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Meth Overdose

Methamphetamine, often called “meth,” is a dangerous drug. It affects many parts of the body and its functions.

What Is a Meth Overdose?

A meth overdose happens when someone takes enough meth to cause distressing symptoms. Severe meth overdoses can damage the body and even lead to death.

What Causes Someone to Overdose on Meth?

A meth overdose occurs when taking too much meth. Most of the time this is accidental. People either don’t realize or forget how much they’ve taken. They might also take a large amount at once to hide it from law enforcement.

Meth is an illegal drug, so there are no production standards. Amateur chemists make the drug in uncontrolled environments. As a result, each dose someone takes can have a different concentration of the drug. This makes it easy to take too much.

How Much Meth Does It Take to Overdose?

It’s very difficult to know how much meth you can take before having a meth overdose. This is because different doses can have different amounts of the drug. Taking three or four hits from a meth pipe one day could be fine, but a single hit another day may cause an overdose.

As a general rule, a lethal dose is 200 mg of pure meth. Mild meth overdose symptoms and bodily damage can happen at much lower doses. A normal dose ranges between 5-60 mg, so you can see that it doesn’t take much variation to reach a dangerous level. Several factors can determine if a person will experience an overdose. They are:


Smaller people can have a meth overdose with a smaller amount of meth than a larger person. This is because it takes more time for the body to absorb the drug. Thus, it will be less concentrated in their lungs, blood, brain, etc.


Women may experience meth overdose at a lower dosage than men. This is due to size. Women on average are smaller than men, so the same dose will affect them more.

Other Drugs

Meth is a stimulant. It usually causes meth overdose by over-activating important bodily functions. If you take another similar drug at the same time, the effects will add together. As a result, it will take less meth to reach the point of overdose.


Tolerance can affect how much meth a person can take before suffering a meth overdose. Although 200 mg is usually considered a deadly dose, people who use meth for long periods of time build a tolerance. Their bodies get used to having meth in their systems and can function normally even on high doses. This means it takes more and more to get high. They can take large doses without suffering from meth overdose.

Still, even for people with high tolerances, there is a point where the body can no longer adapt. Emergency rooms have admitted users who have had thousands of milligrams of meth in their systems.  Far exceeding the normal lethal dose. While people can have a high tolerances, they will eventually reach their limit and suffer a meth overdose.

Meth Overdose Statistics

Meth overdose is a nationwide epidemic. In 2018, overdoses from stimulants like meth killed 12,676 up from only 547 in 1999, an increase of over 2,000%. To get the full picture, consider these other shocking meth overdose statistics:

  • In 2017, roughly 15% of all drug overdose deaths involved meth.
  • As of 2018, 7.3 Americans aged 25-54 per 100,000 die of a meth overdose.
  • Native Americans are the racial category most heavily affected, with 20.9 deaths per 100,000.

What Happens to Your Body When You Overdose on Meth?

Meth is a stimulant that excites the nervous system and makes the body function faster. As a result, even a small amount of the drug can cause the following mild meth overdose symptoms:

  • Increased and abnormal heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • High body temperature
  • Agitation
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Tremors and repeated movements, known as “tweaking”

As these symptoms increase in severity with higher doses of meth, they can get very dangerous. For example, high blood pressure puts you at risk for stroke and bleeding in the brain. Indeed, severe meth overdoses can involve:

  • Psychosis and hallucinations
  • Circulatory collapse
  • Kidney failure
  • Dangerously high body temperature, known as hyperpyrexia

At the most threatening levels, meth overdose can cause brain damage, coma, and death. Meth causes the brain to release high amounts of serotonin and dopamine. This causes the high associated with meth. But if too much is released, they can cause permanent brain damage. Disruptions to brain chemistry can cause convulsions and seizures that can kill you.

What Should You Do If You Think Someone May Have Overdosed on Meth?

If you believe you or a loved one may be experiencing the symptoms of a meth overdose, seek help right away. The most important thing to do is to get emergency medical attention. The longer someone suffers from meth overdose, the greater the chance of permanent damage or death.

If they are on the floor, you should turn the person’s head to the side to prevent them from choking in case they vomit. If the person is having a seizure, hold the back of their head so they don’t hit it on anything and injure themselves. Do not try to keep them from convulsing by holding down their arms or legs, and do not put anything in their mouth.

Provide useful information about the user to first responders. This includes their age and weight as well as how much meth they took and when.

Is There Meth Overdose Treatment?

Hospitals can usually treat meth overdose if caught in time. Often, treatment focuses on symptoms. Doctors sometimes try to flush meth out of the digestive system using charcoal or laxatives. The patient might receive sedative drugs like benzodiazepine that counteract the effects of meth. Benzodiazepines can lower blood pressure and body temperature.

How Can You Prevent Meth Overdose?

Meth overdose can cause permanent damage to your body and can even kill you. Because meth is an illegal drug and is difficult to take in controlled amounts, the best prevention is not taking it at all. Unfortunately, meth is an addictive drug and many people continue to take it despite these negative consequences.

For those suffering from meth addiction, time is of the essence. Treating their addiction and breaking meth’s grasp of their lives can be a matter of life and death. The best way to do this is at a professional rehab facility like Bedrock Recovery Center.

Our treatment professionals work with you to design a personalized treatment plan. This plan is suitable to your unique situation and gives you the best chance of recovery. You can get back to the healthy lifestyle you deserve. Call Bedrock Recovery today to get started.

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