(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant drug commonly referred to as meth. It is used by roughly 4% of the population of the U.S., with recent reports showing meth using rising in areas around the country.
- 2012- 440,000 people reported using meth
- 2014- 569,000 people reported using meth
That is a 29% increase in just two years!
- 2014- 3,700 overdose deaths were caused by meth
- 2015- 4,900 overdose deaths were caused by meth
- 2016- 7,700 overdose deaths were caused by meth
Recent statistics indicate that meth is one of the most commonly used drugs in America. This illicit chemical substance is a Schedule II drug, with an elevated potential for:
- Long-term health issues
Using this drug is not only illegal but extremely dangerous for both mental health and physical health. Meth addiction can lead to some very serious organ problems, and can even be fatal. The risks associated with meth addiction only get worse the longer that someone uses it. More damage is done to the organs and the risks of developing other health issues continued to increase.
Meth is a highly addictive drug, and meth addiction can be very difficult to overcome without safe medical detox, professional treatment, and continued support. Due to the risks of meth use, one should not wait to get help. But how do you know someone has a meth addiction?
Here are 11 signs and side effects of meth addiction to watch out for.
Xerostomia, commonly known as dry mouth, is a well-known side-effect of meth addiction. The mouths own saliva contains antibacterial properties that naturally help to maintain oral hygiene. When someone has a chronic dry mouth, less saliva is produced, causing more exposure to bacteria. “Meth mouth” is when dry mouth from meth use causes thing like:
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Tooth loss
Regular issues with oral hygiene such as these may be an indication of frequent meth use.
A common side effect of long-term meth addiction is experiencing hallucinations. This may not mean they are currently under the influence of the drug. Hallucinations are not only visual either. Some people who hallucinate due to meth use experience:
- Disturbing images or people who aren’t there
- Hear phantom sounds and voices
- Smell odors
- Fell phantom sensations
Sometimes the hallucinated sensations can lead to other side effects.
A side effect of meth use is severe itching, which can cause intense scratching that creates huge, red, open sores on the skin. The sores can happen even after the first use. Typically they show up on:
This is because the chemicals used to make meth can dry out the skin. But the itching and scratching fits can also be caused by hallucinations created by the chemicals in the drug. Some users will think there are bugs on, or even beneath their skin.
Meth addiction is frequently connected to aggressive behavior and even bursts of violence. Studies conducted among meth users have determined that:
- 56% of meth uses admit the drug causes them to commit violence
- 59% reported specific violent criminal behaviors, such as robbery and homicide
This powerful stimulant can exaggerate aggression. If you or a loved one exhibits uncharacteristically violent outbursts, it may be a sign of serious meth addiction.
A signature side effect of most stimulants is that they prominently influence the central nervous system, giving an individual an energy boost. Due to the heightened sense of alertness, meth addiction often causes sleep disturbances and insomnia.
Many meth users report to staying awake for several days or even weeks at a time. Eventually, they may experience an intense crash for two or three days between extended periods of intense stimulation.
As meth continues acting on the central nervous system, the stimulant typically makes someone feel more nervous or anxious on a constant basis.
- Evidence shows roughly 75% of meth users have experience anxiety disorders
Anxiety is one of the most commonly reported psychiatric symptoms of people addicted to meth.
Along with the effects of the stimulant on energy levels, meth also influences the part of the brain that controls rational thinking and emotional responses. Once this chemical acts on the brain, it can create an imbalance that causes paranoid thoughts to creep in. Other side-effects of meth can actually make it worse, including:
- Increased Aggression
These various factors can contribute to a growing sense of paranoia, which could be an indication of severe meth use.
Because of the effects of using meth on the brain, the stimulant also causes emotional imbalance. Some studies show:
- 48% of meth users struggle with depression
The imbalance in brain chemicals for altering and controlling a person’s mood can lead to other mental health disorders, including bipolar disorder.
