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The Face of Meth Isn’t Pretty

Methamphetamine, commonly called Meth, is a destructive and highly addictive stimulant. The crystallized form of the drug, crystal meth, has gained notoriety in recent history because of its intense highs and the unmistakable damage that it causes to those who use it. Methamphetamine has a schedule II classification, and once addicted, it is almost impossible to break free of the drug’s control.

MethA small amount of the drug stimulates the user’s mind. The euphoric feeling causes a desire to chase the high. However, the price is systematic destruction of the addicted person’s body. Psychotic behavior is common; memory loss, brain damage, heart malfunctions, and rapid aging are just some of the side effects of meth use.  “Meth mouth” is another visible effect because meth users generally have poor hygiene, plus the drug causes the person’s teeth to decay and eventually fall out. Without professional help, many users will abuse meth until they meet an early grave.

Crystal Meth Powder

This drug often looks like a crystal-laden powder and has no odor. The drug has a bitter taste and dissolves in liquids with ease. The purity of meth determines its color. It is generally white or yellow; in its powdered form pink, gray orange and even brown meth is possible.

It is also available in rock-like chunks that require the flaking of pieces from the chunk. Those flaked pieces resemble shards of glass, which is why you may hear an addict refer to meth as ‘glass’. Besides the powdered and rock forms meth can be compressed into pills. Depending on the user preference, meth can be taken orally, via intravenous injection, snorted through the nose, or smoked.

Production – Maybe in a Home Near Yours

Methamphetamine, unlike many drugs, is not a naturally occurring substance. The drug is fully synthetic. It is commonplace for meth manufacturing to take place in private homes or meth houses. These can be in regular neighborhoods in basements, garages or kitchens, undetected by most people until something goes wrong, such as strong odors, explosions, fires, or the arrival of police.

A variety of amphetamines and/or derivatives are mixed with other chemicals such as drain cleaner, antifreeze, and even battery acid. The goal is to increase the drugs potency. Common medicines used for colds tend to make the base for most fabrication.

Labs explode because the chemicals used are very volatile. The meth ‘cook’ is often high on the drug while cooking up another batch. People are often disfigured or killed because of meth production, and homes nearby meth labs are in constant danger.

From the War Zone to the City Streets

Methamphetamine first began being distributed in 1887 throughout Germany. The Japanese refined the process in 1919, producing a more potent and toxic drug. World War II was fueled by meth:

  • It was widely distributed to U.S. troops so that they could tolerate extended periods without sleep.
  • Kamikaze pilots were often sent to their deaths on a meth high.
  • Japanese citizens became highly addicted when stores of methamphetamine became available to the public.

By 1950, methamphetamine was being touted as a diet aid and psychotropic drug capable of combating depression. Athletes, truck drivers, and college students could easily acquire the drug. Virtually anyone needing a boost of energy would use the drug. 1960 ushered in a new age of inject-able forms of meth and abuse spread.

With an increasing number of Americans strung out on meth the US government finally took measures to control the drug. The production, use, sale and distribution of meth were outlawed except under strict medical supervision and in limited cases. The use of this drug became more constrained, and it was mostly rural communities that felt the effects of rampant addiction.

Around 1990, California became the hub for meth production. Drug cartels set up meth houses that churned out several pounds of the drug a week. For a substance that is used in minute forms, those production levels were massive. As common people learned the poisonous brew that increased meth’s potency, ‘stove top’ labs sprung up worldwide.

America’s Statistics

Methamphetamine has no target audience; it indiscriminately destroys the lives of people of all ages. It is a common culprit at raves and other party scenes. Thought by some to be a harmless ‘party drug’, it can quickly dominate a person’s life.

In 2011 the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported the following statistics for lifetime national use:

  • 4.6 percent of persons 12 and older
  • 3.4 percent of persons 18-25
  • 5.3 percent of persons 26 or older

In 2012 the institute reported that lifetime meth drug use among middle school and high school aged children were at the following rates:

  • 1.3 percent of 8th graders
  • 1.8 percent of 10th graders
  • 1.7 percent of 12th graders

While these figures are a decrease from statistics from four years prior the rates are still alarming. Additionally, the United Nations’ Drug and crime division reported more than 24 million users worldwide.

In some places, such as Hawaii, meth use has climbed to represent as much as 48 percent of the persons who seek assistance with drug abuse. The overall percentage of treatment admissions due to abuse on the mainland U.S. teeters around 10 percent.

