In 2008, the general public learned about the poisonous power of meth through the wildly popular series, Breaking Bad. While the series focused on the business of “cooking” meth, it also showed the horrific effects on individuals, families and whole communities.
Well, meth is back with a vengeance. It’s cheaper and purer than ever before, making it much more lethal. This insidious rise will come with more need for meth addiction treatment.
It’s All Spelled Out in Black and White
Hopefully, the fascination with meth created by Breaking Bad can be duplicated by an awareness of the February New York Times article, “Meth, the Forgotten Killer, Is Back. And It’s Everywhere.” A summary of the key findings from the NYT article include the following points:
- In 2005, Congress passed legislation to restrict the sale of pseudoephedrine, a key meth ingredient.
- The effect on the meth market was effective, but only temporary.
- The market and its “audience” shifted to prescription opioids.
- The opioid crisis has shifted the focus of law enforcement and the medical profession from illegally manufactured drugs to prescription drugs.
- The Mexican cartels have picked up the slack on meth production, flooding the market with a purer, more deadly product at wholesale prices.
- With the Southwest and the Northwest being ground zero for meth addiction, nearly 6,000 people died from stimulant abuse (mostly from meth) in 2015, a 255% increase from 2005, as reported by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
- There are fewer antidotes for meth as there are for prescription opioids (Naloxone) and heroin (Methadone).
It’s absolutely frightening, but it’s out there, it’s real and will be seen at a recovery treatment center near you. In fact, our own South Florida communities reflect the nationwide trend. Law enforcement reports indicate that in 2016 of the 621 people who died from drug overdose in Florida, half had meth in their systems.
So What Is Meth and It’s Addictive Appeal?
Meth is short for methamphetamine, a powerful stimulant with devastating mental and medical effects. It has many names, including chalk, crank, crystal, glass, tweak, ice and Tina. It can be used in a number of ways: orally, injected or smoked. It has gained a reputation for its intense, though brief, high. Addiction is common because the more meth is used, the higher the tolerance.
The Signs Are Clear and the Consequences Catastrophic
Parents of young adults need to know about the indications of meth abuse and the long-term affects. It’s quite possible to mistake signs of meth addiction for mental health issues. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), meth addicts may show signs of paranoia, as well as obsessive, aggressive and hallucinatory behavior.
Outward signs include skin scratching and picking (trichotillomania) and dental issues. (Many meth addicts on the previously mentioned Breaking Bad exhibited rotting teeth.) Other medical implications are profound and, as documented in the NYT article, fatal. Addiction may lead to convulsions, changes in brain structure, stroke, heart attack and death.
What Can You Do About Meth Addiction?
As noted above, knowing the signs of crystal meth addiction is a start. As detailed in another blog about addiction in young adult children, keeping the lines of communication open with your child, family member, friend or co-worker is critical. Assuming you have established a good relationship with this person, you can ask open-ended, non-judgmental questions that lead to productive conversations. Of course, you should familiarize yourself with meth addiction treatment and identify a recovery treatment center for professional help.
Cornerstone Recovery Center equips parents, families and loved ones with the tools and strategies they need to support those dealing with drug and alcohol addiction. For more information about our approach to recovery treatment, please contact our admissions counselor online or call 888-711-0354 today. All communications with our staff are confidential.