Weakened Immune System
The use of meth has been connected to higher rates of inflammation and cell damage. These side effects cause many meth users to have weakened immune systems. This decreased immunity makes meth addicts more vulnerable to illnesses and diseases. Meth users suffer high rates and are at higher risk of illnesses like:
- Staph infection/MRSA
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
These are a few examples of why someone recovering some meth should seek professional medical treatment.
As mentioned, the potential damage caused by meth only gets worse the longer it is used. Extended meth addiction can damage blood vessels in the brain can cause fatal side effects, including:
Data has also shown meth can decrease gray matter in the brain, which increased the risk of memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease.
Methamphetamine is commonly cut with various chemicals that are very toxic to the body. These toxins put vital organs through a lot of stress, which can lead to organ failure. A very dire sign of meth addiction is organ failure, especially regarding:
- Liver failure
- Kidney failure
Too much meth containing toxins that cannot be properly filtered or processed can cause organs to permanently shut down or cease to function, which can ultimately lead to death.
Meth Addiction Treatment
All the damage caused by meth and the chemicals combined with it should not be underestimated. This is why it is purposely suggested that those trying to recover from meth should seek out a safe medical detox in order to properly diagnose and treat related issues, and avoid further health complications. Look for a professional and personalized program that is right for you.
Beyond the physical harm, comprehensive addiction treatment should include cognitive behavioral therapy and other holistic and innovative treatment options. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, do not wait. Please call toll-free now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Harm reduction is one method of addressing the nation’s drug issue that may seem to some as a philosophy of enabling, while to others it makes sense to offer safe alternatives to individuals who abuse drugs because these strategies can prevent the spread of disease and the damage to the community. It was estimated that 2015 would be a big year for harm reduction, as many suspected that drug policy reform would reshape the landscape in the wake of the “failed war on drugs” while there were efforts being actively put forth to alleviate the suffering caused by the opiate epidemic.
Needle exchange programs are one way that harm reduction can be implemented in a community. Supplying clean needles and safe disposal sites for addicts to use keeps them from sharing needles infected with disease, and now one kind of needle exchange program is changing the game.
In Seattle the volunteers behind a needle exchange are now handing out meth pipes to drug users for free as well. So is this the same kind of harm reduction being utilized to keep people safer, or is this just negligence at an all-time high?
Meth Pipe Program
It seems some think harm reduction means catering to more than just needles. This strange meth pipe program was launched by a group called The People’s Harm Reduction Alliance about 2 months ago, and is offered 5 days per week off an alley next to a church in Seattle’s University District.
About 25 to 30 meth pipes are handed out each day, and according to the executive director of the alliance Shilo Murphy, the demand for the free meth pipes has been growing ever since. The theory behind the program is that by handing out the pipes, some drug users will rely less on needles, which in turn helps to cut down on the risk of certain diseases in the community. Murphy stated:
“People kept coming to our program and saying that they were getting syringes because they didn’t have access to a pipe.”
So in essence this program has tried to circumvent the whole needle issue by giving users access to another method of ingesting their drugs that put them at a much more decreased risk of infection.
Many former addicts are actively involved in these movements to try and help change things in the community. Some even say that this program also helps those who have never used needles, because it is still possible to spread diseases by sharing pipes if there are open wounds in the mouth present. Regg Thomas, a drug user for the past 20 years who currently works with the Urban Survivors Union stated:
“Whatever the reason is why both parties don’t have their own… They wind up sharing. Well, this program has prevented that because all it takes is a cut orally and you’ve transmitted a disease possibly,”
Whether the theory for the program actually works is still up for debate.
So we have seen how harm reduction can help, and I can even begin to understand how this might actually be a useful tactic for addressing a local drug issue, BUT according to state law handing out drug paraphernalia like the pipes is still illegal in Seattle. And Murphy said he knows that, but he disputes that so was syringe exchange 25 years ago. And yet Seattle has syringe exchange programs and it’s proven to be one of the biggest advantages they’ve had for fighting HIV infections through injection drug use in the state.
