Drugs & Health Blog

Meth Mouth and Crank Bugs: Meth-a-morphosis

Sara Bellum

The SBB has already told you about some of the nasty effects that methamphetamine can have on the body—remember that post about how scavengers won’t even eat the dead bodies of meth users?

Not only can meth mess up your body’s chemical structure and even cause problems with your heart and lungs, it also changes your appearance and behavior. Soon, meth users might not even look or act like themselves.

Bad news for teeth and skin

Ever heard of “meth mouth?” It isn’t pretty. Meth reduces the amount of protective saliva around the teeth. People who use the drug also tend to drink a lot of sugary soda, neglect personal hygiene, grind their teeth, and clench their jaws. The teeth of meth users can eventually fall out-even when doing something as normal as eating a sandwich. As if that’s not bad enough, meth can also cause skin problems-and we’re not just talking about regular zits.

Take a look at these pictures from the Department of Justice—but beware, they are disturbing!

Meth users’ skin can start to look like this because they frequently hallucinate—or strongly imagine—that they’ve got insects creeping on top of or underneath their skin. The person will pick or scratch, trying to get rid of the imaginary “crank bugs.” Soon, the face and arms are covered with open sores that could get infected.

No peace of mind

In addition to the “crank bug” hallucinations, long-term meth use leads to problems such as irritability, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, sleeplessness, confusion, aggressive feelings, violent rages, and depression.

Users may become psychotic and experience paranoia, mood disturbances, and delusions. The paranoia may even make the person think about killing themselves or someone else.

For more information about how methamphetamine could harm your body and mind, read more in-depth information on NIDA DrugFacts.

Update: For the latest on meth mouth, read the blog post “Meth Mouth: Some Ugly Numbers.”

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.


HI.. umm.. does anyone have a hit? plz!!!
Just kidding.. howevere its the reality of the problem.. users of the drug do not care bout what they do or who they do it to.. They would steal for a hit.. kill for a hit.. even have sex or sell them selves for a hit.. Become drug mules for a hit as the apy off is good for them(so they think).
MY sister was one of those.. not that used Meth so to speak.. she used what is know as CAT here in SA..

All I can say is that DRUGS even weed.. is dagerous..

In conclusion here.. My sister I have not seen in over 6yrs.. and needless to say I never will see her again.. reason.. she died in another country.. Peru to be exact.. this is where she was caught. Drungs does not care who you are or what your social standing are (take whitney Use-less.. ok bad joke or Amy Winehouse.. ) fact is drugs have not feelings... and when your on it.. you dont either..

this is really bad for u

Doing Report This is gross

dont do drugs spread the word and if u do do meth change before its to late

they think its so cool but there is way to much side affects about it

ive watched almost all my friends change into addicts. now ive lost my friends, my car/license. about to lose my job and home. my family wont speak to me. pretty cool huh? the only thing meth offers is a ruined life and twisted body.

I knew a guy named Nicholas Schwinn (no pun, not a bicycle this is his real name) whom got addicted to meth amphetamine. This kid had everything going for him. He had a fully restored 69 Impala, his parents got him into offroad motorcycle dirtbike riding, he had enough friends. At the end of his life span, he stole a pickup truck and was stealing gas from a van down in town for it. Another guy comes up and unloads a whole clip of bullets into him and his friend took him to another friend's place instead of directly to the hospital, worried about their criminal actions. Nick Schwinn died at the hospital.

This drug will either kill you or someone else will. Very bad stuff. Nick was an enemy of mine (by his choice, he was a total idiot); I didn't want him to get killed. I wish he was still alive.

Thats bad bro

These is some craaaaaaaaazy stuff idk howntonwork this thing

Don't do drugs.!! It's nasty.!!

