Police Officer Safety: Meth Users

Chris Stites, Safety Engineering and Claims Management

November, 2009

As dangerous as the meth lab operation is, for most police officers the danger from meth comes from dealing with the methamphetamine user. Meth users are responsible for violence toward themselves, family members, friends, strangers, and each other. Headlines such as these are unfortunately, a by-product of meth use.

The abuse of methamphetamines is in stages, with the user being most dangerous when they are tweaking. Tweakers probably have not slept in 3-15 days and are irritable and paranoid.

Below are the stages:

During the “tweaking” phase, the behavior is very unpredictable, and the effects of tweaking are intensified by other depressants, such as alcohol. The tweaker may appear normal at first glance. Their eyes are clear and their speech is concise. However, their eyes are moving at about 10 times faster than normal. There may be a quiver to their voice. Often the movements will be jerky. They may be saying weird, delusional, or paranoid things.

If you, a police officer, encounter someone you believe is tweaking, here are a few tips that can help keep you safe:

Stay safe!