COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.

Get the latest information from CDC ( | NIH Resources | NIDA Resources

Drugs & Health Blog

Meth Dead Don't Get Eaten

These photos from Daniel's science fair poster show the type of marks left by animal scavengers on bones. In his study, Daniel learned that the coroner found fewer scavenging marks on bodies that contained traces of methamphetamine.

Sara Bellum

That's what 17 year old Daniel Jeffrey Martin from Desert Vista High School heard from his mom one day while driving near a piece of the desert near his home town of Phoenix, Arizona. "Huh?" he asked.

His mom, a forensic scientist (think: CSI), explained to him that when dead bodies are found in the desert by animals like coyotes, bobcats, and wolves, these scavengers will usually eat them—except for the bodies of methamphetamine users (proven by an autopsy).

Winner Daniel Jeffrey Martin with NIDA science fair judges at the 2009 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Daniel thought this would be a perfect science fair project so he studied the records from the local county coroner's office. And sure enough—he learned that even scavenging animals don't want to go near the nasty chemicals left in the body by meth.

These photos from Daniel's science fair poster show the type of marks left by animal scavengers on bones. In his study, Daniel learned that the coroner found fewer scavenging marks on bodies that contained traces of methamphetamines.

The science project was so well done that Daniel won a Second Place Addiction Science Award from NIDA at the 2009 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. You can read more about his project at NIDA's Web site.

Other Drugs
Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


Amazing finding!

The legged animals are smart. So smart they will choose to do something despite knowing its harm.
y does meth make you look plastic. also it makes you holosinate yes no

@ricky westover, we're not sure that meth makes you look "plastic," but it definitely changes your appearance for the worse.  Frequent meth users lose their teeth and they pick their skin until that have horrible scabs all over their faces.  And yes, meth makes you hallucinate.  Meth users pick at their skin because they believe they feel imaginary bugs on or under their skin.  Learn more on our post, Meth Mouth and Crank Bugs: Meth-a-morphosis.

As a former user, I want to state that the skin picking is impulsive, not due to bugs. The bugs are typically after staying up for 5 days, paranoia from sleep deprivation and lack of hygiene. Their dilereum makes them mistake the sweat and grime on their skin as something on or under their skin. They usually know why it's caused but it increases anxiety leading to more picking.
meth also causes hair and teeth to fall out

I have a brother addicted to meth. I am doing a essay for college on drugs, and I think this will be the main topic .It is very interesting to know that even animals know when they are being poisoned.Pretty smart animals aren't they? To bad the two legged ones are not so smart.

I know some people who are addicted to meth but I know how you feel, but remember it will get better

I also have a brother addicted to meth.But he was tryingi to reach out for help no he was crying out for help,meth had sent him over and over to the justice system due to robbery to support habit.He finally breaks down and ask his parole officer for help no bed available for visit with parole officer he revokes him and sends him back to jail without treatment ever available for him to seek.confused

i didnt know meth could do so much damage

?????????? WHY DO PEOPLE DO METH??????????

because they are stupid and want to ruien there life. my bio mother did meth when she was pregnent with me and i was born with meth in my system. and she still does meth today, she looks horrible.
No it is not. I have a daughter that Was addicted, I asked her the same question. She said and i quote; you just don't care what happens to you, no one can save you until your ready. Her mother and I tried every thing, countless screaming matches, fist fights and by the way she fights like a man, locking her up in the house, nothing and i mean nothing could drag her away from this addiction, and no shes not stupid. She is a nurse and also a case manager for people with disabilities. So unless you have read the whole book or walked in someone who is addicted shoes keep your comments to yourself..
Well said. It's so easy for people to just say addicts are dumb and go on with their lives. I was on heroin for many years (in relation to my age) and I had lost so many friends because they just assumed that I was just dumb for doing it. No one thinks there was and is a legitimate disease behind my compulsion. Sad to say I have received apologies from most of those friends but not because I am clean and sober... Because they or someone they love are now on the same path that I was. I'd rather have lost the friends than have them go through it. This stuff is everywhere now. When I first started I had to go to the city everyday... evidently there's now delivery service and if not it's just about everywhere, no matter what neighborhood. It's tough from both sides. Thank you for recognizing it and voicing your story. It may fall on blind eyes but it means something to at least 1 person (me) and I'm sure many others.
A real friend would be trying to talk you out of doing drugs. A fair weather friend would try to talk you in to doing drugs. So don't be fooled. Remimber if there not for you then there against you so get out now before they pull you down. As they waich you fall .
Cos it feels awesome n they become addicted
Because it feels good. You forget about your worries. The culture works quite differently. The devotion of a close-knit group of meth friends rivals that of soldiers. Because we felt lied to about most drugs, and so we figured we were being lied to about other drugs. Because we figured we would find where the line was, and not go past it. And you know what? We were lied to about meth. It wasn't nearly as universally destructive as things like this would indicate. Something like a 20 percent addiction rate. The vast majority of people I knew who were into it got out without prison or rehab - and those who did go to those things just got worse. But it still messed up our lives. If you want to make a difference, remain open-minded, figure out the truth from the bull, quit demoralizing and stigmatizing those who want out, and realize that things like this article will not be effective at reducing the incidence of meth use. Other things are far more effective.
that was an awesome post Link....I hope you have the power to leave meth behind forever...