Don't do drugs stay in school

My mom does it & her boyfriend got her into it :/

people need to re-evaluate their lives and what they have to lose before even considdering something as outrageous as meth.
Woah, this is nastay. D:
I died using this drug. Don't follow my footsteps. Trust me, I'm a zombie now. ~( = _ = )~ *ZOMBIE FACE*
DONT DO METH . it sucks
drugs r bad, mmkayy
Hahaha reading some of these comments in the comment section (many of which sound like they are just regurgitating generic anecdotes from their school's D.A.R.E. program or some such nonsense), all I could think about was Mr. Mackey and his iconic quote ^_^
I've been using Meth for about 10years. JSGFJDUIHREJHBSHBFYBSJGB. I'm Fine though. (:
Why even try meth when you know it's going to ruin your life and i would never try it because it can just take that one time and then you can get addicted to it. Another reason why i wouldn't do it is because the way it makes your skin and teeth look after doing it for so long.
That was so disturbing and discussing i about up chucked. I think that people would know that they look like that because usually people look in the mirror at least once a day, you can tell they look like that. If they think that bugs are in their skin there stupid because they are only in the desert. I'm never doing any drugs in my life, that is stupid.
When r u peaple going to get it its the devil Hello im not perfect Iwas a alcholic and took norcodics for a long time and u know what Jesus took it away from me just ask him he will help u
If people only knew...if you haven't experienced it, give input not a bashing.offer support and love with patience and understanding even and especially when they can't. You can run from your demons and get away but sometimes he wins and that's when people need to help others instead of offering up their unknowing opine. Meth users are just as human as you and bleed like you do. From experience having an addictive personality is the worst thing to have and then try meth cuz yer instantly addicted. On top of it all, do what u need to love yourself even at your lowest and when you think you can stop and don't it's a very tragic and unnecessary way of saying you need to get help.and if you're a loner type person and fear lack of support, sometimes strangers can be very uplifting and positive. Go and stick with that, you're worth more than you think.
My personal experience with drugs and their side effects such as Meths effect to make you grind your teeth feel "crank bugs" crawling on you is that if you understand what the drug is making you do, feel, imagine, then you can check yourself and make yourself stop grinding and scratching. When I lived with a group of friends who all did meth, we would all make sure to check ourselves and each other. Force ourselves to eat even though we weren't hungry. Would drink water. Maintain good hygiene. We also told each other if the other person was "tweaking" too hard and to check themselves. Lol. Safe drug practices are good to have if you're going to participate.
I experience method bugs every time I do it which is once in a while but its weird I even see them fly off my skin and try to go back in they r in my eyes lips and especially my nails oh and it makes my hair feel like snakes like my hair moves around by its self its so weird I have came to teach myself that its not real and they will go away once the meth is full out of my system
Too funny. You ask why people continue using meth even tho they know it is bad. Because they are ADDICTED. the cravings can be so bad that you hook up, and afterwards, when you're all satisfied, you realize that you've scored and you're all messed up again. Don't believe me? Well then nothing will convince you how powerful it has on you. It's the sneakiest, addiction I consider of all drugs. You can be clean for years, then something, a smell or even seeing tin foil and bic lighters can send you spiraling into the pits of meth addiction. I've used it for more than 30 perhaps 40 years. I hate it. More than anything in life. I hate tweekers even tho I am one. Don't ever conscious meth addicts to be bad people. Most started out to be wonderful people...and ended up in mental wards..or dead. Most prefer death to being addicted and turn schizophrenic.
Hello- I was full time caregiver for my mom after my fathers death in Oct 2013- My mom died in my arms Sept 2014. I am fighting my sister in court over estate....she has been in Oregon for the past 20 years and did absolutely nothing to assist me with my moms care. I have started using meth again because....well I am a drug addict for one....I am having a real hard time. I watched my mom struggle to breathe ....i held her with all my love when she passed. I have seen a psychiatrist several time ....t I even when to a psychic .(waste of 80.00) I just need someone to vent to and tell the truth. My parents were only 65 yrs old.. I probably sound like a fool and my thoughts are all over the place. God Help Me.A

Hi Ace, sorry you're going through this. If you want to get treatment for addiction, you can visit findtreatment.samhsa.gov or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) to find a program near you.

