The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has estimated that five hundred metric tons of amphetamine-type stimulants are produced, coinciding with almost twenty-five million abusers. The US government reported in 2008 that about thirteen million people over the age of twelve has used meth, with over half a million being regular users of the substance. Meth has a market price in the US of thirteen billion dollars, which corroborates with its high street price, ranging from three to four hundred dollars for a fourth of a gram. Although meth is known for its disastrous side effects such as severe damage to the brain and heart, it helps those suffering with ADHD, narcolepsy, and dietary problemy. Overall, methamphetamine is a perilous stimulant that cripples the lives of its users and bystanders. However, with strong public awareness and education regarding the drug’s deleterious effects, the dilemma of meth exploitation can be stopped.
What is meth? Where did it originate from?
Amphetamine, a dialect of the perilous methamphetamine we know today was first synthesized in Germany in 1887, however, scientists were blinded to its stimulant effects at the time. A few years later in 1893, meth was synthesized in Japan, it was not until 1919 that crystal meth was synthesized, similarly in Japan. At the time, the effects of this drug were not fully understood and were not perceived as dangerous, in turn the drug began to gain its popularity, although it did not fully take off until after the second great war. Methamphetamine was given to troops in wars such as World War II, the Korean Wars, and the Vietnam War to help them attain alertness throughout the battles, gaining an advantage over their counterparts. Additionally, methamphetamine was used during Nazi Germany as Hitler was intoxicated and enjoyed indulging in drugs. However, it was not until he sent Nazis thirty-five million pills of meth, known as Pervitin, which gave them the alertness to stay awake and focused for days at a time, they believed this pill to be just “like coffee.” Soon after World War II, biker gangs in California saw the value of this stimulant and began producing and smuggling it, resulting in them making a hefty profit as the drug was easy to produce and sell. To this day, methamphetamine is very well known and used frequently, especially in densely populated regions such as Miami and California. Methamphetamine also has very limited medical use, but is used largely by women seeking to lose weight as the drug suppresses appetite well. Methamphetamine is referred to as crystal, speed, ice, dope, whizz, chalk, and fast, just to name a few. Meth, usually used as a club drug, taken mostly at rave parties, is a poison that systematically destroys the body. “I tried it once and BOOM! I was addicted,” said a meth addict that lost all that he stood for because of this stimulant. Methamphetamine addiction is single handedly one of the toughest drug addictions to treat and results in death largely because it burns up bodily resources that can only be replenished through frequent consumption of the drug.
Who uses meth? And How?
Studies show that meth users range from thirteen years old to thirty-three users old, although typically, users are within the fifteen to twenty-two year old age gap. Concerning race, African Americans are less likely to use meth than Caucasians. Meth users are predominantly Caucasian, blue collar workers, unemployed, and studying in either high school or college. Methamphetamine is also largely used in Native American communities because the spread of addiction has been widely spread from Mexican Drug Cartels, which is one of their main access sources for the substance. Women are also more likely to consume meth compared to other stimulants like heroin and cocaine because of its appetite suppressing side effect.
Meth can be snorted, smoked, injected, and ingested; statistics concerning the different ways meth is consumed are as follows:
- 3% injest
- 12% snort
- 25% inject
- 60% smoke
How does meth affect the body, mind, relationships, and environment?
Upon the consumption of meth, the heart rate of user increases, along with their breathing patterns. Methamphetamine also releases exceedingly high levels of dopamine, 1100% more than cocaine does. This stimulant effect is also one of the main reasons that this substance is very addictive. However, with time, the brain builds a shield to the substance and the only way to get around this is by the consuming the drug more frequently and in higher doses, at this point the user is addicted and builds a reliance on the drug to feed their body resources. Short term, according to drugfreeworld.org, methamphetamine effects include the following:
- A limited desire for food
- Heightened heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature
- Dilated pupils
- Disorganized sleeping patterns
- Abnormal behavior, possibly violent if permitted
- Hallucinations and irritability
- Panic and psychosis
- Convulsions, seizures, and death
Long term, according to drugfreeworld.org, methamphetamine effects include the following:
- Permanent damage to blood vessels, the brain, and/or the heart
- Liver, kidney, and/or lung damage
- If smoked, the carnage of nose tissues
- If injects, excessive diseases
- Malnutrition which leads to weight loss
- Harsh tooth decay
- Increased psychological dependence
- Effects of Alzheimer’s in the brain
Methamphetamine also plays a considerably large role in disturbing relationships between family members and friends. When on meth, the drug basically controls the body, resulting in unintended physical, mental, and emotional harm. The producing of meth within the household or near others is also significantly dangerous to those near by. Through explosions, fumes, or even waste (one pound of meth results in five pounds of waste) which in turn damages the environment.
How can we lower the consumption and use of methamphetamine not used medically?
According to P.A.C.E representatives, users of methamphetamine have indicated that the drug takes complete control over their body. This is due partially because of the high levels of dopamine that is released through the consumption of the substance. However, if a community is well-educated through a program such as Meth360, methamphetamine use will drop and more awareness will spread through neighboring areas.
Methamphetamine is a perilous stimulant that cripples the lives of its users and those surrounding them. Although, knowing what it is, its effects, and the dangers of its consumption, along with circulation of such information, the use of this drug will decrease and the environment, along with many families coping through the addiction of a loved one, will improve.
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