Adolescents with a history of alcohol abuse and risky sexual behaviours are more likely to take methamphetamines (MA) or 'speed', according to a new study.
Led by researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada, the study revealed risk factors associated with MA use in children who did take drugs as well as those who had taken other drugs or who had ever attended juvenile detention centres.
MA is a stimulant, usually smoked, snorted or injected. It produces sensations of euphoria, lowered inhibitions, feelings of invincibility, increased wakefulness, heightened sexual experiences, and hyperactivity resulting from increased energy for extended periods of time.
Lead researcher Klassen said that the research team analysed twelve different medical studies and found that a history of engaging in behaviours such as sexual activity, alcohol consumption and smoking was significantly associated with MA use among low-risk youth.
"MA is produced, or 'cooked', quickly, reasonably simply, and cheaply by using legal and readily available ingredients with recipes that can be found on the internet," said Klass.
"Within the low-risk group, there were some clear patterns of risk factors associated with MA use.
"A history of engaging in behaviours such as sexual activity, alcohol consumption and smoking was significantly associated with MA use among low-risk youth.
"Engaging in these kinds of behaviors may be a gateway for MA use or vice versa. A homosexual or bisexual lifestyle is also a risk factor," he added.