So meth kills parrasites?
I just found out that my husband of 40 years has meth bugs. It has been devastating to me and my family.He has talked about these bugs coming through his skin and looking at him and them going back in his arm. He said he has had to cut them out to get them out. When I heard what he was doing to himself I cried. This man that would give you anything to help you I now can not help. He is also going through radiation treatments for cancer. Meth has destroyed his life and he doesn't even know it. It has also hurt his family more than he will ever know. I feel for the women that lost her son. I know I will lose my husband to this drug also. I feel so helpless. The only thing that gets me through all of this is God. I pray that you people that think this drug is so great are still alive and I pray that you have seen what it is doing to you because your family is suffering not you.
lol meth a morphosis
Just finding out my son is using meth...I have no proof other than the meth bugs...he's just been tripping for days. So sad. So worried.
I am doing a college study for methamphetamine addiction and came across this website. Much of my research has been summarized in this website. The comments however are just.... wow. I am sorry for this woman's loss. I have lost family members to this drug, but they are still alive if that makes sense. I have even tried it once myself. It was the best and worst experience of my life. The sheer come down was enough for me never to touch it again, even though the thoughts crossed my mind. This drug is addicting after the 1st try and should be steered clear of. I am interested in Casual_Observer's theory of the "crank bugs" maybe once I am a graduate student I may be able to study this myself. Please, math is not worth your life.
No one ever WANTS to throw their life away like that... It happens to the majority before they can even realize they have a problem. Only a small majority of users can "successfully" use long term and maintain "normal" lives. Me? I was one of those few... Until meth led me to heroin. Even after losing literally everything I've ever owned and even my own child, being arrested for the first time at 30, and spending ten weeks in jail...i came out and started using meth and heroin the same damn day... After ten weeks of clean time. My body didn't crave it. My mind thought it did, and I convinced myself I could control it this time. And slowly I'm watching myself spiral again, after finally starting on my feet again, seeing my son, own place, furnishings... Yet I can't stay away. And can't explain why.
I'm sitting here at my laptop, which I clean everyday, and the touch pad and key board has 9 of these 'bugs' all over it. My car is washed weekly, inside and out. The next day, you can see the same 'bug' that's on my laptop, is on my dashboard. My hair is gray and thinning, so you can see my scalp. There are 'black plaques' all over my scalp. Due to my hair color contrasting with these 'plaques', they appear to move. They don't itch, unless I focus on them.Throughout the day, I'll get a 'popping' sensation on my scalp. People will see something expelled from my scalp and I ignore it like nothing has happened. Some people are the recipient of whatever was expelled from my head. I can see it on their face and they suddenly start scratching. Fortunately, it ends there for them. They ask why haven't I done anything, because I have bugs. I've been to 47 Doctors for this. Been told, I'm crazy: I have nothing to worry about: 2 Doctors wouldn't enter the exam room and told me, from the hallway, to get out:I have dandruff: etc. They see it, they know it's there but don't want to acknowledge it. I meet people, they see my scalp and get away as fast as possible. No one will invite me into their homes. Forget relationships. I have removed myself from it and am not bothered by it, directly. I don't have any itch and the popping sensation is gone. The only way I know it's there is by seeing something being expelled and the debris falling down. It's like flying dandruff. The problem is dandruff doesn't fly. When I look in the mirror, I see the black plaques. They don't bother me but cause enormous problems for others. I've tried everything to get rid of them and nothing works. Have gotten relief but it seems to always adapt and stops being affected by whatever treatment I use. I know it's all me, please keep it to yourselves. I will say, when sober, it greatly decreases, but doesn't go away. So instead of 100's of these 'bugs' being expelled from my head, it gets to a much more manageable 10's a day. I would take a steak knife and remove my own heart, if it would stop me from using. Bad example: it would but I'd be dead. I feel sorry for those who come to a site for people with problems, which they don't have, and criticize people who are struggling. Shame on you.

Hi Steve, it sounds like you need help, maybe from a doctor who specializes in helping people stay sober. You can get information about drug abuse treatment programs at https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/. If you aren't sure what to do or just want to talk to someone, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.