Even though it’s illegal under state law to give someone certain kinds of drug paraphernalia, police said they’re more concerned with what’s put into the pipes and not necessarily the pipes themselves.
Making a Real Difference
It isn’t all about the bureaucracy for those involved in this movement. It seems this is more about making a real difference and less about placating to the drug users to enable them. Murphy said this is the first program of its kind in the nation, and he believes it has not just reduced risk behaviors, but it has helped get various users tested for Hepatitis C.
But Murphy does not stop with handing someone a pipe and telling them have fun. The program lets drug users pick up wound care kits and get crucial information about treatment options. Murphy insisted:
“By engaging them, we gave people self-worth… Give back people’s desire to live better in life and live better in society,”
It seems that even though it is technically outside the realm of the law, this program could actually inspire similar changes as far as officials and organizations stepping up to keep citizens safer and more informed as drug addicts instead of labeling them all criminals and locking them up.
I have to say, harm reduction programs to me always seem like an awful idea at first because I believe in abstinence and a program of recovery, but these programs aren’t ever meant to be permanent solutions, only temporary effective vehicles to get individuals the help they need and provide safe and educational support for them until they are willing to get the help. It may sound like it is enabling, and it some ways I guess it is, but it’s saving lives and at least offering an opportunity most would never know about. Maybe harm reduction has more potential than we are currently using.
Enabling addicts to keep using is not a good personal decision, but at the same time putting in place a system to keep the community safe from the spread of disease or more dangerous circumstances is important, especially if it gets people the help they need. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
The art of film making is one that is constantly used to pull us into another world. Often a compellingly different perception of the world we live in, films express to us the various sides of many diverse lives we may not understand. A movie relates to us by showing us emotional connections to people that experience things we don’t, or by giving us a new view of an experience we’ve had. They teach and inspire us, and some can tie it all together with 1 word.
Drug and alcohol addiction isn’t necessarily a glamorous topic, but it is a common element in many infamous movies. These 1 word titles sum up a lot about addiction in a variety of ways, and they speak volumes to the stories they tell.
Director Jonas Âkerlund created what has been commonly labeled as a dark comedy with the title SPUN, although some wonder if it is even a comedy or just plain dark. The story takes place in Eugene, Oregon over a three-day-period set to the back-drop of trailers, motel rooms, and meth labs. The cast features John Leguizamo and Mickey Rourke and follows the lives of methamphetamine users, producers, and dealers. Brittany Murphy
Made in 2002, the story avoids any noticeable moral position to the point that some have called the film “smugly amoral.” So one could relate this to the idea of addicts being unwilling to acknowledge the obvious problems present in their lives.
Photo Via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smashed_(film)
This 2012 film was made as a peak at what happens when marriage and addiction go hand-in-hand. In SMASHED our main character Kate (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is an elementary school teacher who has an alcohol-dependent and crack-cocaine-dabbling relationship with her husband Charlie (played by Aaron Paul). It is a story about Kate’s realization that she need to change her life, and through sobering up her marriage begins to deteriorate.
So we see a loving couple get “smashed”, and in doing so smashing their relationship.
PURE was helmed by Scottish director Gillies MacKinnon back in 2002 that became a double prize winner at the Berlin International Film Festival. PURE takes a very ugly look at the struggles of a 10-year old boy in London named Paul (Harry Eden) who tries to hold together the facade of a normal life after his father’s death, while trying to take care of his younger brother in the face of his mother’s heroin addiction. Keira Knightley stars as a pregnant heroin addict Paul befriends.
This heartbreaking film seems to dive into the toll addiction can take on a family, especially for the children of an addict. At one point the character Paul even locks his mother in a room attempting to force her to detox, and she unleashes upon him all manner of insults. Just a glimpse into the world of the suffering a child can experience.
