A Young Mind’s Perspective
“Meth. Not even once.” I saw this saying plastered all over billboards while growing up. These words were accompanied by horrifying pictures of what meth addiction would do to your appearance. Some included pictures of people picking at bugs under their skin, rotten teeth, and beating up family members. Seeing these everywhere established a scary, forbidden and dangerous feeling about Meth in most people. In Montana, Meth became a serious issue for the state and they organized a state-wide campaign of efforts to stop the epidemic. The program was directly targeted at stopping first time teen use. After this campaign, I really believed that meth was the worst drug; doing it once resulted in automatic addiction and anyone who did it would not be able to recover. These billboards definitely spoke to me and left a big impression of what could happen if I used Meth. That’s not to say that these billboards worked for everyone, unfortunately.
Meth… Taking a Closer Look
Of children in foster care, 53 percent are there due to a parent’s meth abuse. 50 percent of adults in prison are there as a result of meth-related crimes. Meth is responsible for 20 percent of those getting treatment for drug addiction. These facts are all from Montana alone.
Methamphetamine is a drug that is taken by snorting, inhaling or injecting it. The drug is extremely addictive because of its stimulating properties and its high concentration. After it’s taken and the initial high, it begins to destroy the body. Meth makes users feel a false sense of happiness, causing a strong desire to use it again. This is especially true in those who may not be satisfied with their lives. It creates a rush of confidence and energy and can decrease appetite. The effects can last anywhere from six to eight hours; however, it’s possible to feel the effects for up to 24 hours. Because meth generates an intense high on the first try, it is extremely hard to stop.
It usually comes in the form of crystal meth which is a white, odorless powder that can be dissolved in water or alcohol. It has somewhat of a bitter taste. Inside this powder is a concoction of things you wouldn’t even think of putting into your body. It is a man-made drug, unlike cocaine or marijuana. Meth is usually made from a base of something similar to cold medicine. The people who “cook” meth extract the most potent part of the medicine to increase its strength. Then, they add harsh chemicals such as antifreeze, lantern fuel, battery acid or drain cleaner. When cooking meth, explosions are very common because the cooks are usually addicts as well. This results in unsafe conditions, as these disoriented individuals produce the dangerous substance.
How Meth Transforms You
The side effects and dangers of meth are immense. They can include memory loss, aggression, psychotic behavior, and even heart and brain damage. When the drug wears off, a “crash” happens, which often comes with a severe physical or mental breakdown. Extreme weight loss can occur because the drug diminishes normal feelings of hunger. Meth can also cause unusual sleep patterns, nausea, increased aggressiveness, and hyperactivity. These, however, are only the short-term effects. The long-term effects are even worse and are often irreversible.
The long-term effects include permanent damage to blood vessels; the heart and brain can suffer strokes, heart attacks and death. People often experience tooth decay, infectious diseases, psychosis, depression, damage to the brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease, disorientation, malnutrition, breathing problems, and destruction of tissues in the nose. In some circumstances, convulsions can also occur that may lead to death.
Meth can make you unable to care for children or loved ones. A woman lost her three-year-old child because she accidently gave him poisoned cheese from the refrigerator. She thought it was just cheese, unaware that a toxic chemical they used to make meth had dripped on it from a shelf above. As her child became ill, she was still too high to notice. Once she realized what had happened, she was too high to know how to get him help. Once she got help, it was too late. He had taken a lethal dose of ammonia hydroxide.
Why is Meth so Hard to Recover From?
After coming down off of meth, your body goes through a lot. If the drug isn’t used again, there is an intense stage of withdrawal symptoms. It takes about 24 hours for an abuser to experience withdrawal symptoms. When the craving for more meth hits, a deep sense of depression and even suicidal thoughts can occur. Due to the agonizing symptoms of withdrawal being difficult to overcome, 93 percent of those attempting to detox on their own will relapse.
Additionally, those who try meth typically do it because something isn’t being fulfilled in their life. When meth stops fulfilling the hole, they may find that they’re unable to stop abusing the drug. These reasons can include relieving boredom, experimentation, rebellion, wanting to seem grown up or to fit in, or to escape daily struggles and relax. When meth gives a user feeling of relief from one of these issues, they not only will be hooked by the drugs properties, but also from their solution to a problem.
What to Do
Meth is scary and addictive; however, there’s hope for those who need help. There are many resources available. Think about how you can help yourself, a loved one or people in the community stay safe from one of the biggest dangers on the street. If you have questions about what your next step should be, give us a call. Our friendly, compassionate staff will help you understand your many options.