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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.
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By Cheryl Steinberg
A Roman Catholic priest – albeit a former one – seems to have crossed over to the dark side, living out his own little version of Breaking Bad.
Dubbed “Monsignor Meth,” Kevin Wallin, has been given a jail sentence of five-and-a-half years for his part in running a coast-to-coast drug ring in the US.
The 63 year-old would receive meth by mail from California methamphetamine suppliers and then deliver it to a distributor in New York. In a word (or two) drug trafficking.
Oh, and the “reformed” priest had also bought a sex shop in order to launder the money he was making through illegal means.
Wallin, who pleaded guilty to a meth conspiracy charge in 2013, apologized to friends and parishioners in a Hartford, Connecticut court saying, “The day I was arrested was a very good day. It took me out of that situation.”
The former priest has been in jail for 28 months; with time served, he has about three more years of time behind bars.
US District Judge Alfred V Covello sentenced Wallin to 65 months as well as also imposed supervised release for the following five years. The judge told Wallin he could “not ignore [his] decision to infect [the] community” with meth.
“For you, sir, this is an unhappy day,” Covello told Wallin,
However, the judge also said that the letters of support from friends and former parishioners surpassed “anything I have ever seen.”
“It’s a little like attending your own funeral, your own wake,” the judge said.
Kelly Barrett, Wallin’s public defender, said her client “put all his efforts in helping others” while neglecting himself. She requested leniency due to Wallin’s lack of criminal history and that he isn’t to return to crime.
Barrett also cited the Recession in 2008 as a precipitating factor in the former priest’s actions. She added that Wallin was coping with tough times, financially speaking, at the parish around that time.
“He was floundering and overwhelmed,” she said. “The man who had given help to others was unable to accept help.”
Breaking Bad: Catholic Priest Edition
On the other hand, we hear a much different story from Assistant US Attorney Patrick Caruso, who told the judge that Wallin “abandoned his priestly life” and was a meth addict who associated with other meth users.
Despite acknowledging Wallin’s service as a priest and his performing of charitable works, and even admitting that Wallin was “genuinely remorseful,” the prosecutor went on to say that Wallin was the “most culpable,” calling him the head of the meth ring.
“He turned his apartment into a meth den for people to buy meth, to use meth,” he said. “The public didn’t know how he became a stone-cold drug dealer.”
At his sentencing, several people spoke on Wallin’s behalf, including a psychiatrist who works with drug addicts, a church colleague, and several others, asking Covello for leniency.
“We try to judge wisely and justly,” Monsignor Andrew Varga of Westport told the judge. “His human failings got in the way of his better judgment. We ask you to judge wisely and justly.”
If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, please call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist. Substance abuse and addiction can be difficult to understand and sometimes even difficult to spot. But there are options when it comes to treating any of these. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions.
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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.
Drug smugglers are upping their game by using the newest technologies to aid them in getting drugs across the Mexico/U.S. border. In an effort to continue with business as usual, Mexican drug lords have begun using drones in order to deliver the goods.
This became apparent last Tuesday when a drone carrying packages of methamphetamine crashed near the U.S. and Mexico border.
A small unmanned aerial vehicle was discovered by police after receiving an anonymous phone call to report the incident. The downed drone was located in the parking lot of a shopping mall in the Mexican border town of Tijuana. Six packages of meth, weighing more than six pounds, were attached to it. It remains unclear where the drone had come from as well as where it was traveling to.
According to local police, the drone was a Spreading Wings 900 model, which is worth $1400. This model has six propellers and can fly for up to 18 minutes, according to the manufacturer’s website.
Most likely, the drone crashed because it was could not sustain the weight of the drugs and fell to the ground with too much weight.
Mexican Drug Lords Use Drones to Deliver Drugs
In a Facebook post, Mexican authorities said that criminals are trying different strategies and techniques to transport illegal goods to different neighborhoods, and the use of “blind mules” such as drones is one of these ever-evolving strategies.