This is definitely one most people have seen or heard of. One of the more recent and well-known movies on the list, FLIGHT has been recognized for being a Hollywood film that surprisingly honest account of addiction. The main character, Whip Whitaker (played by the always amazing Denzel Washington) is a hopeless addict who struggles daily with alcohol and cocaine, and finds himself thrust into the spotlight as a hero pilot who saves a nearly doomed flight through his mad upside-down pilot skills, which actually puts his drug and drinking problems in the spotlight as well, and sure enough drama ensues.
Washington has been celebrated in this role for portraying the character without the same old stigma-encouraging stereotypes. This film looks at how addiction can impact not only an individual’s personal life, but also can create an issue professionally, at a public level or otherwise.
Now to the movie with the MOST feels, and probably my favorite on the list…
CANDY is an amazing movie for many reasons. For one- there are 2 main characters and narrators throughout the film you can’t help but feel for. It stars Health Ledger as Dan (nuff said) the art student, and Abbie Cornish as Candy. The two are lovers who become frantically addicted to each other… and heroin. It honestly surprises me how many people I talked to while writing this who said they had never seen this movie. So if you haven’t, you are missing out on a spectacular story.
This 2006 Australian film is adapted from Luke Davies’ novel, Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction. The film’s divided into three parts:
All is good in the world and our two star-crossed lovers are using drugs and living without a care (or so it seems).
Times for Dan and Candy start to get a little rougher as reality sets in and the high doesn’t come as easy as it used to.
The two lovers are torn apart and pitted against each other as one tragedy after another breaks them down deeper into the depressing desperation of their addictions.
CANDY has a special place in my heart because ironically enough, I felt as though I lived it. I actually watched it a lot in active addiction with someone I experienced a lot of the themes of the film with, and I can’t watch it today without it yanking at my heart-strings.
CANDY shows us in various levels of intensity how life and love can be shattered when addiction is an intrinsic part of a romance. It puts on display the highs and lows in a realistic way, and it breaks your heart over and over to show the insanity of it all, and how good and caring people can get lost in it all. I highly recommend this film, and feel like the characters relationship and the 3 stages are excellent as a parallel to the progression of active addiction, including one of the film’s most simple and true lines:
“When you can stop, you don’t want to. When you want to stop, you can’t”
Addiction is a powerful disease, that comes disguised in many forms and infects our lives in so many ways, and countless artists have tried to express the heartbreaking and often lethal impact is drugs and alcohol can have on every aspect of human life. Our families, our relationships, our dreams and desires are not out of addictions reach, but there is help to overcome that barrier to a new expression and experience of life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help, you are not alone.
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Here it is 2014: The Year in Celebrity Drug News…
#1. Creed’s Scott Stapp Has Public Meltdown, Fueled By Drugs
Last November, the lead singer of Creed, Scott Stapp, posted a rambling Facebook video in which he claimed he was broke and homeless due to an IRS error. Stapp has insisted that he’s sober, but has displayed disturbing behavior as of late: he had placed numerous calls to 9-1-1 rambling about terrorist attacks and left a voicemail to the principal of his son’s school, declaring that the school would soon be the victim of an attack from ISIS. Stapp was placed on an involuntary psych hold in November and has since reportedly lost custody of his children.
Wife Jaclyn declared that Stapp was now abusing amphetamines, crystal meth and steroids. His 16-year-old son, Jagger, posted on Twitter that “my father once again chose drugs over his family. He needs help, but refuses to get it. He’s been on a 9 week binge.”
In an interview with The Fix in December 2013, he said he had been sober for over three years, barring sporadic relapses.
#2. Chris Brown Gets Kicked Out Of Rehab and Sent To Jail
Chris Brown ended up in jail last March after being kicked out of court-ordered rehab. Brown was on probation for assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009 when he violated, being arrested in October 2013 for felony assault after getting into a fight outside of a hotel in Washington, D.C. He was then ordered to rehab.
Brown was kicked out of the facility after he refused to take a drug test and also for leaving the facility without authorization, among other infractions. He was sentenced in May to 131 days behind bars, including time already served, but was released the following month after serving 108 days.