I am a mother of 2. This article is one of a billion I am finding important about meth. My teen is 13, strongly involved in D.A.R.E. I am concerned by the bias of kids that seem strong in not doing drugs, against those that have slipped....I am seeing what is called "dark humor" jokes at the expense of those that could be drug free. How can these support programs approach this problem to deter this? The jokes are sickening - I am worried for children not mine.... seeking help & shunned... like past issues of history? Black jokes, Polish, Jewish, SO inappropriate... what about these kids on meth & other things seeing this bias?


i can see why people get into it makes monye

im a recovering meth user and im in rehab but i wanted to know who long it takes your body to fully recover?

@nokia: If people can stay off methamphetamine for an extended period, they can get some recovery from the brain changes that the drug causes. But even through brain imaging studies have shown partial recovery of brain function in some regions following extended abstinence, function in other regions did not show recovery even after 2 years of abstinence. This suggests that long-lasting and even permanent brain changes may result from methamphetamine abuse.
Read more about it here.

Im a common meth user i suck [del. vulgar lang] for meth everyday. DON'T TRY IT!! My addictions got that bad

thats just messed up you

one of my friends dose meth, but i haven't seen her in two years, i hope she gets better soon.i just hope she gets better.

Matt, im sorry ur going through this. my dad was a meth head. he was shot trying to rob a covenece store. i havent seen him since i was 8

95% of all young people try drugs and alcohol by age 25...driven by curiousity, perhaps boredom and peer pressure. MOST teens can put those drugs down when they experience consequences of use. Those of us who inherited a tendency to become addicts... just can't do it. It isn't a moral issue, it is (at least in part) a physiological issue. American Medical Association has listed addiction as a disease since 1957, yet the only "treatment" for the disease is "talk therapy", which may work for (tops) about 30% of those addicted. Recovery rates from heroin and meth? Less than 10%. This same country of ours has eleventeen different drugs available to treat erectile dysfunction. Sort of highlights where our priorities lie, I'm afraid. If we had a gene therapy treatment, or an innoculation or even a chemotherapy treatment for addiction, I believe our prisons would be empty in less than a decade; more families would stay together; and more children would be saved. But those of us who 'vote' for more jails and less rehab might want to try to see beyond the terrible behaviors of those who use meth, heroin and other drugs, and consider that these horrid acts are being conducted by our children... who are often addicted far before they leave high school. As a mom of an addict, I know how heartbreaking addiction can be.

I just heard this on CSI so of course I had to google it. All I can say is WOW. I remember a report on one of those shows like 48 hours where a couple had purchased a house in which it was a meth lab. They did not know that meth users had lived there because I think it was like a hud house or something. Well they begin to get sick and had to move out and foreclose on the house. They found out later that a the house was once a meth lab. I guess that is another thing to have done before you buy a home. To test for meth use and mold.

Congrats on the awesome work on the destructive use of meth use.

Congratulations onvthe destructive use of the English language.

this gave alot of information thank you this is a very good website to go to when i need to give a friend help i will tell them to go to this site

I agree my friend looked terrible and he came in with scars and he looked like he died inside.

im doin a science fair project on meth so any advices can help!! thanks! btw sorry about your problems people!!

meth makes the heartbeat go faster than normal, it is highly addictive, one of the most common meth delusions is the feeling of bugs crawling under the skin,
People criticizing method users for being dumb, need to learn how to spell and type. These comments are atrocious, degrading to all sober minds. People do drugs due to free will, nothing more.
Ian, you are absolutely right. Drug abuse is a serious thing, and having a laugh at someone who got caught up in it is dangerously uncivilized. All we really need to know is its not a question of smart or stupid, addiction can happen be it to caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, methamphetamine or opiates. More often than not, it is a case of self-medication to cope with life. Animals don't touch it, because it's never been part of their diet and no part of their evolution has allowed for the ability to choose to use it of not. So basically, don't judge something you have no actual experience, and please, do NOT claim to have experience, be related to or know someone was involved. Pity should be reserved for those truly suffering, and not mere attention seekers.

Add new comment

Current state: Approved
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.