Meth bugs are real, but they aren't bugs, it's actually another disease that doctors want people to think us a delusion,called morgellons. Everyone has this in their body, but most people have no side effects and don't notice. Others are very chemical sensetive,or have no immune system, thus resulting in itching, feeling of electricity tingling through body, crystals and odd threads coming outside skin (for some). Slot of people have no symptoms until their body has a chemical overload, which these days, is usually causes by Meth. After the overload, some will go back to normal when not on Meth. For others, the nightmare has just begun. I've had morgellons for over a year, and am constantly treated like a crazy tweaker, which I am not. But me and many others have found this connection is real. Many sufferers I know are RECOVERED Meth addicts, yet still suffer from the method bug sensation, that is morgellons.
I have the Same thing even tho I am sober now
meth is bad but don't just read the info on this site.... saerch for demodex mites they are real and its not a meth thing non meth or drug users get infested by demodex (they are a skin parasite) and search candida also real and non drug users experience this it brings about thrush if not treated with a probiotic. I'm not saying meth is good it is a bad drug in more ways than good but some addicts like the one or two enjoable things about it and don't think about the bad. I have used it and have experienced bad things in my life loss of jobs and sleep, loss of friends and lack of money etc but if one can actually use it with control as in limit use to say a weekend by limiting how much they get at one time and once that is gone take a break and don't do any for about 2 weeks or a month then the drug doesn't build up so much in your system that your thinking process doesn't work right. drugs of all sorts cause at some point some sort of halutinations or phychosis but if you know this and keep it in mind you will know the diffierence between real and non real. If I want to while on meth I could look outside at night and see people sitting in my back yard, sitting in trees, and standing across the road but i know those are halutinations or illusions of the mind due to lack of sleep and have gone outside at night to prove it to myself. often what casues these illusions in reallity is actulal objects outside that in the dark of night are hard to see clearly and so the mind adds things to our site like sliglht movemnents and facial features. I know like some say the way most people think about meth is you have to scare people so they don't want to try it but in all reality what makes drugs bad is the same for anything else that we become addicted to its addicts who are the ones using and likeing it not "normal" people who don't like to change the way they feel. Addiction is the use of something over and over so much that it causes serious prolems in their lives and the want to stop isn't greater than the want to use. alchoholics and over-eaters are just a couple of other addictions their are lots of addictions and they all casue some issues in ones lives that the user wishes didn't happen, its just that meth has been deemed as such a horrible drug because of the types of users and what they do while on meth, not every meth user is a bad person some you would never even know they use. I am Not saying that meth is good I know meth is bad and bad for people but I'm just saying do some research about things your not sure of mites and parsites do exhist and its not related to meth use but I believe meth weekens the immune system and lack of hygene also will contribute to getting these kinds of bug infestations and yes some bugs bite and sting (but please don't try and pick them out ever) I've recently read online about something called "smart dust" and nano technology and something called "chemtrails"
Stop using the Meth and the problem will fix itself......DUH
Wow! This was all very enlightening!
Wow! So enlightening!
Well people here is how it goes yes they see parasites and feel worms under the skin it is from not cleaning properly no dillusions they eat sugar and fast foods which stomach and skin parasites love.the doctors will not tell the truth they do not to stop the huge prrscription money wheel bath in epsom salts hot water twice a day bye bye skin problems and brush your teeth keep clean lots of bleach simple people
**SWIM means someone i met (dont know why theres a W but there is just roll with it, read the entirety of my post, and meditate on it*** ok people. First of all the meth bugs are a product of use and psychosis and second meth mouth only becomes real if you dont take care of yourself and practise good dental hygiene. Brush your teeth, drink water, and make sure to take short breaks and get sleep at least every other day if you're going to INSIST ON USING A DRUG YOU OBVIOUSLY CANNOT HANDLE...... SWIM's been using all manor and style of drugs since about 13 or so and meth since 15 and SWIM's in his mid 20's have a steady job and a good family life and his own nice(well it's decent at least lol) apartment. Swim used to use meth every so often because of swims overnight job. Swim has experienced meth mites only once from lack of sleep. Lack of sleep leads to paranoia and a delusional psychosis that often leads to meth mites and bugs in general.. So kiddies plz... If you're gonna use at the very least please use common sense and for the love of god do some research on drugs that you intend to use first and find out if the CONS outweigh the PROS
What can I do to Help my daughter? I am grateful you all are talking about meth so openly. What can I do to help my daughter with the bug problem? We took a trip to Jeanes hospital in Philly and they prescribe visderal . This is such a life or death problem with these street drugs, at least in my day it was the real deal so No one I ever saw bugged out, it's got to be the cut

