How to Spot a User

There are certain physical and social signs of Meth use and recognizing them is a first step to helping a friend. Not every user will have the same symptoms, but if you notice many of the things listed here, your friend may need help. Click here to find treatment resources near you
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Engages in repetitive, meaningless tasks like disassembling electronics or other household items for no apparent reason
Burn marks on fingers or mouth
Obsessively picking at hair or skin
Changes in physical appearance including deteriorating hair, poor skin, or decaying teeth
Borrowing money often, selling possessions, or stealing
Strange sleeping patterns—staying up for days or even weeks, then sleeping for days
Psychotic behavior characterized by paranoia and hallucinations—they may obsess over the idea of being watched
Angry outbursts, mood swings, or overall change in attitude
Incessant talking
Excessive sweating that’s not from heat or physical activity
Talking about being in danger, even though there is no reason to feel threatened
Decreased appetite and unhealthy weight loss
Jerky, erratic movements, twitching, facial tics, animated, or exaggerated mannerisms
Possession of drug paraphernalia like glass pipes or burnt spoons, cutoff straws, or needles
Dilated pupils, even when outside or in a bright room
Letting themselves go physically, and not showering or caring how they look
Unusual or foul body odor—some may smell like ammonia
The Addict Beside Me

Signs of Use

Use the sliding bar on each image to see how Meth can quickly change a user's appearance, sometimes within months.

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1.5 Years
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7 Months
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11 Months
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5 Months
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4.5 Years
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9 Months
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2.5 Years
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6 Months
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1 Year
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3 Months
© Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Faces of Meth™

Fake or For Real?

One of these terms is not used to describe the effects of methamphetamine use.
Select the term you think is fake

  • Meth Mouth: Meth users’ teeth can deteriorate and even fall out, a condition known as Meth Mouth
  • Speed Bumps: Another term for the sores and scars on a Meth user’s body
  • Crank Cough: Smoking Meth may make a user cough but this is not a common phrase
  • Crank Bugs: Meth can cause users to hallucinate—believing they feel bugs crawling under their skin
  • Meth Mites: Another term for crank bugs, the tactile hallucination of bugs crawling under the skin


  • Excessive sweating. Methamphetamine can increase the body’s temperature and heart rate, making a user sweat profusely, even with little activity. Body by Meth

  • A glass pipe used for smoking methamphetamine. They are usually pretty small and have a bulb shape at one end. Meth users will sometimes make these out of broken, hollowed-out light bulbs.

    Meth Pipe
  • Involuntary shaking, twitching, or facial tics. Because of its effects on the dopamine system, methamphetamine can cause strange, uncontrollable movements, similar to the effects of Parkinson’s Disease. Tremors and twitching make it difficult for Meth users to do simple things like holding a fork or writing. "It Messed Me Up"

  • Doing the same thing over and over again for hours. Common tweaking behaviors exhibited by Meth users include repetitively picking at one’s face or arms, obsessive cleaning, or taking things apart for no apparent reason. "Looks Horrible"