Crystal Meth Addiction Stories: "It Will Never Happen To Me"
By Ned Wicker
Russian Roulette is a game of chance. Put the gun to you head and pull the trigger. If there is a bullet in the chamber, you’re dead. If there isn’t, the next guy has something to worry about. If you survive, you can brag about your bravery. If you lose, of course, there will never be another game.
Methamphetamine was his “gun” of choice
For years Brad was playing that game of Russian Roulette, only he did it with methamphetamine not a pistol. It’s the same game and the longer it goes on the less chance of surviving. He loved the initial “high” and tried over and over to repeat the first experience.
The trouble was, the initial intensity wore off and what was such a pleasurable experience turned into a daily routine of scraping up some drug, smoking it and hoping he would feel better. He was sold a bill of goods, because it never worked out the way he wanted it, only nobody could tell him that. In the early stages of his disease, his parents suspected he was using something, but they didn’t know what and they didn’t know what to look for. There were the usual expressions of concern, but Brad would quickly put those to rest, assuring mom and dad that he was fine, no cause for alarm. Meanwhile, the cylinder slowly rotated.
Like most crystal meth addiction stories, it all seemed so harmless in the beginning. Brad and some friends got the meth from an acquaintance and went to the park. You’ve heard the rationale before—we’re just having a little fun, no harm in that. Sure it was fun, for a while. His other friends tried it and didn’t go back for a second encounter, but for Brad, this was the answer to what he had been looking for. The euphoria, the feeling of empowerment, the security of knowing that everything was better now, or so he thought, was a game changer for him.
His long-term problems began soon after, because the acquaintance who was so generous and accommodating before, now wanted more money for his goods. But that’s a small price to pay for something so valuable. That became a daily expenditure and brad could not afford to buy off the street anymore. He decided to make his own, and he could actually make money doing it because what he didn’t need himself he could sell and support his habit. At least to brad, it made perfect sense.
He needed raw materials and that was going to be a problem. He needed to buy cold medicine for the ephedrine. The other ingredients—a piece of cake. But why someone would want to inhale these is a mystery. The Lynn (MA) Police Department web site lists the ingredients and you’ll see why it’s a chilling thought. Read their explanation. It’s not a stretch.
Sodium hydroxide - aka, Lye
Classified as a corrosive, sodium hydroxide is one of the main chemicals in drain cleaner and is also used in aluminum etching and to create biodiesel. It’s also used by ranchers, serial killers, and city workers who must dispose of road kill to dissolve dead bodies. Carcasses are placed in a sealed chamber with sodium hydroxide and water, turning the body into a coffee-like liquid.
This substance, used in chemical fertilizer and as a commercial refrigerant, has extremely destructive effects on humans. Breathing the vapor can cause severe irritation and permanent damage to the lungs, throat, and eyes. Because Anhydrous (meaning “without water”) Ammonia seeks out water and causes severe burns, any body part that comes into contact with it should be flushed with water for at least 15 minutes to remove the ammonia from the skin. One man even had his buttocks eaten away by improperly handling this stuff.
Iodine is a natural element and helpful to the body in small amounts. But taken in large amounts, iodine can becomes toxic. Extremely high does of iodine can limit the function of the thyroid. It takes roughly 4 bottles of iodine tincture to produce 2-3 grams of meth.
Matches - Red Phosphorus
By combining red phosphorus and iodine, you can easily create the highly controlled substance Hydriotic Acid which is an essential ingredient in making meth. Creating 2-3 grams of meth requires about 4 big boxes of matches. Here’s a better use of match sticks.
The use of ephedrine in making methamphetamines is the main reason why many sinus medications like Sudafed, with active ingredient of ephedrine, are under lock and key at grocery stores and pharmacies now.
Ephedrine causes the brain to
release dopamine, a chemical naturally produced by the body that
evokes feelings of elation on the same level as sex, food, and other
rewards necessary for species survival. Ephedrine’s effect of
releasing dopamine is thought to be the reason why people become so
addicted to meth. The problem is that by artificially creating
dopamine chemically, meth users eventually lose the ability to feel
happiness at all. That's why crystal meth addiction stories are stories of addiction and loss.
Once called “sweet vitriol” because of its hypnotic effect, this highly flammable substance is used as an anesthetic agent - especially in third world countries where more expensive anesthesia is not available. While inhaling the compound, patients could undergo complete surgical procedures while otherwise awake without feeling pain or concern.
The product label warning says it all: DANGER: MAY BURN EYES AND SKIN ON CONTACT. HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED. Avoid contact with body and clothing. TOXIC GAS MAY FORM IF MIXED WITH OTHER CHEMICALS. If gases are released, leave immediately and ventilate area. FIRST AID: Give Immediately: EYES AND SKIN: Flush with water for 20 minutes. Remove affected clothing. IF SWALLOWED: Rinse mouth and drink a glass of water or milk. Do not induce vomiting. THEN SEEK MEDICAL AID.
When working with brake fluid, be careful not to spill it on your car as it will eat away the paint and chrome. You’ve also got to be careful using brake fluid around other household chemicals because its high concentration of polyethylene glycol can cause it to ignite in a violent fireball. But meth users don’t mind putting it into their body for the tradeoff of a high.
Lighter Fluid – Butane
Starting to see why meth labs blow up so frequently? This highly flammable liquefied gas is used in the cooking process. When inhaled directly, butane can cause drowsiness, narcosis, asphyxia; cardiac arrhythmia and frostbite, which can result in instant death from Asphyxiation, Acute toxicity and ventricular fibrillation. When it’s ingested, lighter fluid causes gastrointestinal problems, lethargy, diarrhea, and in high enough doses, death.
This highly corrosive liquid is used to remove rust and iron-oxide from steel, leather processing, household cleaning and to produce organic compounds such as PVC pipe and polyurethane. It also makes up the majority of the gastric acid in human digestive fluid. In high concentrations, hydrochloric acid will literally eat away human flesh.
Meth Labs VERY dangerous!
From time-to-time we read about meth labs blowing up and causing serve injuries. Most recently, the manufacturing process has become more streamlined and the small, portable labs can be set up anywhere and very quickly. That makes law enforcement all the more difficult.
Cooking it in his apartment
Brad was cooking meth in his own apartment, which was located about the detached garage at his parents’ house. Nobody knew what he was doing, because nobody went up there. Brad was always a “tidy boy” according to mom, so she knew the place would be well kept up. He was brewing his death almost out in the open, in a nice middle class neighborhood, where nobody would ask questions or suspect anything.
No happy ending to crystal meth addiction stories
There is no happy ending to crystal meth addiction stories. He didn’t get busted and he didn’t go to jail. He didn’t even have to go to treatment. He just did nothing to curb the damage done by the disease. He died of a heart attack. He got the cylinder with the bullet. He, as most do, lost his game of Russian Roulette!
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- Matthew 7:7-8
Joe Herzanek discusses the importance of Step 6 in a successful 12-Step recovery, this week on Recovery Now!