The Methamphetamine Epidemic
Meth: Major central nervous system stimulant with a high potential for abuse
Forms of Meth: “crank” or “speed” consists of tiny granules that have the appearance of powder, usually of a yellow appearance.
“Crystal meth” or “ice” is a form of meth that consists of large crystals that have the appearance of rock candy.
Traditionally associated with white, male blue collar workers. Use is initiated at a younger age. More popular among women than other drugs (super mom and diet aid.)
Perceived desirable effects:
Provides energy, increases alertness, lessens desire and ability to sleep, increases sexual arousal, increases stamina and enhances endurance, reduces appetite, induces sense of self confidence, focuses thinking, distorts perception of time.
Increases heart rate and blood pressure; increases shallow breathing, raises internal body temperature, causes sweating, decreases appetite, enlarges pupils, causes dry mouth and bad breath, pounding headaches, increases motor activity.
Low self esteem, lack of intimacy, mood disorders, anxiety, sleep disorders, cognitive impairment, amphetamine-induced psychosis.
Meth and the brain:
Permanent damage to cognitive abilities: normal brain – 7% of the dopamine in the brain is depleted every 10 years versus 40 years’ worth of dopamine depleted in 2 years in a meth user.
Stages of Meth use:
1. Rush: 4 – 12 hours extreme high
2. Tweaking: 8 – 12 hours depending on dose and purity – teeth grinding, dilated pupils, bad breath, severe paranoia, jerking, “meth bugs”
3. Binging: 3 – 15 days long; ends when use stops producing a rush
4. Crashing: Withdrawal effect – extreme exhaustion, sleep disorder, suicidal ideation, increased anxiety, using downs to alleviate withdrawal