What is Hot Railing? Understanding the Risks

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Methamphetamine (meth) is a powerful stimulant drug that is rarely prescribed under the brand name, Desoxyn, to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While this substance is used medicinally, most people abusing meth are buying it off of the street. Illicit forms of meth are manufactured using dangerous household chemicals like battery acid and drain cleaner, making this substance incredibly harmful to use.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 2.5 million people reported abusing meth in 2021.[1]

People who abuse meth might smoke, snort, inject, or even swallow the drug. However, there is another method of administration common among meth users known as “hot railing.”

What Does Hot Railing Mean?

When someone is “hot railing” meth, they are using a glass tube that is shaped similarly to a straw. One end of the glass tube is heated with a torch, while the meth is crushed up into a powder. After the end of the glass pipe is heated, the individual will hold it over the powder to snort the vapor.

The effects of hot railing meth include:[2]

  • Increased energy
  • A rush of euphoria
  • Decreased fatigue
  • Heightened activity and wakefulness
  • Less need for food and sleep
  • Increased respiration
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Hyperthermia
  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Hallucinations from lack of sleep

People hot rail meth because it is the most potent way to abuse the substance aside from injecting it. Because of the stigma surrounding IV drug use, individuals may engage in this method of administration instead. Unfortunately, hot railing meth is just as dangerous as injecting it into your veins.

The Dangers of Hot Railing Meth

While some people might begin hot railing meth because they think it is safer than injecting it, this method of administration comes with its own set of dangers.

Common dangers associated with hot railing meth include:


Hot railing meth involves heating a glass pipe until it is red hot, so there is a risk of severe burns. If you handle the pipe or torch lighter incorrectly, you could develop burns on the skin, blisters, or even permanent scarring. And, because people tend to binge on meth, they may handle these tools while intoxicated, further increasing the risk of injury.

Respiratory Issues

When you are hot railing meth, you are inhaling the vapor of the drug. This can lead to severe irritation and damage to your respiratory system. Since the drug is heated up, the hot vapor could irritate or damage your throat and nasal passages. Additionally, using meth in this manner long-term could lead to severe respiratory infections and the development of lung conditions.

Meth-Induced Psychosis

One of the main risks of abusing methamphetamine is developing psychosis. Approximately 40% of methamphetamine users develop psychotic symptoms.[3]

Hot railing is one of the most potent ways to abuse meth, so the risk of developing meth-induced psychosis increases substantially. People who hot rail meth could experience symptoms like a disconnection from reality, delusional thinking, hallucinations, and even aggressive or self-injurious behaviors.

Risk of Overdose

Hot railing involves snorting the vapors, and it causes meth to reach your brain and bloodstream quickly, producing rapid and strong effects. It can be difficult to regulate how much you ingest, so an overdose is possible. The symptoms of a meth overdose include:[4]

  • Agitation or aggressive behavior
  • Paranoid thoughts or delusions
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heart rate and palpitations
  • Breathing issues
  • Heightened body temperature
  • Heart attack and cardiac arrest
  • Stroke
  • Seizures

If you or a loved one experiences the above-mentioned symptoms, contact 911 immediately. Meth overdoses can be life-threatening due to the substance’s effects on the heart.

Find Help for Meth Abuse and Addiction

Meth addiction can be incredibly difficult to overcome, but drug rehab programs can provide you with the tools and support you need to maintain long-term sobriety. By combining medical detox, evidence-based therapies, and aftercare planning, addiction treatment centers can offer you a strong foundation for recovery.

At New Jersey Interventions, we can help you convince your loved one it’s time to attend professional treatment. Additionally, we can connect you to a top-rated meth rehab program in your area. Get started today by giving us a call.


  1. The National Institutes of Health (NIH): What is the scope of methamphetamine use in the United States, Retrieved September 2023 From https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-scope-methamphetamine-misuse-in-united-states
  2. The National Institutes of Health (NIH): What are the immediate (short-term) effects of methamphetamine misuse, Retrieved September 2023 From https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-are-immediate-short-term-effects-methamphetamine-misuse
  3. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Methamphetamine Psychosis, Retrieved September 2023 From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5027896/
  4. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Methamphetamine Toxicity, Retrieved September 2023 From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430895/

Medically Reviewed: September 15, 2023

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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