“Crystal”, the street name for the infamously potent and potentially deadly drug methamphetamine, has been used and abused by young people and adults for years even though the evidence against its use is “Crystal” clear. This drug is extremely addictive and dangerous and should be avoided by all. Crystal Meth has already taken countless lives and destroyed entire communities directly from its use and indirectly from exposure to the chemicals used to produce the deadly drug and from explosions of the many make shift Crystal Meth labs. Crystal methamphetamine has already displaced thousands of families and cost tax payers millions of dollars in treatment and medical cost for abuse and addiction, not to mention the cost of law enforcement and clean up of the labs. Although the cost of cleanup of meth labs has dropped considerably, the taxpayers still foot the bill. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency it costs approximately $1500 to $3000 to clean up each meth lab discovered. Although it shows positive progress meth lab cleanup is still a bill we the taxpayers can do without.
Crystal Methamphetamine can lead to a number of physical, psychological, and social problems. Long term use can and will lead to abuse and addiction. Crystal meth does not discriminate by color, race, creed, economic or social class or status. This drug has attracted, addicted and killed an indiscriminant number of individuals from all walks of life. It can be found everywhere in America at any given time. Men or women, in rural or urban communities this drug cares for no one and has no feeling who or where you come from.
Crystal meth goes by many names; crystal meth, “crank,” “Tina,” “ice,” speed and many other slang terms. Whatever you call it the results are all the same, jails, institutions or death. For more than fifty years this drug has been abused by young and old Americans. Users have reported that the first hit is all that is needed to hook you. Once you taste it and feel the euphoric feeling of a Crystal meth high there is no turning back. Users lose their inhibition and are willing risking their lives engaging in uninhibited sexual behavior. According to the www.thebody.com it is important that the Gay and Bisexual community be well informed about Crystal meth abuse and its connection to the spread of HIV. Because HIV has a high concentration in these communities information about methamphetamine addiction and the other dangers of the drug should be made easily available. Also, the potential for the spread of HIV should be emphasized in these areas because of the risky sexual behavior that accompanies the use of Crystal meth. For example; in 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that “over 40% of gay men in San Francisco had tried crystal methamphetamine and that close to one-third of new HIV seroconversions occurred in men who had used the drug.” It was also reported that the same patterns where noted in other “large gay centers” such as New York City, Miami, and “Atlanta.” (Gay Men’s Health Crisis. www.gmhc.org and www.methlife.org)
The Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse
There are many effects of methamphetamine abuse and addiction. As I stressed earlier in the article, not only is the user affected by the use and abuse of Crystal meth, the family and friends of the users are affected as well. Abusers affects include weight loss, sleeplessness, hallucinations, paranoia, problem with their skin, and even dental problems (meth mouth). Meth users have been known to become extremely violent and emotionally unstable. Anti-social behavior is common among meth users. So much so many isolate themselves totally. Meth abuser can take a serious financial toll on the abuser and their family and friends. Legal problems are an obvious symptom and effect of meth abuse as the users may either be arrested for using it or for selling or for other crimes related to obtaining the drug. The psychological effects of meth can be irreparable. Many have suffered irreversible psychiatric problems from long term meth abuse.
According to statics www.methlife.org “Over 22 million individuals have a substance dependence or abuse problem in the United States.” Of those it is estimated that over 10 million Americans ranging in age from 12 to adulthood have used methamphetamine at least one time. And over 15,000 have died from incidents associated with stimulants in America. The number of methamphetamine treatment admissions to Emergency Departments increased in 2004 to more than 150,000. This number represents 8 percent of all drug-related admissions. In 1992 just five states reported high rates of methamphetamine/amphetamine treatment admissions. By 2002, that number increased to 21 states. That is a startling one third of the United States. (National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).
Meth and Children
Meth is especially devastating to the family because the children who are involved suffer the most. In a 2005 article the Tri-City Herald reported that the foster care system had 62 percent increase in its population. This was attributed to methamphetamine abuse and addiction. Less than a third of meth addicted parents ever get their children back. This is but a few of the family affects of meth abuse.
But not all the news about methamphetamine abuse is bleak. There are some promising signs. According to the Alcohol and Drug Institute at the University of Washington, treatment submissions for meth increased in 1998 and by 2001 the number of people admitted to treatment doubled. It is reported that in 2001 there were over “6,200 admissions in all facilities in Washington” statewide (ADAI, 2004).
If you have a friend or family member who is using Crystal meth and you want to help them you must understand that methamphetamine addicts are difficult to get into treatment. Meth treatment is different from other drugs. Many drug treatment program directors believe that meth addicts require a longer treatment program than those addicted to other substances. The fact of the matter is Crystal Methamphetamine abuse addiction remains a serious problem and there is help. The only way we will combat this problem is by working together.
“Working together with law enforcement officials helps us help them handle the amount of Methamphetamine that ends up staying and being used in Georgia.” Says Mary Rieser Director of ARC of Georgia. “It’s also reassuring to people struggling with Meth addiction and gives them hope that there is a way to handle the drug trade and their addiction permanently. Get the facts and get help.