Meth Abuse: Easy Cheap Deadly
By Ned Wicker
By all accounts, “Josh” was the ideal teen son. He was an athlete, got good grades and the kids at school all liked him.
But it wasn’t enough. His mother and father never saw the problem coming, and being solid, middle class, suburban professionals, knew that they were the right kind of parents that would never allow their child to get into that sort of trouble.
Mom and dad did their best to protect their son from the evils of the world. When the football coach swore at the team in a moment of passion during practice, they bypassed the coach, the athletic director and made certain that the superintendent of schools to swift and harsh action.
If Josh was singled out by a teacher for a disciplinary issue, his parents straightened it out. He was given a generous allowance, a cell phone for emergencies and his parents made sure he understood the need to prepare for college. When the news came they were shocked.
Like the other kids at the high school, Josh was aware of the kids who smoked marijuana or drank alcohol. There was an incident a few years back with his older brother, who joined the baseball team at a beer party. The whole team was busted for the affair, but Josh’s parents made sure that the coach and athletic director listened to reason.
No action was ever taken against his older brother, on any member of the team. After all, his parents, like many others, looked at beer and marijuana as mere rights of passage, but their son would never do that.
Josh thought nothing of smoking grass with his friends, mainly because he viewed it as harmless. His older brother did it and he was doing fine, so why not? But unlike his older brother, Josh had an entirely different relationship with the drug. He enjoyed the experience of getting high, much more than his older brother, as he felt a sense of relief and relaxation, a kind of euphoria. And, unlike his older brother, he wanted to repeat that experience far more often.
What his parents didn’t see coming, was the third most-abused drug in their Midwestern town, methamphetamine. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “The drug has limited medical uses for the treatment of narcolepsy, attention deficit disorders, and obesity.” The NIDA, however, warns that the drug is highly addictive.
The illicit production of the street drug is produced in both big and small labs, often found in private homes, commercial buildings and even hotel rooms. They are light weight, portable and present a problem for law enforcement. The drug is also smuggled into the United States from Mexico, and in some areas of the country, it has surpassed cocaine and heroin in sales.
On the street it’s called Speed, Meth, Ice, Crystal, Chalk, Crank, Tweak, Uppers, Black Beauties, Glass, Bikers Coffee, Methlies Quick, Poor Man's Cocaine, Chicken Feed, Shabu, Crystal Meth, Stove Top, Trash, Go-Fast, Yaba, and Yellow Bam, according to the NIDA.
For Josh, it was just something that gave him an intense high. He had no awareness of any kind that this highly toxic chemical can raise havoc with brain function. Josh like the marijuana high, but he craved the meth high, and unlike the marijuana, once he used meth, he was quickly addicted.
The intense high was created by massive release of the neurotransmitter dopamine into the pleasure areas of the brain. This flood of dopamine can actually cause an increase in body temperature, convulsions and be lethal.
His parents never suspected meth. But clearly something was wrong. Josh had become paranoid, and lost interest in football. He told his parents that football was a distraction from his studies. He wanted to concentrate on school. They bought it.
His mood swings were a sign, and his altered ability to reason was disturbing. Josh became depressed and told one of his friends that he was thinking of committing suicide. The meth high that he was craving was harder to achieve, mainly because he was building a tolerance to the drug. He was losing weight and admitted that he didn’t sleep much.
One day his behavior became violent at school. For some reason, something triggered an outburst and he lashed out at one of his friends. Sadly, this is pretty common with meth abuse. Josh was hearing or seeing something that wasn’t there and his friend happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The incident turned out to be good for Josh. Nobody got hurt, but Josh’s behavior had to be dealt with by school officials. His parents were called and Josh was soon taken to the family doctor for an examination. His friends also told of his meth use.
It was a wake up call for mom and dad, a call for action for the school and a lifesaving event for Josh, whose meth abuse was clearly out of control. He got into treatment for his meth abuse, but so many do not. The drug robs them of any life they might have made for themselves, as they become a walking pile of skin and bones.
Meth abuse causes a craving for the intense high that is so powerful that food, sleep, family relationships or any outside activities are of no importance. Meth addicts are out of control, literally killing themselves for a high.
What fooled Josh’s parent was that meth abuse kids are not skid row bums as much as they are suburban professionals, or promising athletes, or otherwise upright and valuable citizens. The drug grabs them quickly and holds on until there is nothing left. Josh was lucky, so far.
Summary of Meth Abuse:
Meth Abuse is ALWAYS very dangerous and has VERY unpleasant side effects including psychosis.
Meth Abuse is on the rise in the US with meth labs being closed by law enforcement every day.
Meth Abuse makes people feel like they can do anything, yet often leads to mental health problems like anxiety and paranoia.
Meth Abuse must be stopped as soon as possible to limit mental health damage. It is never recreational use as many assume.
Abusing meth is not the same using "speed", meth is much more powerful, harmful and addictive.