We're sorry to hear about your struggles and appreciate you reaching out to us. As a federal scientific research agency, we are unable to provide medical advice, so please contact a doctor if you have concerns. You can get information about drug abuse treatment programs at https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/. If you aren't sure what to do or just want to talk to someone, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.

I never had meth mites while using but now that I am clean from meth when I get tired I feel like bugs are all over me and it keeps me awake. Lke right now at this very moment .very irritating.. And I usually won't bother to hitch or smack or anything but there are times when I actually have a bug or spidr on me but don't know it cause I think the feeling is methmites or imagi ary. I can't tell the difference between the damage from meth and the real bugs anymore unless o actually see the bug or spider. I hate it o camt sleep and I don't even do meth anymore..ugh
Someone slipped meth into my drinking water and I eperienced all the symptoms of meth mouth. I wss also infected with scabies and demodex mites through contact with mites on paper and cardboard. One from a pharmacist with Rosacea and the other given deliberately on a book. This was biological warfare. It has been a nightmare to get rid of them. I advise constant hand washing edpecially when buying from a pharmavy, second hand nookstore or publuc amenities including buses etc. Also, keeping clothes in plastic bags. First line of treatment is permethrin shampoo, body lotion and Ivermectin for scabies and Demodex shampoo with cream for demodex. All affects scalp, teeth and jaw. Stop smoking, exercise and dry hair in the sun. Vitamin supplements B group snd zinc. Lots of fruit and vegetables. Be aware of psychological effects.
It's interesting to note, as an outsider (British) looking at this meth epidemic problem from across the pond, that crystal meth (or its earlier crude forms) have never taken off here or been popular drugs of choice. Here it's all recreational chemical drugs, or cocaine and heroin still for hardcore drug addicts, crystal meth is virtually unseen in UK. This leads me to the observation.. the US has much much tougher sentences on drugs use than UK, and is a much less tolerant and stricter society when it comes to recreational drug use. For example, whilst the US regularly carries out drug screening tests in workplaces and schools etc, in the UK that is unheard of. If you get caught with drugs in UK first offense, small quantity, it's no big deal. You're given a caution by police, a slap on the wrist. So in summary, could the US "war on drugs" and the zero tolerance approach towards drugs and mandatory prison sentences etc, actually be reinforcing a cycle of drug abuse and pushing many people towards Meth....thus basically the reason this whole Meth epidemic has arisen in US? Crystal meth is not a difficult drug to make, at home, if you're able to get hold of the right chemicals (which used to be quite easy from what I understand until the US gov clamped down). It's logical then, that would be quickly adopted as the drug of choice for its low cost and easy accessibility...add to that the armed criminal gangs and the money to made in US and you have a serious problem. Maybe the US gov should re-think its social policy on drugs more towards a medical problem, than a criminal problem? Unless crystal meth manufacturing can be eradicated completely? Even so, then you have other drugs eventually to replace it or the price will go high from importing it, and hence more violent crime arises. There's also all kinds of "legal highs" and "analogues" and newer amphetamine class drugs now pouring into Europe and the US from China and elsewhere. I don't think it's going to be easy to stop people using drugs in some form who are determined to get hold of them, especially in this new era of digital currency and the darknet. Maybe we should be dealing with the source of these drugs (cough China, and Latin America)? Whilst, also treating the users as addicts and people with underlying health problems...mandatory treatment rather than prison, and more investment in drug abuse healthcare. Certainly prevention of drug abuse with education, especially at this level with teenagers, is always a sensible investment and helpful.


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