In fact, drone technology is not really a new tactic for smuggling drugs in this region of the world. Since 2012, it’s been estimated that more than 150 drones have been used to carry cocaine and other narcotics over the border, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. There are also reports that cartel members are beginning to make their own drones as there is an explosion of industry when it comes to drugs all along the border towns of Mexico.
In the past, Mexican drug lords have used a variety of methods to transport drugs, including huge underground tunnel networks between the U.S. and Mexico. Over time the tunnels have become more and more sophisticated, equipped with air vents, lighting and an electric rail system. If drone technology heads the same way, authorities might have a bigger problem on their hands.
In 2013, one of the most sophisticated drug-smuggling tunnels that connected Tijuana, Mexico, to San Diego, was discovered by U.S. authorities.
The tunnel was 35 feet long and about four feet high and three feet wide. It was equipped with lighting, ventilation and an electric rail system.
At the time, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy called the passage a “super tunnel” built by architects and engineers.
“The discovery of today’s tunnel, which we call a super tunnel is the fifth super tunnel we have intercepted since 2010, and tunnel, like those we found in November 2011 were built by engineers and architects.”
Authorities seized 8 1/2 tons of marijuana and 327 pounds of cocaine in connection with the discovery.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, there is a way out. Healing and recovery are possible and you can rebuild a life worth living without the crutch of drugs and alcohol. Call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today.
Author: Justin Mckibben
Methamphetamine is one of the most intimidating drugs out there for addicts and non-addicts alike. The photos of meth users are enough to shock anyone even meth users themselves. So is it true that the US has a meth epidemic? That question may not have the most definitive answer, but it is indisputable that meth is extremely addictive, very destructive, and just all around bad for you, and meth labs are on the rise in certain areas.
The Maine Meth Problem
Law enforcement officials in Maine are currently over-exerted in their resources and manpower in a progressive struggle to stop methamphetamine labs in their state, and it seems that this trend of cook-houses doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime too soon. Officials from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (MDEA) reported that they dismantled 28 labs 2014, which is 12 more than in 2013, and more than 6 times as many in 2011!
That rate of increase is pretty radical, and those numbers do not even include the number of “dump sites” where chemicals and other materials used to make meth are disposed of. Even without that estimate it is probably safe to presume that more and more meth is being produced in the area than ever before, and that alone is a dangerous and volatile situation for Maine.
So you may be asking why is it a problem if the labs are being torn down? It is a victory each time some drugs are taken on the streets, even a little bit. But MDEA spends more than $10,000 of its budget to dismantle each lab individually, and that figure does not include the expenses incurred by local police and firefighters who are also often called into the scene due to the high incident of fires and explosions caused by chemicals that are associated with clearing out and disposing of meth labs.
However, despite the increased number of lab locations, this may not mean what people assume it means at first glance. MDEA officials believe that the rise in lab numbers actually has nothing to do with being part of expanded trafficking in the state, so it’s not that the real-life Breaking Bad crew came in and started up a new empire or anything like that.
They actually attribute the increase in labs being found to improvement in the training procedures for local law enforcement agencies, causing them to have gotten better at finding such operations. One piece of the puzzle that supports this theory is that the treatment levels for meth addiction in Maine having experienced only slight growth over the last few years, and actually runs below the statistics reported back in 2006, according to the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.
Still, the cost of fighting this branch of the ‘war on drugs’ does exists, and the MDEA hopes that they will be getting some assistance for the coming year ahead. The Maine officials are hoping that a $900,000 federal grant will be approved that could provide greater assistance in their efforts to postpone and possibly subdue the growing meth labs in the area. The grant, which the state announced in October 2014, will allow the state to hire 4 new drug agents and buy specialized equipment for first responders to lab sites, making the entire team more efficient in facing the rising meth issue head on.
Currently, the most effective meth addiction treatment is a combination of behavioral therapies such as cognitive behavioral and contingency management interventions. A comprehensive behavioral treatment approach includes behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, drug testing for accountability, and encouragement for clean and sober activities combined with an active aftercare program.
There doesn’t have to be a high concentration of meth labs, or even meth addicts in your area for you to be an addict, and it may seem impossible, but people do it every day and there are those that want to help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-3561