The most dangerous stage of meth abuse for abusers, medical personnel,
and law enforcement officers is called "tweaking." A tweaker is
a heavy Meth user who probably has not slept in 3-15 days and is irritable
and paranoid. Tweakers often behave or react violently and if a tweaker is
using alcohol or another depressant, his negative feelings and associated
dangers intensify. The tweaker craves more meth, but no dosage will help re-create
the euphoric high, which causes frustration, and leads to unpredictability
and potential for violence. A tweaker can appear normal: eyes can be clear,
speech concise, and movements brisk. But a closer look will reveal the person's
eyes are moving ten times faster than normal, the voice has a slight quiver,
and movements are quick and jerky. These physical signs are more difficult
to identify if the tweaker is using a depressant.
Heavy Meth users are often involved in domestic disputes and motor vehicle
accidents. They may also be present at "raves" or parties and they
may participate in spur-of-the-moment crimes, such as purse snatchings or
assaults, to support their habit.
Detaining a heavy meth user alone is not recommended and law enforcement officers
should call for backup.
6 Safety Tips for Approaching a Heavy Meth User:
Keep a 7-10 ft. distance. Coming too close can be perceived as threatening.
Do not shine bright lights at him. The tweaker is already paranoid and
if blinded by a bright light he is likely to run or become violent.
Slow your speech and lower the pitch of your voice. A tweaker already
hears sounds at a fast pace and in a high pitch.
Slow your movements. This will decrease the odds that the tweaker will
misinterpret your physical actions.
Keep your hands visible. If you place your hands where the tweaker cannot
see them, he might feel threatened and could become violent.
Keep the tweaker talking. A tweaker who falls silent can be extremely
dangerous. Silence often means that his paranoid thoughts have taken over
reality, and anyone present can become part of the tweaker's paranoid delusions.
Source: National Drug Intelligence
Center, US Dept of Justice