in a while. Like every 2 to 3 months. I also suffer from anxiety and have high blood pressure. This week I started on Thursday night and was up for 2 days with 1 hour of sleep I usually smoke and take 3 hits and won’t hit it until 6+ hours later. So come Saturday I still continue using that night I get about 3 hours of sleep keep in mind I only take no more than 3 hits and wait 6+ maybe even up to 9 hours to hit if again. On sunday I continue I feel drained my body does feel tired the last time I took a hit was at 6:30 pm. After an hour or so I start feeling weird my body is twitching my heart starts beating fast than slows Down I got bad anxiety and felt like I was having an overdose my body felt cold. And I read all about oding and felt I had the symptoms. I take alprazolam (xanax for an an anxiety I usually wait more than 6 hours to take one after I smoked and wait another while before I do it again. So after I started having those symptoms I waited 3 hours and then took xanax which kind of calmed me down. I finally got some sleep about 8 hours My question is can you overdose even though I don’t smoke every little while like other people. Was it a sign of a heart attack or stroke. Today which is Monday I woke up and had bad chest pain that felt like heart burn. It was bad and I felt a little scared and had anxiety which made me think I was having a heart attack. How long does it take for you to overdose after use? Can you overdose hours later or even have a heart attack hours later after last use?

David
7:01 pm March 10th, 2014

Hi I m 31 years old male I smoked crystal methamphetamine for the first time in my life and I smoked it continue 16 hrs. Jus taking 4,5 times per hour and before taking this I was drunked by beer, after 18 hrs. Taking this drug I got overdose side effects my stomach is totally empty , my heart is bit abnormally and I think I will die but I control my hearth through breath n goes to silent place even I walk little my heart will repeat it again ,Really I can’t think about to call ES after few minutes I eat noodles forcefully I recover 50% but still I not go to hospital ,until 20 hrs I m same during that period I eat milk fruits water foods n I recovered almost 90% but still I m afraid that still I need to go hospital becouse my heart bit is normal now jus only have little sweating during sleep that’s all.

12:52 pm March 11th, 2014

Hello David. I would suggest that you call a Poison Control Center or Emergency Room near you to consult on what to do. If you are the U.S., the Poison Control Hotline is 1-800-222-1222.

Shiree
1:08 am March 17th, 2014

My son was missing for 16 days in Bunbury WA last June and was found 16 days later on 12 July 2013. (Suicide :’( ). His measurements of Meth 0.04mg/1 and amphetamines 0.02mg/1 also alcohol 0.078% and bile alcohol of 0.112% were found in his body. I have no idea of levels that would have been taken. Could you please tell me if this is a high intake or low reading after such a length of time before he was found. Does it remain the same when a person passes or would those levels change? Any answers right now would be of great help as I as his mother believe he did not take his life. We smell a dirty rat and am not sure if he was drugged or in wrong place at wrong time. I look forward to your reply.

Shiree

10:11 am March 17th, 2014

Hello Shiree. I am so very sorry for your loss. I’d suggest that you consult with a coroner, toxicologist, or Medical Review Officer at a diagnostic drug testing lab to get the answers to the questions you have. I wish you much love and healing to you and your family.

Shiree
9:15 am March 18th, 2014

Thank you for your quick reply. I have consulted both coroner and toxicologist and medical person, but didn’t really get the any of those answers. I just researching as much as I can so as to get some sort of sense out of this whole situation. It was certainly not in Josh’s nature at all. But think maybe he got wrapped up with the wrong people and just need to know if those levels are small amounts or large. I just trying to find some sort of closure but not sure if i really ever will :’(.

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