Methamphetamines are highly addictive, dangerous, and illegal. People who struggle with meth addictions are often withdrawn from social situations, have mental and physical health issues, and are endangering their lives and the lives of others by using.
Never take meth addiction lightly. Meth addicts often deny they have a problem. Even if they admit to their addiction, they feel recovery is hopeless and impossible. They continue a downward spiral for most of their lives without proper treatment.
All of these things are commonly known. However, there are some things you may not already know about meth or meth addiction.
It Is Homemade and Can Explode
Methamphetamines are produced in meth labs. Unlike cocaine, heroin, or marijuana that are often smuggled across international borders, meth is made in kitchens and basements across the United States. It differs from other highly addictive substances like pharmaceuticals because it’s not manufactured in chemical plants taking the appropriate safety precautions.
Making meth requires combining highly volatile chemicals. The smallest mistake could cause a violent reaction, resulting in explosions, fires, burns, or death. Most of the time, the people operating the meth lab have no training and are highly inexperienced. If they experience withdrawal symptoms while working a batch, it creates an even more unstable environment.
This behavior puts many people at risk. Because people cook meth at home, they manufacture it mere feet away from where they eat, play, and sleep. This creates a highly volatile environment for neighbors and anyone who passes by the house while exercising or walking their dog.
Living in a Former Meth Lab
Not all meth labs explode. In fact, houses are often flipped and sold back into the residential market. Many people live in former meth labs and don’t know it. Unfortunately, the carpet and walls of a former meth lab are deeply contaminated by chemical spills and toxic vapors. Without thorough, and very costly, cleaning, these environments are still highly dangerous and unfit for human habitation.
The primary ingredient in meth is pseudoephedrine. You can legally purchase pseudoephedrine over the counter at your local pharmacy. It’s the active ingredient in decongestants like Sudafed. The government attempts to regulate the purchase of pseudoephedrine, requiring that buyers produce a valid ID and setting limitations on how much you can buy in a given period.
Aside from seemingly harmless pseudoephedrine, the other ingredients of meth you would never put in your body. These include battery acid, drain cleaner, lantern fuel, and antifreeze. People who produce meth do it as cheaply and easily as possible, using chemicals often found in household products. These ingredients boost the effects of pseudoephedrine and are the most significant contributor to the declining health and physical damage to meth users.
One of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. It is a member of the amphetamine class of drugs. Dextroamphetamine treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and is the primary ingredient in drugs like Adderall. Approximately five million Americans take it daily, including many of our children.
Adderall is a commonly abused prescription medication because it produces the same effects as methamphetamines. Many teens use Adderall illegally, and it is the third most commonly used drug of any kind in that age group.
Meth Affects Your Brain
Chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters affect emotion and mood. Dopamine is a natural chemical in the brain that produces feelings of well-being, pleasure, and euphoria. Meth triggers the mass release of dopamine and blocks its reabsorption, causing the flooding of the brain with dopamine. This makes the user feel happy.
With repeated use, a person builds up a tolerance to dopamine and compensates for the interference by requiring more and more meth each time. Soon, that person no longer feels normal without it and loses the ability to get high on reduces amounts, resulting in addiction.
The terrible effects of this are almost immediate. Meth is a much harsher drug than other commonly used street drugs. Other drugs have effects that only develop negative effects the longer a person uses them. However, methamphetamines are enormously toxic because of the chemicals used to produce them, and the side effects are very short-term.
Nausea, violent behavior, hallucinations, panic, psychosis, convulsions, and seizures make the meth user feel awful when not shooting up, giving them the false impression that they need to use more to feel normal.
Prolonged meth use causes liver and kidney damage as well as infectious disease and brain damage. Meth addiction often results in a deep depression that even using the drug can’t resolve. Developing a tolerance to its side-effects causes users to suffer fatal complications because they think continued use will fix it, continuing their downward health spiral.
Meth addiction has horrendous effects on users and many others. With all of the commonly known facts about meth, there are still many others we don’t think about until the directly affect us.
Peter Young, the author this guest article, writes occasionally on behalf of Lanna Rehab specializing in treatment for meth rehab in Thailand.