Another consequence of the devastating opioid epidemic in this country is that other substance abuse problems have been overlooked. Not to detract from the opioid overdoses and deaths, but alcohol continues to be a huge problem for many people, for example, and now, it seems that meth is surging back, and it’s cheaper and deadlier than before. The town that is the center of one article is Portland, which has been in the news before for drug use problems. (For that matter, what major city hasn’t?) “Crystal meth…has been all but forgotten,” the writer says, “but it has returned with a vengeance.” And in Oregon, more people are dying from it than are dying from heroin. In 2006, the state passed a law requiring a person to have a doctor’s prescription to buy pseudoephedrine, one of the ingredients used to make the drug, but it hasn’t helped stop the problem. That was after Congress had already taken action in 2005 to: 1) require that products with pseudoephedrine be kept behind the counter at pharmacies, 2) limit the amount of them that customers could buy, and 3) require pharmacies to track sales of products containing pseudoephedrine.
It seems that just as people who become addicted to oxycodone switch to heroin because it’s cheaper, the price of the meth on the market now, coupled with the purity, is making meth attractive again. There is a big difference between the two drugs, however, as noted by a Portland sheriff quoted in the article: “Heroin is a depressant. It shuts you down and you’re not capable of doing a whole lot.” [Meth is a stimulant.] “Tweakers are jacked up. They have lowered inhibitions and are awake 24/7, running around at night, so burglaries become easier.” The National Institute on Drug Abuse has more information on its meth page, including a photo of “meth mouth.” It’s usually used as a white pill or powder, which is bitter. Crystal meth looks like shiny blue-white rocks, or glass fragments. (Remember the blue meth in Breaking Bad?) One thing people may not know about meth use is that it puts you at greater risk “of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B and C, …[which] are transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids.” Also, it can “alter judgment and decision-making leading to risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex, which also increases risk for infection.”
Drug Addiction Treatment Center
The Narconon website describes meth use in frightening terms: “In its manufacture, methamphetamine is processed using harsh, caustic chemicals. As a result, heavy use of this drug is very hard on the user. Additionally, the lifestyle of a methamphetamine user usually creates further damage. All in all, it is one of the most damaging drugs on the illicit market. Repeated use can show up in an irregular heartbeat, rapid heartbeat, mood disturbances, violent, aggressive, paranoid behavior, confusion and insomnia. There may be a rapid deterioration of the person’s behavior or appearance if he or she is a heavy user.” The website also has a Family Guide to Stopping Meth Abuse page that contains a lot of common sense. For example, rehab is key, and not a 28-day program, either (which is true in most cases, no?). An addiction expert interviewed for the meth article at the beginning of this post said that 80 or 90 percent of heroin users use meth as well, so meth needs more attention. “We need to think about substance abuse more broadly,” he advised. Montana, Oklahoma, and Hawaii have also experienced an increase in meth use, and the cartels are now looking to expand to the East Coast because their profit is so low on meth due to its lowered price. In fact, one of the tragedies related to this drug is a story that comes out of South Carolina, where a 20-year-old woman high on meth gouged her eyes out last month. She now wants to try and keep other people off drugs.
For more information on a drug addiction treatment center & rehab programs contact Summit Estate at (866) 569-9391.