Did you know that meth is a synthetic derivative of adrenaline? Adrenaline increases energy and alertness during times of stress or anxiety. One major difference is that adrenaline clears the body quickly, whereas meth may take as long as six to eight hours and depending on the strength and the individual’s makeup, one puff for the first “high” could last as long as 24 hours.
Meth was once considered a legitimate drug for weight loss and attention deficit disorder (ADD). However, once the medical professionals realized its addictive qualities, it was no longer used except in certain over-the-counter inhalers and in low doses.
There are two sides to meth determined by their molecular structure. The right side has powerfully addictive properties while the left side is the one used in inhalers.
Because it is so easy to use, cheap to manufacture and widely available, meth is now considered to be the biggest pandemic facing the country, possibly the world.
There are at least 1.5 million Americans addicted to meth and over 12 million have admitted to using it, but are not considered addicted.
Meth is without a doubt the most addictive drug on the market and is capable of causing severe brain and organ damage, as well as unusual behavioral changes.
Law enforcement officials rank meth as the top drug problem in the United States and the most dangerous. All 50 states have uncovered meth labs with Missouri having the highest number with over 8,000 at one time on record.
How long does it take for meth to enter the bloodstream? It depends on how it’s taken. Ingesting or swallowing takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Snorting takes about 5 to 10 minutes before anything happens. But if meth is injected or smoked, the rush effect is instantaneous.
Medical officials say the drug has seduced whole families and turned them into zombies.
If you suspect a family member or friend is addicted what should you look for? Here are 20 warning signs:
Quantity control — A higher tolerance leads to increased quantity and frequency, especially with prescription drugs and alcohol.
Hide and seek — Addicts tend to develop a network of hiding places to stash drugs, paraphernalia and or alcohol.
The disappearing act — Addicts will sell anything from cameras to jewelry to antiques to get money to support their habit. Watch for disappearing items.
A head start — Alcoholics need more drinks than the usual social drinker so may begin the party before anyone else gets started.
Tricks and manipulation — Addicts and alcoholics use the divide and conquer theory to manipulate their family and friends through half truths and confessions.
The money magnet — Just about any unusual money behavior should send up a red flag.
The clear choice — For alcoholics it’s all about deception. By putting a clear form of booze in water or other beverages, no one can detect its presence. Vodka is the favorite.
Missing in action — One needs to be aware of family or friends who forget appointments or important family gatherings, maybe show up to work or school late.
A narrower world — Loss of interest in sports or social activities may be a signal that something isn’t right.
Magic bottles — A bottle of booze that never seems to get emptied might indicate a heavy drinker.
Can I try the diet you’re on? — Unexplained weight loss could be an indicator of drug abuse.
Squeaky clean — Overuse of certain products such as breath mints or gum might mean someone is trying to hide something.
The bathroom game — Addicts will make excuses to use the bathroom and if there is more than one available they will find a reason to use them all in an effort to go through medicine cabinets, closets and drawers.
Mood management — Unstable and unpredictable mood changes are the hallmark of any addiction.
Sleeping sickness — Alcohol is a “downer” and so are many drugs. Addicts may want to sleep an unusual amount of time. This could also signal that a drug abuser is crashing.
Pain that never ends — If someone you know to be otherwise healthy and begins to complain about chronic back pain and asks for narcotics should be monitored very closely. Some addicts may go to more than one doctor to get prescriptions for pain meds.
Sickness without cause — Watch for loss of energy, fatigue or depression, that comes on quickly and without cause as an indication of addiction.
Paranoia and panic attacks — Those who abuse alcohol and drugs may develop anxiety or feelings of nervousness especially in public situations.
The storyteller — Overuse of drugs and or alcohol may cause memory lapses or even blackouts. An addict will make up a story to cover his/her tracks.
The blame game — In an effort to deny an addiction, the addict will blame everyone but themselves for their situation.
MSN Health and Fitness – Medications
Newsweek – America’s Most Dangerous Drug
M Addiction.com an online recovery resource
Meth Addiction and Recovery – Crystal Meth Addiction
Meth Addiction: Treatment-centers.net
For questions or more information on the Gila County Meth Coalition, contact chair, Claudia DalMolin at the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, (928) 425-4440; co-chair, Bianca DalMolin at (928) 701-1790; facilitator, Misty Cisneros at (928) 425-1879; or media liaison, Lu DuBois at (928) 425-4440.
Presented by the Gila County Meth Coalition