#3. Philip Seymour Hoffman Dies of Drug Overdose
The well-known and highly acclaimed actor and director tragically died in his NYC apartment last February. Hoffman had attended rehab at age 22 after graduating from NYU and remained sober for 23 years. In May 2013, Hoffman completed a 10-day detox after admitting he had been abusing pills for over a year and heroin for about a week.
Mr. Hoffman was found with a syringe still in his arm and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Police found nearly 50 envelopes of heroin marked “Ace of Spades,” 20 used syringes in a plastic cup, several bags containing an unknown white powder and various prescription drugs.
#4. Phil Rudd Charged With Drug Possession, Murder Plot
The drummer for the prolific rock band AC/DC was charged last November with possession of methamphetamine and marijuana and his alleged drug use may have led to the far more serious charge of planning a murder plot.
Rudd was arrested in New Zealand for allegedly plotting a double-murder and even hiring a hitman. This led to a police raid of his home, which led to finding the drugs. Rudd faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted for murder conspiracy, but has denied the accusations against him, calling them “ludicrous” and vowed that “I’m going back to work with AC/DC, and I don’t care who likes it and who doesn’t.”
#5. Jackie Chan’s Son Arrested On Drug Charges
Jaycee Chan, 32, was arrested in August after a police raid of his Beijing home, along with Taiwanese actor Kai Ko. Chinese media reported that 100 grams of pot were confiscated from his home, leading to a formal charge of Jaycee using his home as a “shelter” for others to take drugs in. It was also reported that Jackie Chan’s son tested positive for marijuana at the time of his arrest.
The trial is expected to begin next year and he could face three years in prison if convicted on all charges.
#6. Michael Phelps Busted For DUI Again, Enters Rehab
Michael Phelps was busted for drunken driving once again on Sept. 30, ten years after his first DUI. The Olympic gold medalist was pulled over for driving 84 mph in a 40 mph zone and failed a series of roadside sobriety tests. Phelps was Breatholized and blew a .14, nearly double the legal limit.
As a result, Phelps was suspended from competition for six months, in addition to pulling him from the Long Course World Championship Team. Phelps quickly responded, announcing that he would be going to rehab.
“I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself,” he wrote on Twitter. Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual.” He has since completed rehab and is back training for competitions next year.
#7. Peaches Geldof Follows Mom’s Fate, Dies From Drug Overdose
British socialite and TV presenter Peaches Geldof died in April from a heroin overdose. Geldof’s death played out in the same her mother’s did. Paula Yates died at age 41 from a heroin overdose in 2000.
The socialite had struggled with substance abuse throughout her life and had been receiving drug treatment in the two years before she died. Her final interview before her death showed Geldof revealing that she being a mother had been a “healing process” to help her “correct those awful parts of my childhood.”
#8. Justin Bieber Busted For DUI
In Miami last year, the Canadian singer was arrested and charged with drunk-driving, resisting arrest and driving without a valid license after being pulled over in a rented Lamborghini. Bieber was initially pulled over after being caught racing at speeds of 60 mph in a 30 mph zone. After failing a roadside sobriety test, he admitted to consuming alcohol, smoking marijuana and using prescription drugs prior to getting behind the wheel.
In the months following this incident, there have been rumors of him being addicted to marijuana and Sizzurp; however, it seems that Bieber, in an effort to start over, has been seen attending Bible classes, as well as taking up tennis and cycling.
#9. Scott Disick Enters Rehab
The father of Kourtney Kardashian’s children was seen entering rehab this year during an episode Kourtney & Khloe Take the Hamptons, which aired last monthDuring a previous episode from November, Disick was heavily intoxicated, falling over and having difficulty forming sentences. His bodyguard had to physically pick him up and carry him to bed and Disick was still under the influence the next morning. Disick then asks his friend if they can take more sleeping pills together.