Effects of Meth, Super High to Super Low

Once someone has smoked or injected the drug, they are hit with an intense sensation. The first part of a high is called the ‘rush’. When this drug is snorted or swallowed, a less intense overall sense of euphoria is experienced. Thereafter, agitation and violence can ensue. To paint a picture of the cycle, an outline of the stages are below:

  • The rush is the first stage of the high high. This stage is felt for up to 30 minutes, dwarfing similar highs provided by drugs such as crack cocaine. The rush causes increased heart rate and metabolic functions.
  • The high or ‘shoulder’ follows the rush. Users become delusional. They often feel smarter than they are and will start arguments over insignificant issues. They can become hyper-focused on menial activities for hours at a time, like wiping a table or brushing their hair.
  • The binge is normally a sign of serious dependency. In this stage the user is focused solely on maintaining their high. They use more and more of the drug; their natural state is altered dramatically. For a period of three or as much as 15 days they will absorb themselves in achieving a constant high. Their mind and body reach a critical state of hyperactivity. The stage is self-conclusive in that after repeated, nearly constant, drug use they can no longer achieve a high or are too disoriented to obtain one.
  • Tweaking is the perhaps the most sad experience for a meth addict. During this stage users are self-destructive, dangerous and lost. Although they can no longer get high, their bodies are still unable to relax as the drug runs through their system. An addict will often stay awake for days, hallucinate and pick their skin because of the feeling that bugs are crawling under it. At this stage the user is completely disconnected from reality and dangerously psychotic.
  • The crash is inevitable. The users body, exhausted from lack of sleep and food, shuts down. The user falls into a nearly comatose sleep for up to three days.
  • The hangover addicts suffer from is horrific. Their bodies are severely deteriorated. Lack of food or liquids and extended hyperactivity and mental strain lead the addict to seek escape. Sadly, that escape is often more meth. The lost, almost dead look of meth addicts suffering from just a few years of abuse tell a real story of the evil the drug perpetrates on its users.

Meth Withdrawal – A Life on the Line

Withdrawal happens as a result of seeking help or as the result of non-use by a casual user who has become addicted without realizing it. In both cases, as time passes without the drug, a series of events, including depression, loss of energy and discontent or lack of pleasure take over the user’s mind. Withdrawal will drive a user back to the drug, and without help it can be impossible to quit.

Short-Term Side Effects

The effects meth has on the body varies. However, even short-term use is detrimental. Users initially experience a host of side effects including:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature
  • Irregular sleep, disturbed sleep patterns
  • Psychosis, paranoia and panic attacks
  • Increased irritability
  • Hyperactivity
  • False sense of well-being
  • Nausea
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion

It is important to note, even with fist-time use, convulsions seizures and death can occur from high doses of meth. With their judgment clouded, and getting high a priority, a user may not realize or care that their life is on the line.

Long-Term Side Effects

In the long-term, a user’s body is completely decimated. The mind, heart, and brain all suffer. Respiratory system damage plagues those who smoke meth. Abscesses and infection riddle the injection sites of intravenous users. Cartilage and tissue damage of the nose occur in those who sniff it. At best, a meth user will only suffer from a handful of the following symptoms as well; at worst they will have to live with them all:

  • Liver, kidney and lung damage
  • Brain damage and gradual memory loss
  • Severe malnutrition and weight loss
  • Loss of teeth and tooth decay
  • Psychosis and psychological dependence
  • Depression
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Stroke and epilepsy

Looking Into the Eyes of the Truly Lost

Methamphetamine is highly addictive. There is no safe level of casual use as dependency is virtually automatic. Tolerance is easily built, and when more meth is needed to get high more meth will be needed to maintain a feeling of normality. Long stints of drug use, where hour after hour a user uses more and more, exhausts and poisons their body.

To look into the eyes of a meth addict is to see someone truly lost. This drug takes over the mind and removes everything human from its users. They become a shell, detached from reality, stuck in a cycle of repetitive behavior, paranoia and hallucinations.

Meth makes users self-destruct. Unable to piece together rational thoughts, driven on instinct alone, they are doomed without help. Lost in a world where parasites and bugs crawl over their skin and all that matters is their next fix.

If you or someone you know is addicted to meth – seek help. You cannot manage it on your own. Choose while there is still a choice. There is life after meth use.

Call Today for 24/7 Addiction Help: 1 (269) 704-7243