Old Drug, New Epidemic:  Resurgence of Meth in the US Today

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Old Drug, New Epidemic:  Resurgence of Meth in the US Today

The majority of the 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017 were attributed to opioids and fentanyl, according to statistics.  However, since 2011, the number of meth overdose deaths has increased by more than 250%.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse tracks drug trends and shows that methamphetamine is the leading drug threat in the US today. Obviously, something has sparked this shocking increase in meth abuse in recent years.

One thing that has fueled the new meth epidemic is the absence of medication that effectively treats meth cravings.  Also, the practice of “speedballing” is on the rise.  In general, speedballing involves combining meth or cocaine with heroin or fentanyl.  In fact, more people are heavily involved with simultaneous use of meth and opioids today than ever before,  according to a study by the NIDA.

What Can be Done to Help Meth Addicts?

Because the number of residential treatment programs has decreased, many addicts must seek help through outpatient programs.  The problem with this situation is that meth addicts require a structured environment to ensure they cannot obtain their drug of choice.

Inpatient, or residential programs, can address meth addiction as well as treat any co-occurring addictions and disorders.  This approach is the most effective way to bring down the number of meth overdose deaths.

These facilities offer comprehensive treatment options that include:

  • Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy
  • Group and Individual Counseling
  • Family Education and Counseling
  • Life Skills Training
  • Anger Management
  • Communication Skills
  • Nutritional Guidance
  • Music and Art Therapy
  • Exercise and Fitness Routines
  • Relaxation Techniques

Depending on the facility, a person can choose a faith-based or non-secular program. Overall, the best treatment program is one that allows the patient to take part in creating the treatment path they feel is best for their needs and preferences.

How to Minimize the Risk of Meth Relapse

Certainly, overcoming meth addiction is not easy, and relapse is a common occurrence.  In fact, about 61 percent of recovering meth addicts relapse within a year, according to a 2014 study.  Furthermore, the research also shows that within a two-to-five-year range after discharge from rehab, about 25 percent of recovering meth addicts relapse.

By all means, a relapse does not mean that the treatment failed or that the individual is hopelessly addicted. Relapse is an indication that more work is necessary. One way to help recovering meth addicts avoid relapse is to make sure he or she enrolls in an aftercare program upon completing rehab.  These programs provide continuing support, guidance, and encouragement from peers during the difficult transition to sobriety.

A recovering meth addict also has the option of entering a sober living home after rehab.  These homes offer a drug-free, structured environment to help people avoid relapse as they transition into society as a sober individual.

Preventing Meth Overdose Deaths: Know the Warning Signs

To be sure, it is essential in today’s world that we know the warning signs of a drug overdose.

Therefore, if you know someone who is abusing methamphetamine, here are some signs and symptoms of overdose that you should be aware of:

  • Acute overdose: Due to a person using large amounts of meth at one time.  Signs of an acute overdose can include:
    • Enlarged pupils
    • Irregular heart rate
    • Chest pain, heart attack
    • Difficulty breathing
    • High temperature
    • Kidney failure
    • Agitation
    • Paranoia
  • Chronic overdose: Over time, a person suffers from cumulative adverse reactions of meth abuse.  Signs of a chronic overdose can include:
    • Anxiety
    • Violent outbursts
    • Extreme mood changes
    • Severe sleep disturbances
    • Tactile hallucinations
    • Weight loss
    • Meth-mouth
    • Skin sores and abscesses

Meth overdose can cause ongoing problems such as brain damage, paranoia that persists for up to a year, seizures, stroke, altered mental function, and much more.

Of course, the sooner a person receives treatment for meth addiction, lingering complications are minimized. Indeed, no one wants to become one of the meth overdose deaths statistics. For that reason,  you’ll want to take advantage of our comprehensive treatment program.  Call now and let us get you or your loved one get started on your new sober life.

Resources:

drugabuse.govWhat Treatments are Effective for People Who Abuse Methamphetamine?

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