Although the country has seen significant rise in opiate addiction in recent years, the problem with methamphetamine hasn’t gone away. In fact, according to USA Today, nearly $300,000 worth of methamphetamine was seized in three different arrests along the U.S. – Mexico border just this week.
Methamphetamine (meth) is a very toxic and addictive substance that can cause severe damage to the brain and central nervous system. It can be smoked, snorted, injected, or ingested orally.
The high that meth produces includes excited speech, decreased appetite, increased physical activity, and elevated levels of energy. Consequences of meth use include memory loss, aggression, violence, psychotic behavior, and agitation.
Meth can also cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain which can lead to strokes. These are only some of the severe health consequences associated with this drug.
Methamphetamine is a stimulant. Because of its addictive quality and the danger of being abused, meth is classified as a Schedule II drug and is legally only available through prescription. When prescribed by a doctor for medical use, its dosages are significantly lower than when the drug is abused.
This drug is man-made and produced in laboratories for medical purposes. However, those who abuse the drug mimic its production in small, unsafe laboratories, which are illegal.
Studies show that approximately 1.2 million Americans reported using methamphetamine in the past year, and 440,000 reported using it in the past month. In 2012, there were 133,000 new users of methamphetamine age 12 or older.
Although this statistic is roughly the same as the previous year, there is a general downward trend across the past decade. Despite this general downward trend, the United States continues to see meth use in high proportions around the country.
In 2011, methamphetamine accounted for about 103,000 emergency room visits, and it was the fourth most mentioned illicit drug in emergency room visits following cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. While still high, this number represents a decrease from the 132,576 emergency room visits for methamphetamine abuse in 2004.
The majority of primary methamphetamine admissions were male (53 percent), and about two-thirds (68 percent) were non-Hispanic Whites.
While national trends are showing declines, perhaps because of the rise in prescription drug and heroin addictions in the US, methamphetamine abuse continues to exhibit fluctuation depending on the region of the country.
The Damaging Affects Of Meth
For instance, the strongest effects of methamphetamine abuse are felt on the West Coast, parts of the Midwest, and Hawaii, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Along these lines, in the first half of 2012, methamphetamine ranked first in drug-related treatment admissions in Hawaii and San Diego, second in San Francisco, and third in Denver and Phoenix.
Methamphetamine is incredibly addictive because of the release of dopamine, which creates strong feelings of euphoria. However, this experience is followed by a crash that leads to repeated use of the drug and increased doses to feel the level of euphoria experienced with the first use.
It is clear that long-term use of the drug leads to significant impairment, and the use of meth during adolescence could lead to an addiction and continued use in adulthood.
Fortunately, an addiction to meth is treatable and any further use can be curtailed towards living a drug-free and healthy life. A sometimes severe withdrawal process will follow after weaning or completely ending meth use. Because of the highs and lows of meth, which are similar to cocaine, withdrawal symptoms can include low levels of energy while the body learns to balance and restore its natural rhythm.
Obviously, when going through drug detox it’s important that an individual have the support they need because it can be a challenging experience. Certainly, this is the purpose of addiction treatment centers.
They can provide the medical support for the detox itself as well as a healing and safe environment. Although drug detox isn’t easy. With enough support and a safe community, it can happen. Furthermore, drug detox is the first step towards sobriety and recovery, which is entirely possible no matter the strength of the addiction.
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