What Is A Lethal Dose Of Methamphetamine?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D on July 13, 2021

Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug commonly sold on the streets in high-potency doses. Lethal cases are uncommon, but it is possible to fatally overdose on methamphetamine.

What Is The Lethal Dose Of Meth?

The lethal dose of methamphetamine is 200 milligrams (mg). However, there have been deaths under lower doses than 200 mg.

For comparison, a regular dose of meth can be anywhere between 5-60 mg.

This is a Schedule II drug, meaning it is used in some medical contexts. A much weaker form of the drug is used in medications that treat ADHD, narcolepsy, and other disorders.

The form of the drug illegally sold on the streets is much more potent and has a higher risk of abuse.

Learn more about the fatal doses of commonly abused drugs

Factors That Determine The Lethal Dose Of Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine (meth) is a powerful and highly addictive drug. It comes in three primary forms: crystal (the most potent form), base, and speed.

It comes from the parent drug amphetamine. Meth differs from amphetamine in that more of the drug enters the brain and it has more harmful effects on the central nervous system.

These factors mean that meth has a much higher potential for abuse, which can lead to taking higher and higher doses of the substance, leading to a risk of overdose.

How Likely Is A Fatal Methamphetamine Overdose?

Fatal methamphetamine toxicity is relatively uncommon, but it is possible.

In one report, researchers determined that the deaths of two drug dealers who ingested a handful of methamphetamine tablets were in fact due to an overdose.

A person is more likely to fatally overdose on meth if it’s mixed with other substances, such as morphine or alcohol.

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Mixing Methamphetamine And Morphine Can Have Lethal Results

In a study conducted on mice, the lethal dose of methamphetamine was calculated to be 95 mg/kg.

However, when a non-lethal dose of morphine, 300 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg), was administered, the lethal dose of meth dropped to just 5 mg/kg.

This suggests that when meth and morphine are combined, the toxicity of both substances is enhanced, producing dangerous and potentially fatal results depending on how much is ingested.

Life-Threatening Complications From Meth

Health concerns don’t stop with overdoses. There are also multiple long-term health problems that can lead to death if a person regularly abuses meth.

A few of these health concerns include:

  • permanent damage to the heart and brain
  • high blood pressure
  • risk of heart attack
  • liver, kidney, and lung damage

Know The Signs Of A Methamphetamine Overdose

It’s important to recognize the warning signs of a meth overdose so that proper medical attention can be taken right away.

Here are some of the signs of a meth overdose:

  • difficulty breathing
  • abdominal pain
  • seizures
  • paranoia
  • aggressive behavior
  • enlarged pupils
  • kidney failure
  • stroke
  • high body temperature

Learn About Meth Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one are struggling with methamphetamine use, call us today.

Our representatives are here to point you in the right direction in addiction recovery. Choose between programs like inpatient rehab, therapy, medical detox, and more.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D on July 13, 2021
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