What is methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine, meth, or crystal meth all refer to an amphetamine-based drug that has become immensely popular in the United States as an addictive drug of choice for social and recreational purposes and intentions. This drug made its first appearance in the 1940s when the Japanese military forces used it in World War II. The Japanese gave it to the Germans, and from there it found its way over to the Americas. In truth, this substance quickly became a potent, dangerous, and deadly substance that wreaked havoc wherever people used it.
Since the turn of the century meth use and abuse has taken off in this nation. It has created what might be considered to be the most powerful addiction crisis the world has ever seen before, and this has boded poorly for those who use meth on a regular basis as the drug is dangerous, deadly, and very hard to remove from one’s life once one is addicted to it.
Meth creates a powerful, damaging force upon the minds and brains of those who take it. Meth chemicals, once they are consumed into the body, and the body breaks them down, they severely alter or affect the individual who is taking them. The effect? Havoc and misery for the person, long-term brain damage for his or her brain.
If one has used and abused meth for long enough, long-term and potentially permanent brain damage can occur. The crisis here is that meth is so addictive that once someone starts using it, they can’t seem to stop using it. It’s taken hold of them, and it doesn’t let go. More severe and more dedicated means and methods will be needed if any long-term gains are to be made.
Street Names for Methamphetamine
Chank, Bianco, white crunch, sketch, sparkle, sugar, rock, redneck heroin, scud, meth monsters, lily, lemon drop, Koolaid, ice cream, horse mumpy, jab, hydro are some of the more common street names for meth.
The Effects of Meth
The effects of meth abuse are grim and unpleasant. For example, individuals who abuse meth will often experience:
- A high amount of activity and wakefulness followed by a crash
- Little to no appetite
- Faster breathing and respiratory activity in general
- An irregular and dangerous heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure and body temperature to the point of being dangerous
- Sudden and dangerous weight loss
- Dental problems to the point of tooth loss
- Itching and scratching of the skin leading to dermatological problems and sores
- Anxiety and nervous hysteria bordering on psychosis
- Confusion and an inability to process basic, simple information
- Sleeping difficulties and constantly being awake
- Violent behavior of the individual to the point of seriously harming others
- Paranoia, to the point of not trusting anyone or anything
- Hallucinations, creating sensations and images within the person’s mind that are not real or possible
Continued meth use can also cause severe mental impairment to the point of not being able to learn things. Individuals who take meth extensively also end up having memory loss. They will also experience reduced coordination as well, and cannot retain information.
The Statistics on U.S. Meth Abuse
By no means at all, this article is not intended to harm, defame, or incriminate anyone even though the use and the abuse of meth do carry with it significant legal repercussions that should always be taken into consideration by anyone who is fantasizing about meth abuse. The intention of this article to raise awareness of the fact of the meth addiction epidemic in the nation today. Also, we will try to shed some light on the problems we struggle with today as a result of heroin addiction and abuse. Many organizations such as the CDC, NSDUH, NIAAA, SAMHSA, and TAH, work together to provide such statistical data and evidence on this crisis, For example:
- An estimated 103,000 emergency department visits were attributed to methamphetamine abuse in one year alone.
- Methamphetamine was the 4th most mentioned illegal substance in emergency room visits in 2014.
- Admissions to treatment centers for meth addiction and abuse decreased from just over 8% in 2005 to only 5.6% in 2011.
- About 1.2 million people abused meth last year.
- There were over 130,000 new meth users in 2014 and even more than that last year.
- Approximately 5% of adolescents in 8th, 10th, and 12th grade had used meth at least once, which is concerning because about seventy percent of that one percent will become addicted to it.
- The United States government reported in the year of 2008 that approximately 13 million people over the age of 12 had used methamphetamine, and that about 529,000 of those are regular users of the drug.
- In the year of 2007, 4.5% of American high-school seniors and 4.1% of tenth-grade students reported using methamphetamine at least once in their life, to begin with.
- In the United States of America, the percentage of drug treatment admissions due to methamphetamine and amphetamine abuse tripled from 3% in 1996 to 9% in 2006. Some states have much higher rates, such as the island state of Hawaii, where 48.2% of the people seeking help for drug or alcohol abuse in 2007 were methamphetamine users and abusers.
