Meth is one of the most addictive stimulant drugs in use in the world today. It is usually found in the form of a bitter-tasting, white, odorless crystalline powder. Some of the common names used to refer to meth include chalk, crystal, ice, stove top, speed, glass and crank. Meth is smoked, taken orally or injected into the body by dissolving it into alcohol or water. The drug is delivered fastest when smoked or injected.
A Brief History of Meth
It all goes back to the year 1887 when a substance called amphetamines was synthesized. This substance gave rise to the development of methamphetamine in the year 1919 in Japan. Initially, the drug was used to alleviate fatigue and bring about a feeling of alertness.
By 1930, meth was being used by doctors to treat narcolepsy and asthma. In world war two, soldiers used amphetamines to enhance their performance and fight off fatigue.
In 1970, the use of meth was made illegal for many of its uses. From then on, the distribution of the drug was under the control of American motorcycle gangs.
Meth Statistics in the US
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that there were 440,000 meth users in the U.S. by the year 2012, which is 0.2% of the population.
They also stated that 85% of the meth used in the United States is produced in Mexican labs, leaving only 15% being produced within the United States. According to reports by the American Health Department, there have been 73,000 methamphetamine related emergency cases throughout the United States. This constitutes 4% of all the drug related visits.
Risks of Prolonged Abuse of Meth
Long term effects of meth include developing sores on the face or their entire body resulting from users picking at their skin due to thinking that there are bugs crawling on and their skin. Addicts have brown and rotten teeth.
They may experience delusions and hallucinations. Prolonged use of meth also leads to poor judgment which can lead to a risky lifestyle. In extreme cases, methamphetamine overdose causes the user’s body to overheat causing convulsions, collapse of the cardiovascular system and even death.
Social Risks of Meth Use
Meth addicts prioritize the drug over any relationship or responsibilities they might have. This causes them to indulge in risky behaviors such as stealing and even risky sexual behaviors.
Meth addicts who have children tend to neglect and abuse them. They also have no sense of hygiene and therefore live in a dirty and harmful environment. They may leave dirty diapers, used syringes and drug paraphernalia all over the house. This causes people who were once close to these individuals to stay away from them.
Ways of Helping Meth Addicts
Currently, there is only one effective treatment and that is cognitive behavioral intervention. This is a series of methods that are geared toward modifying the patient’s behaviors, expectancies and the way they think. This is aimed at helping the individuals deal with stress triggers that they face daily.
Antidepressants are also used to combat the depression symptoms. In some cases, anti-anxiety drugs are used while neuroleptics are used to combat psychoses. If a person close to you is a meth addict, you should have them checked in in a methamphetamine rehab center to have them treated as soon as possible.