Caption: Methamphetamine (Ice) crystals. Methamphetamine is a synthetic stimulant drug that induces a strong feeling of euphoria and is highly addictive. Pure methamphetamine is a colorless crystalline solid, sold on the streets as glass, ice, or crystal. It is also sold as less pure crystalline powder termed crank, speed, ice or crytstal meth. Methamphetamine is one of the only street drugs that relies completely on psychological addiction to gain addicts. Unlike heroin or alcohol, methamphetamine is not physically addictive, meaning that when a true addict quits using methamphetamine, the withdrawal symptoms are psychosomatic. Methamphetamine is a potent central nervous system stimulant that affects the brain by acting on the mechanisms responsible for regulating a class of neurotransmitters known as the biogenic amines or monoamine neurotransmitters. These broad class of neurotransmitters are generally responsible for regulating heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, appetite, attention and responses associated with alertness or alarm conditions. Although the exact mechanism of action is unknown, it is generally believed that methamphetamine blocks or impedes the re-uptake of one or more of these neurotransmitters, causing them to remain within the synaptic cleft longer than otherwise. As in most neurotransmitter chemistry, its effects are adapted by the affected neurons by a decrease in the production of the neurotransmitters being blocked from re-uptake, leading to the tolerance and withdrawal effects. The effects of the drug closely resemble the physiological and psychological effects of the fight-or-flight response including increased heart rate and blood pressure, vasoconstriction, pupil dilation, bronchial dilation and increased blood sugar. Many of these effects are broadly interpreted as euphoria or a sense of well being, intelligence and power. Methamphetamine is reported to attack the immune system, so methamphetamine users are often prone to infections of all different kinds, one being an MRSA infection. In medicine methamphetamine is used as an appetite suppressant in treating obesity, treating anesthetic overdose and narcolepsy.
Magnification*: x25
Type: LM
Copyright 1985 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
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