It’s scary.

In 2009, 1.2 million Americans age 12 and older had abused methamphetamine at least once in the year prior to being surveyed, according to the national survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental health Administration.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded 2010 “Monitoring the Future” study showed that 1.2 percent of eighth-graders, 1.6 percent of 10th graders, and 1 percent of high school seniors had abused methamphetamine at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.

• To get their drug of choice, meth addicts commit 50-70 percent of all property crimes.

• The average meth addict will live only 5-7 years after addiction.

• Meth, it seems, is one of the few drugs with the potential for addiction after the first use.

• Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant drug that is similar in structure to amphetamine. Due to its high potential for abuse, methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II drug and available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled. Although methamphetamine can be prescribed by a doctor, its medical uses are limited, and the doses that are prescribed are much lower than those typically abused.

• Most of the methamphetamine abused in this country comes from foreign or domestic “superlabs,” although it can also be made in small, illegal laboratories, where its production endangers the people in the labs, neighbors and the environment.

• Meth is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol and is taken orally, intranasally (snorting the powder), by needle injection or by smoking.

• Short-term effects include increased wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite, increased respiration, rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure and hyperthermia. Long-term meth abuse has many negative health consequences, including extreme weight loss, severe dental problems, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances and violent behavior. Chronic meth abusers often display psychotic features, including paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions (for example, the sensation of insects crawling under the skin).

The Rio Rancho Rotary Club (see feature story) would like to see the above figures pegged at zero-percent of schoolchildren using the life-wrecking drug, and a new program this club is sponsoring is aimed at educating fifth-graders on the dangers of the drug.