Methamphetamine is a powerful, synthetic (i.e., man-made, not organic) central nervous system stimulant. Stimulants are a class of drugs that elevate mood, increase feelings of wellbeing, and increase energy and alertness (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Methamphetamine was originally produced in the early 1900's from its parent drug, amphetamine.
Stimulants often initially produce a feeling of euphoria in users. Examples of other stimulants include cocaine, crack cocaine, methylphenidate (Ritalin®), nicotine, and MDMA (Ecstasy).
Methamphetamine is produced using ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in cold and sinus medication and other ordinary products such as anhydrous ammonia and drain cleaner (see "What is Meth" for more information). Many of the chemicals used to make methamphetamine are toxic and flammable, making the manufacture process very dangerous and potentially lethal.
Methamphetamine is a bitter tasting crystalline powder that can be dissolved in water or alcohol. Methamphetamine can also be converted into a rock crystal form called "ice," "crystal," or "glass." Ice is typically smoked and has a higher purity than powdered methamphetamine.