Disick entered rehab for five days, admitting that he had been using alcohol to cope with the recent deaths of his parents. He reportedly stopped drinking cold turkey afterwards.
#10. Lil Za Arrested Twice In One Day
The aspiring rapper who used to stay in Justin Bieber’s mansion managed to get arrested twice in one day this January. Lil Za (real name: Zavier Smith) was first arrested for drug possession after police found cocaine during a raid of Bieber’s home in California, which was done in connection with a felony search warrant. Reports later stated that the confiscated drugs were actually Molly and Xanax. Police cleared Bieber of any connection to them. Lil Za was then re-arrested for vandalism charges after reportedly smashing a phone inside his holding cell. His bail was increased from $20,000 to $70,000, but he posted it and was then released.
Addiction is a disease that can affect anyone, regardless, of age, gender, class, ethnicity, religion, or creed. Help in the form of specially-designed treatment is available and recovery from addiction is possible. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today.
The abuse of amphetamines and methamphetamine, such as crystal meth, is quite serious and therefore amphetamine and methamphetamine abuse treatment is available to those who struggle with one or both of these drugs.
Amphetamine and Methamphetamine: What’s the Difference?
In a nutshell: one molecule.
That’s right; amphetamines, like Ritalin, Dexedrine, and Adderall are kissing cousins with meth. Besides that one little molecule, the other difference is that the use of one is socially-acceptable and legal (amphetamines) and the other is considered ‘dirty’ as well as being illegal.
The chemical difference between the two boils down allows meth cross the blood-brain barrier a little faster, giving it that extra ‘kick’ when compared to its legal version. After that, meth breaks down fast into dextroamphetamine, the dominant salt in Adderall, which just so happens to be America’s leading ADHD drug and favorite study drug.
There are a whole slew of reasons behind the whole “good” amphetamine versus “bad” methamphetamine but, actual chemistry isn’t one of them. There is very little difference between Adderall and street speed that really comes down to politics and the almighty dollar. As you might have guessed, Big Pharma is the driving force behind these politics.
Amphetamine and Methamphetamine Abuse Treatment: Detox
The first step in the process of your amphetamine and methamphetamine abuse treatment is a medical detox. During this stage, individuals are given a confidential assessment in order to find out what drugs and how much is currently in your system, as well as the length of time you have been using so-called study drugs and/or meth.
Typically people are required to take a drug test and meet with an intake counselor to give a brief drug history to help with the initial assessment, and again all the results and information you share are kept confidential. These tests are done in order to make a treatment plan that will best serve your specific needs. Plus if there is any other potential for risk then the staff would want to be aware in order to make sure all of your medical needs are met.
During the detox period of amphetamine and methamphetamine abuse treatment, everything will be done to assure you are kept comfortable. Meals and other needs provided and may be given medication to assist you in your detox from stimulant drugs in both a safe and comfortable way.
Amphetamine and Methamphetamine Abuse Treatment: Inpatient Treatment
Also called “rehab,” this makes up the bulk of your time spent in treatment – about 30 days. Rehab offers you safe haven while starting to build a foundation for your recovery from amphetamines and methamphetamine. Some stimulant drug addiction treatment programs last longer, from weeks to months longer for those who want to get as much professional treatment as possible.
During your amphetamine and methamphetamine abuse treatment, you will continue to have your needs addressed while living in the residences provided. These residences have access to all the facilities you will need to make your stay confrontable and convenient. Inpatient rehab consists of both individual and group therapy sessions where you will learn about substance abuse and gain the tools – healthy coping methods – to incorporate into your new, healthy lifestyle so that you don’t need to be physically and psychologically dependent on drugs.
Abusing drugs of any kind causes changes to brain chemistry and even to brain structures, making it ever more difficult to stop on your own. There’s lots of good news about this, though. First, even though drugs profoundly affect the brain and body, healing and full recovery is possible. Secondly, help is available in the form of amphetamine and methamphetamine abuse treatment programs that specialize in helping you recovery. Cal toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to find out more.