Methamphetamine, created from a combination of paint thinner, battery acid, insecticides, ammonia, and various other chemicals, is the most addictive drug currently on the market. Created by the Germans in the late 1880’s, it was originally called amphetamine. It was used in the US from the 1930’s-1970’s as a treatment for asthma, colds, and decongestion. During both World War II and the Vietnam War, American and Japanese soldiers used methamphetamine, a more potent form of amphetamine, to increase stamina and alertness on the battlefield. Upon their return, both governments faced enormous epidemics as the drugs became more available to the public. In 1971 the US added methamphetamine to the Controlled Substance Act and its use was severely restricted. Today it is used sparingly to treat some forms of narcolepsy, attention deficit disorder (ADD), and obesity.
The number of methamphetamine users has increased greatly in recent years, to the point of surpassing cocaine and heroin. This is due in large part to the easy availability of the ingredients required to make meth. Most meth is made in clandestine laboratories: cars, houses, hotels, and even storage units. In the past it was manufactured in the United States, particularly in the Southwestern regions; however, with law enforcement cracking down, more is being brought up from Mexico. In the past California was a key port of entry for drug traffickers but with the increase in border patrol and security they have shifted further east into Arizona and Texas.
Methamphetamine addiction is easy as meth is believed to be addictive from the first use.
Meth has several different forms of administration. It can be injected intravenously, smoked, snorted, or dissolved and ingested orally. Just a small dose will increase alertness and physical activity while decreasing appetite. Meth works by releasing extremely high levels of dopamine, a hormone responsible for pleasure, into the brain; thus increasing the constant need for more. Smoking or injecting the drug is known to induce a short rush while those who snort or ingest it maintain a high for as long as 12 hours.
Studies have shown that even short term use can cause severe damage to brain tissue and impair motor and verbal skills. The long term effects include, but are not limited to, violent behavior, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and rages. There are also lasting physical symptoms, such as weight loss, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and severe dental problems, which can have lasting impact on the user’s health. Transmission of HIV or Hepatitis through shared needles is also a risk associated with meth use.
Because of the highly addictive nature of methamphetamine, the withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe. They often include intense cravings, paranoia, hallucinations, depression, aggression, fatigue, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. Although there are currently no drugs approved to treat methamphetamine addiction, research is still being conducted. Even though the relapse rate for methamphetamine addicts is very high, over 90%, the most effective treatment currently being used is cognitive- behavioral intervention, support, counseling, and family education. As with all addiction treatment, the key is tailoring the treatment to the individual. With the right treatment, there is hope for recovery.
|If you or a loved one need help contact us for a
Free Consultation at (866) 426-7444 or Send Us a Message.