Substance Use

Secondhand Smoke from Meth: Can You Get a Contact High?

man surrounded by meth smoke

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Secondhand Smoke from Meth

Meth is a potent drug used by some 2.5 million people across the country. We know that the effects of smoking meth can be extremely dangerous and detrimental to long-term health, but what’s even scarier is that simply being exposed to the drug could potentially cause its own set of negative effects. If you’re wondering what secondhand smoke from meth can do to you or your loved ones, here’s what you need to know.

Are you or someone you love dealing with meth addiction? Zinnia Health can help. Our confidential, judgment-free addiction treatment programs are personalized to the needs of every individual. Learn more about the services available for treatment by calling our helpline at (855) 430-9439.

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Can Secondhand Smoke from Meth Get You High?

We don’t yet have enough evidence-based research to say for sure whether you can get a contact high just from being around someone who is smoking meth. However, the notion is feasible.

Information we have about drugs like marijuana supports the idea that secondhand exposure to meth could cause a contact high. As is the case with marijuana, though, it would likely take “extreme exposure” — like in a small, unventilated area — for someone to truly get high from secondhand meth smoke.

The nature of meth smoke is well known. It degrades rapidly once it’s in the air, so a person would have to be sitting or standing right next to the person who is smoking in order to experience a secondhand high. The frequency and intensity of the smoke would also factor in. So, if someone is in a small room with one or multiple people smoking meth, a contact high is possible.

What Does a Contact High Feel Like?

If you are around someone who is smoking meth and wondering if you are experiencing a contact high, the symptoms would likely feel similar to a meth high, but perhaps more subdued. This means you might get a burst of energy and a euphoric feeling.

The intensity and length of time that a contact high lasts would also be influenced by factors such as your weight, health, and history of substance use. For instance, a child exposed to secondhand methamphetamine smoke is more likely to experience a contact high than a grown person due to the concentration of meth that it would put in their system.

In the few studies that have been carried out regarding exposure to methamphetamine use, it was not the symptoms of a contact high that researchers focused on, but rather the side effects of meth exposure in general.

It’s been found that homes and buildings where meth was once used or manufactured will have chemicals detectable for years, and exposure to those lingering substances can have health effects of its own.

Meth addiction can feel impossible to overcome on your own. If you need help with substance use, Zinnia Health is standing by. Our helpline is open 24/7 and staffed with caring recovery specialists who can help you get on the path to a healthier life. Dial (855) 430-9439 for more information.

Risks of Meth Exposure

It’s well-known that those who smoke meth are more likely to suffer from a number of health implications, but we now know that those exposed to secondhand meth smoke are also at risk. Some of the side effects that were noted in secondhand meth exposure included:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Changes in respiratory rates
  • Problems with memory
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis

Because meth is so potent and addicting, it was found that individuals exposed to meth use also had a higher risk of methamphetamine addiction. If someone is repeatedly exposed to meth, it’s possible they could experience symptoms of meth withdrawal when they leave that environment.

The side effects of meth withdrawal include low energy and anxiety.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been well documented instances of families moving into homes previously used as meth labs and despite no one actively using meth, evidence of methamphetamine absorption from their environment was found in hair samples taken after they vacated the premises.

These people also developed health effects, with the most serious being asthma-like symptoms, trouble breathing, and changes in behavior.

Will Secondhand Meth Show on a Drug Test?

Longer-term secondhand exposure to meth either in a place where someone is regularly using it or manufacturing it is known to cause health problems due to synthetic absorption. This means that the body is processing elements of the drug, either through chemical residues or secondhand smoke. In either case, it’s been shown that these people may test positive for methamphetamine.

As noted above, families living in homes previously used for meth production had hair samples that tested positive for amphetamines. Hair samples taken one week after they left the premises and again three months after they left the premises both showed positive. However, both in methamphetamine abusers and in those exposed to it by other means, hair samples are only considered to accurately detect meth use for about 90 days since the last exposure.

It’s unknown where secondhand methamphetamine exposure can cause urine tests to show a positive result. However, if someone lives or works around methamphetamine labs, it’s possible that chronic exposure will lead to absorption of meth, which may look the same as drug use on a drug test. In a chronic meth user, a urine test will show positive for up to 6 days.

If you’re exposed to an environment with methamphetamine contamination, you can ask your healthcare provider for a drug test to see whether or not there are detectable levels in your system. If there are, you may be at an increased risk of negative health effects, which means it’s critical to take steps to protect your physical and mental health before it gets worse.

How Zinnia Health Can Help

At Zinnia Health, we know that the effects of methamphetamine stretch beyond the user. Aside from the health risks of secondhand exposure, watching someone you love deal with meth is difficult on its own. So, if you have questions about substance abuse treatment, we’d be proud to help.

At our treatment center, we provide:

  • Specialized care for methamphetamine addiction
  • Evidence-basedhuman services tailored to each individual’s needs
  • Quality, confidential care that aligns with public health guidelines
  • Aftercare to make transitions between inpatient, outpatient, and sobriety more successful

If you’re ready to take the next step toward addiction treatment, our team at Zinnia Health is here to help. We can answer any questions you have about programs, pricing, insurance, and admissions. Nothing should stand in the way of getting the help you need. When you’re ready, call our helpline anytime, day or night, at (855) 430-9439.

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