Crystal Meth The Battle Continues

Crystal Meth The Battle Continues

Nearly 25 million people worldwide are estimated to have used amphetamines and methamphetamines. Hollowed cheeks, scaly skin, rotten teeth, and hideous sores from picking are all tell-tale signs of a crystal meth addict. The official name of the drug is methyl amphetamine and it makes addicts feel as if they can do anything. It increases confidence, self-esteem, and heightens sex drive; however, there are more numerous negative effects. History of Crystal Meth Methamphetamine was first manufactured in 1919 as a synthetic substitute for ephedrine. The beginning of its popularity can be traced back to WWII, when pilots used it to stay awake. In the 1960s, according to “The Burden and Management of Crystal Meth Use,” “occult methamphetamine laboratories emerged in California in the 1960s, and its recreational use spread up and down the Pacific Coast.” In the 1980s, crystal meth, a crystallized, smokable, and more potent form was developed. The drug quickly spread eastward. The Appeal of the Drug Crystal methamphetamine, also know as ice, releases dopamine which leads to feelings of euphoria. The drug makes addicts feel as if they can do anything. Their confidence is inflated along with self-esteem and sex drive is heightened. If crystal meth is smoked or injected, it causes an almost instant rush. However, if taken orally, the drug takes approximately 20 minutes to kick in. Crystal meth is often preferred over cocaine because it has a longer duration of action and can keep the user high for 12 hours. A user, who is binging on the drug, may stay up as long as 10 days, often with little or no food. It is also cheaper and more readily available than cocaine. Negative Effects The drug affects the central nervous system and causes liver and kidney damage, psychosis, anxiety, and an all-over body itch that some addicts say feels like bugs trapped under their skin, such that users are prompted to scratch their skin off in order to relieve it. The picking at the skin often leads to permanent scars. The psychosis may become permanent or continue as flashbacks. Meth also causes decreased appetite which leads to dramatic weight loss in a short amount of time. Poor oral hygiene is usually evident in meth users. They often do not eat, grind their jaws and clench their teeth from the drug, and do not brush due to their altered state. This can lead to advanced dental decay known as “meth mouth.” Other negative side effects include:

  • Seizures
  • Cardiac arythmia
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Stroke
  • Death
  • Lowered resistance to disease
  • Depression
  • Chronic fatigue

Rehabilitation Once addicted, successful rehabilitation of users is extremely rare. Death is far more likely to be the end result. Treatment is difficult because there is currently no effective medication, and behavioral and cognitive approaches have not shown long-term benefits. Buxton, Jane A.; Dove, Naomi A.. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal, 6/3/2008, Vol. 178 Issue 12, p1537-1539, 3p Nolan, Larissa. “Is Crystal Meth our New Drug Scourge?” Mail on Sunday, 7/25/2010 Parker, Jim. “Crystal Meth.” Crystal Meth: Maximum Speed. 2/1/2007