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A National Epidemic: Meth Use and Production Reaches New Heights in America’s Heartland

Meth Epidemic

For years, the use of Crystal Meth in Midwest America has been reaching epic proportions. But how do we go about stopping it?

Over the past several years, the central states in the US have seen an epidemic hit their streets and neighborhoods. Families are being torn apart and homes are being destroyed at alarming rates. This problem isn’t confined to the Midwest by any means, but it seems to stem from that general area. In basements, garages, attics and mobile homes all across Middle America, the production of Crystal Methamphetamine has reached heights that the FBI and the DEA can only scratch the surface of. And it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Shocking Meth Statistics in the Heartland of America
In recent statistics released by the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP), publicized by the Bloomington, IN media outlet The Herald-Times, Indiana was named as the leader in national reports of incidents involving the production of Meth for the second consecutive year. With only 2% of the US population calling Indiana home, around 15% of the national total of Meth related incidents occurred within this state’s borders(1). In 2012, Missouri held the title in Meth production and arrests, followed closely by Tennessee, but in 2013 Indiana overtook Missouri and has led the pack for two years running(2).

All of the US has seen a rise in the abuse of this drug, but none so much as the Midwest States. For years, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee and Indiana have shown statistics that indicate an exponential spike in the production of this substance. In 2014, these states were the top in the country for meth lab seizures(3). Experts have speculated that part of the reason for this dramatic increase is the ease in which this drug is produced, and since most producers of Meth are also users, they are able to control their own supply. Bathroom chemistry, which is just as dangerous as it sounds, leads to increased availability, a fact that dealers are welcoming with open arms.

Taking a Stand: Fighting the Spread of Meth

In the face of such a dangerous and deadly enemy, what can we do to fight it? How do we keep our young people from falling into that deadly trap?

Our strongest tool in battling the spread of this epidemic is education. We must teach our youth about the dangers of this and other drugs, and encourage them to find healthier and more positive alternatives to using drugs or alcohol. In addition, we must also provide information to those who are struggling with addiction or might know someone who is, offering guidance on identifying drug or alcohol problems and what can be done to help in that difficult situation.

Symptoms and Other Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

If you suspect that someone close to you is abusing drugs or alcohol, some of the things that you might want to look for include:

  • Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Deterioration of physical appearance, personal grooming habits
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing
  • Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination
  • Drop in attendance and performance at work or school
  • Unexplained need for money or financial problems. May borrow or steal to get it.
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors
  • Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies
  • Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities)
  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness
  • Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or “spaced out”
  • Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason

Warning Signs of Commonly Abused Drugs

  • Stimulants(including amphetamines, cocaine, crystal meth): Dilated pupils; hyperactivity; euphoria; irritability; anxiety; excessive talking followed by depression or excessive sleeping at odd times; may go long periods of time without eating or sleeping; weight loss; dry mouth and nose.
  • Marijuana:Glassy, red eyes; loud talking, inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness; loss of interest, motivation; weight gain or loss.
  • Depressants(including Xanax, Valium, GHB): Contracted pupils; drunk-like; difficulty concentrating; clumsiness; poor judgment; slurred speech; sleepiness.
  • Inhalants(glues, aerosols, vapors): Watery eyes; impaired vision, memory and thought; secretions from the nose or rashes around the nose and mouth; headaches and nausea; appearance of intoxication; drowsiness; poor muscle control; changes in appetite; anxiety; irritability; lots of cans/aerosols in the trash.
  • Hallucinogens (LSD, PCP):Dilated pupils; bizarre and irrational behavior including paranoia, aggression, hallucinations; mood swings; detachment from people; absorption with self or other objects, slurred speech; confusion.
  • Heroin:Contracted pupils; no response of pupils to light; needle marks; sleeping at unusual times; sweating; vomiting; coughing, sniffling; twitching; loss of appetite.(4)

How to Help: Holding an Intervention

If it is determined that someone you know is struggling with an addiction, the next step is to confront them about their substance abuse and the effects that it having on the people around them. The most important thing to remember in holding an intervention is to make sure that the person in question does not feel like they are being attacked. They most likely will already be on the defensive, and if they feel like they are being bombarded or “ganged up on”, the results of an intervention will probably be less than ideal. It is crucial that you let the person know that they are loved and cared for, and their choices are affecting those around them. Encouragement and positive reinforcement is essential. Avoid using overtly negative words and phrases to describe the situation. Stick to addressing the benefits of seeking help rather than focusing solely on the negative aspects of the person’s behavior.

Finding a Rehabilitation Program or Facility

When approaching a loved one about their substance abuse, it is important to have a plan of action. Finding a treatment center beforehand will help greatly in keeping the concerned parties strong in their determination to address the problem. This will also help in making sure that the individual struggling with addiction does not have time to change their mind about seeking help.

Finding a rehabilitation center that will be effective for that particular individual may seem a little difficult. There are many options out there, each with their own characteristics and methods of treatment. A Forever Recovery is a treatment center that takes a unique approach to rehabilitation. Rather than expecting all of our patients to adhere to one modality of treatment, we offer various options for them to choose from, allowing them a certain level of freedom in creating a program that will best suit their individual needs. This helps our patients to discover a sense of self-confidence and personal responsibility in their recovery, and makes AFR a good choice for anybody who is seeking help in overcoming an addiction.

Offering Continued Support to a Loved One

Perhaps the best thing that can be offered to a person struggling to overcome addiction is support and encouragement. The recovery process is a difficult and strenuous one, and the greatest help that family and friends can give to a loved one is care and compassion for them during their struggle. Showing that you believe in them and want only what’s best for them can go a long way in helping them to break free from the bonds of their addiction.

In an effort to raise awareness about substance abuse and addiction, A Forever Recovery has made a commitment to promoting education, encouraging athletics, arts and community activism through various events and public services.
Often reaching outside of the halls of our treatment center to touch the lives of our teens and young adults, AFR is dedicated to being an effective force in this fight by offering hope and optimism for the future of tomorrow’s leaders. We strive to help those who are struggling with addiction, or who may have a close friend or family member who might be abusing drugs or alcohol, wherever and whenever we possibly can. It is our hope that this information will be of use to those individuals and that we can continue in our mission of fighting the battle against the spread of Crystal Meth and other drugs.

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