Office of National Drug Control Policy

Methamphetamines and New Psychoactive Substances

Methamphetamine (Meth)  

The illicit production and use of methamphetamine is a serious threat to the health and safety of our communities.  Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant, with a high potential for abuse. Most of the methamphetamine abused in this country comes from foreign superlabs, although it can also be made in small, foreign or domestic laboratories, where its production endangers the people in the labs, neighbors, and the environment. Illicit production of methamphetamine can be dangerous. Working with or living near dangerous, volatile chemicals can be harmful to producers, children living in or near methamphetamine laboratories, people cleaning up disrupted laboratories, and the environment.

Methamphetamine can be smoked, snorted, injected, or orally ingested, though smoking has become more common recently.  Smoking leads to very fast intake into the brain, which multiplies a user's potential for developing a substance use disorder and has other health implications. 

Additional Resources


New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)

New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) are potentially addictive synthetic drugs designed to produce the same psychoactive effects as controlled substances. NPS can cause serious and immediate harm to users. Two major categories of NPS are synthetic cannabinoids, such as Spice and K2, and synthetic cathinones, or “bath salts.” Hallucinations, elevated heart rate, agitation, and death are among the effects that NPS can have on users.

Manufactured in labs overseas, NPS are marketed over the Internet and some are sold in convenience stores around the country. NPS products are a dangerous mix of chemicals, the composition and potency of which can vary widely from product to product. Products are introduced and reintroduced into the market in quick succession to evade or slow law enforcement efforts to address their manufacture and sale. For example, small changes in the chemical composition of a substance allows NPS manufactures to stay ahead of Federal regulators and domestic and international scheduling efforts.

To learn more about NPS, please see the following resources:

Effects and Use Trends