- According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, (NIDA), over 12.3 million Americans age 12 and older have tried meth at least once, and millions of them have gotten addicted to it.
- Statistically speaking, women are more inclined to take meth than they are to pick up cocaine, which is also quite worrisome because meth is more addictive and more physically dangerous.
- Meth’s purity decreases the closer production is to the Mexican border, most likely a result of drug trafficking from Mexican locations. Now, there are lots of meth production facilities on U.S. soil.
- The top two reasons reported for using meth are (1) accessibility and (2) the fact that it is relatively inexpensive. It is certainly less expensive than heroin, cocaine, or crack is.
- Adolescents between 12 and 17 years old admitted to meth addiction, but only a small percentage of them.
- Treatment for meth addiction increased by 100 percent between the years of 1994 and 2004, because the drug itself more than tripled in popularity.
- Over 85 percent of meth production occurs in “super labs” found in California and Mexico. A lot of production now takes place in the Midwest too.
- Members of drug cartels often strike up business relationships with Native American reservations to use the land as a distribution point between Mexico and North Dakota, making the issue of meth abuse in the nation even worse and even more prevalent.
- In the year of 2004, over 3,000 children were removed from meth labs throughout the U.S. by child welfare officials. Child slaves are often used to work in meth labs.
- One pound of meth creates five to six pounds of toxic waste, making it the drug that is easily the worst of them all for our environment.
- Approximately $1,000 worth of ingredients, such as aluminum foil and paint thinner, is enough to create $20,000 worth of meth. This is why so many have gone into the business because the cost of materials is so low.
- In a typical mom-and-pop meth lab, all of the equipment and paraphernalia used to make meth could fit in a small beverage cooler. Some labs are contained within bathtubs, sheds, barns, vehicles or abandoned trailers. It doesn’t take much, and it doesn’t take a lot of knowledge or know-how to make the stuff, again making it more desirable for the average addict or dealer to do so.
Dangerous, Toxic Ingredients
Drano, ephedrine, lye, ether, iodine, hydrochloride, hydriodic acid, brake fluid, rubbing alcohol, lighter fluid, camp stove fluid, cold remedies, red phosphorus, lithium from batteries, drain cleaner, gasoline additives, paint thinner, and Freon. Most of these are highly toxic or corrosive, and most people would never put them in their car or use in their homes. Why would you want to put them into your body?
Signs of Crystal Meth Abuse
Unlike all other drugs, it is relatively easy to determine if someone you care for is abusing crystal meth. He or she will appear sleepy, they may have a lack of hygiene, sores will be present on their skin and he or she may be struggling financially for no apparent reason, as well as having problems with school or work.
Signs of a crystal meth problems become apparent within a week once that person has begun using the drug on a regular basis and will experience mood changes and be more reserved and annoyed with the thought of doing something that they used to think exciting.
Problems Due to Addiction
Crystal meth has damaging side effects on every aspect of a person’s health, such as:
- Physical problems
Possible contraction of HIV/AIDS or other blood-borne diseases, liver damage, kidney damage, heart damage, problems with blood pressure, aged skin, scarring from scratching open sores, vein collapse from an injection, sunken eyes, hair loss, meth mouth, etc.
- Mental problems
Short-term memory loss, long-term memory loss, trouble with thinking and reasoning, chronic depression, constant mood changes, and inability to have pleasure unless under the influence.
- Financial, social problems
Loss of career, loss of home, no longer able to communicate with people normally, social withdrawal, anxiety in public, and seclusion from family and close ones.
Meth addiction changes a person into someone they don’t even know anymore. Friends and loved ones cease to matter, life, in general, seems to have lost its appeal, and the individual lives only for the next fix.
Beating Meth Addiction with Rehab
Meth addiction is devastating and harmful. However, it does not have to be a permanent affliction for anyone who is addicted to it. The key to beating a meth addiction and the only way to overcome meth addiction is with the help of a rehab program. With effective inpatient treatment, anyone who is addicted to anything, even something as profoundly addictive to meth, can go free from their addiction once and for all and lead drug-free lives.