Look Past the Stereotypes

Stereotypes about meth use prevent us from seeing who is really at risk. Scroll to learn why it’s time to see meth for what it really is.

Look Past the Stereotypes

Stereotypes about meth use prevent us from seeing who is really at risk. Scroll to learn why it’s time to see meth for what it really is.

Meth Isn’t on the Fringes Anymore

Meth has become common in LA County, and that increases its danger.
Tap each image to learn more. Click each image to learn more.

Meth Affects
All LA Residents

Meth is used by all age
groups and demographics.

Meth Is One of the
Deadliest Drugs in LA

Compared to other drugs, meth and opioids lead to the most drug-related deaths in LA County.

Meth Affects
All Neighborhoods

Meth is used by people of all income brackets, in all neighborhoods.

Meth Damage Doesn't Start
On the Face

First signs of meth use don’t appear as skin or teeth problems.
Look past the stereotypes to see who’s at risk.

Meth Damage
Starts in the Brain

From the first use, meth harms the brain and can create feelings of paranoia, aggression, and hallucinations.

Early Damage
Is Not Visible

Even from the first use meth can cause damage to the brain that can permanently affect memory and decision-making skills.

You Can’t See It,
But It’s There

Early on, meth starts damaging your reflexes and hand-eye coordination, which can make tasks like driving or food prep more dangerous.

How Can I Spot Meth Use?

You may not always be able to spot someone who uses meth. Someone using meth may experience a temporary sense of heightened euphoria, alertness, and energy.

But using meth changes how the brain works and speeds up the body's systems to dangerous, and sometimes deadly levels—increasing heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate, and risks of heart attacks and strokes.

People who use meth habitually also experience anxiety, confusion, insomnia, paranoia, aggression, visual and auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances, and delusions.

How Can You Talk To A Loved One About Meth?

People who have substance use disorders (commonly referred to as addiction) often feel guilt or shame about their disease. They may try to minimize or hide their condition, and that can make it harder to reach out to them and offer help. Scroll to learn ways you can talk to a loved one about meth.

Introduce the idea of getting help when clear consequences of meth use may cause a person to reconsider, like:

  • Health issues
  • Job loss or disciplinary action
  • Financial impacts
  • Relationship impacts
  • Watching a friend or companion overdose
  • Have the conversation when the person is not actively high.
  • Let the person know that you care for them and support them.
  • Avoid language that blames, shames, or criticizes them for their condition.
  • Avoid manipulation tactics because they may be less effective.
  • Link them resources, like Los Angeles County’s Substance Abuse Service Helpline 1-844-804-SASH (7500).

Remember: Denial is one of the defining characteristics of substance use disorder (SUD). The person may not agree with you, but reaching out shows that you care and you will support them when they are ready.

Absolutely not. Substance use disorders (SUDs), including meth, are a health condition, just like obesity, diabetes, or cancer. The person may enter treatment and stop the behaviors associated with using only to begin using again after treatment. This is called “relapse” and is a very common aspect of the recovery process.

However, relapses are understandably very difficult on loved ones, and can be frustrating for everyone involved, including the person with SUD. Family and friends may experience feelings of guilt, anger, pain, and hopelessness when witnessing their loved ones’ meth use. Some people find it helpful to participate in support groups with other impacted family members or friends.

The Families Coping with Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders
Get videos and other resources that can help you talk to loved ones who have a substance use disorder.

A global organization that offers meetings for families and friends of people with substance use disorders. Visit the site or call 888‐4AL‐ANON (888‐425‐2666).

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
The nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Offers support groups for family and friends affected by SUD.

Substance Abuse Service Helpline (SASH) 1-844-804-7500
Call to get referrals for treatment. A team of professionals is available 24/7/365.

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