METH–NOT EVEN ONCE
Blaine County has long battled the common drugs of choice for adolescence: alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and cocaine. And while the fight against these drugs still goes on, they have become a gateway to Methamphetamine (Meth).
When it comes to illegal drugs, some are worse than others. No drug has a more devastating impact than Methamphetamine. It has spread across our country at an alarming speed, destroying families, damaging the environment, increasing crime and filling our jails and prisons. While the number of “Mom and Pop type” Meth Labs has been decreasing in recent years, the use of Methamphetamine is actually increasing as “Super Labs” have begun to produce and smuggle vast quantities of Meth across our borders. One of the biggest dangers of Meth is how quickly people can become addicted to it. Methamphetamine is the most widely abused and most frequently clandestinely produced synthetic drug in the United States according to the DEA.
WHAT IT IS–
Meth is a highly addictive, synthetically produced central nervous system stimulant with effects similar to cocaine. It has a high potential for abuse and addiction and produces euphoric effects that can last up to 24 hours. Meth comes in many forms and can be smoked, snorted, injected, or taken orally. Meth has many slang or street names including crystal/crystal Meth, crank, speed, glass, red rock, and ice. Whatever it’s called, none of the names do justice to what it really does to people’s minds, bodies and spirits.
WHAT IT DOES–
Meth produces euphoric effects by increasing dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and activated through natural rewards, such as food, and by substances such as Cocaine and Meth. Both of these drugs cause increases in dopamine, but Meth use results in brain damage not seen from Cocaine or other drug use. Chemically the brain is not designed to handle the dopamine response that Meth creates. Meth is so powerful that it actually changes the way the brain works and creates in the user the inability to experience normal pleasure. Meth users have to continue to do more Meth to feel any pleasure at all.
The euphoric “rush” is followed by 8-12 hours of high-energy behavior, during which a Meth user does not eat or sleep. The pleasurable effects disappear quickly but the wired feeling lasts for hours. Users often end up getting into a binge and crash cycle lasting for days or even weeks.
While on Meth, a user’s behavior is strange and unpredictable. Their moods shift suddenly and dramatically. Many users perform meaningless behaviors repeatedly without being able to stop. They might take apart their stereo and put it back together, play cards for hours on end, or pick at their skin until it bleeds. They become dangerous to those around them, threatening, assaulting, and even killing people who make them nervous.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE–
Meth can be produced using many different methods making its appearance vary dramatically. It can be a powder, crystalline, tablet or rock-like chunks that are white, tan, yellow, pink, gray, brown or red.
WHAT’S IN IT–INGREDIENTS
Would you drink drain cleaner, engine starter fluid, hydrogen peroxide or battery acid? Of course not. But Meth users are putting most or all of these chemicals in their bodies. The ingredients in Meth are a hazardous combination of poisonous and flammable chemicals which are heated or “cooked.” The fumes, vapors, and spillage associated with cooking Meth are toxic, explosive, and hazardous to children, adults and the environment. Take a moment to look at the frightening list of common ingredients.
- Pseudoephedrine or Ephedrine (over-the-counter cold, asthma, or allergy medicines)
- Toluene (brake cleaner)
- Ether (engine starter)
- Sulfuric Acid (drain cleaner)
- Red Phosphorus (matches/road flares)
- Sodium Hydroxide (lye)
- Lithium (battery acid)
- Liquid Propane (lantern fuel)
- Trichloroethane (gun scrubber)
- Methanol/Alcohol (gasoline additives)
- Muriatic Acid
- Anhydrous Ammonia (farm fertilizer)
WHAT TO LOOK FOR–PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS
- Weight Loss / Loss of Appetite
- Abnormal Sweating
- Shortness of Breath
- Nasal Problems or Nosebleeds
- Sores That Do Not Heal
- Dilated Pupils
- Run down Appearance or Frequent Illnesses
- Decline in Personal Hygiene – bad breath, rotting teeth, severe body odor
- Unhealthy Complexion
- Welts on skin – “Meth Acne”
- Picking and Scratching at the Skin
- Insomnia, Chronic Fatigue or Tiredness
- Withdrawal From Family and Friends
- Poor Academic Performance or Attendance
- Disinterest in Previously Enjoyed Activities
- Increased Activity
- Long Periods of Sleeplessness (24-120 hrs); Followed by Long Periods of Sleep (24-48 hrs)
- Twitching, Shaking or Itching
- Decreased Appetite
- Erratic Attention Span
- Repetitious Behavior – picking at skin, pulling out hair, compulsively cleaning, grooming, or disassembling and assembling objects
- Aggressive or Violent Behavior
- Deceit or Secretiveness
- Paranoia / Anxiety
- Nervousness / Agitation
- Extreme Moodiness
- Severe Depression
- Excessive Excitation
- Delusions of Parasite/Insects Under the Skin
LONG TERM EFFECTS
- Rotting Teeth
- High Blood Pressure
- Skin Ulcers
- Chronic Fatigue
- Extreme Anorexia
- Brain Damage / Strokes
- Cardiac Arrest
WHAT YOU CAN DO–
- Learn as much as you can about Meth and other drugs and their impact on families and our community so you can take action.
- Become involved – Join the Blaine County Drug Coalition – (208) 578-5465
- Support law enforcement and community efforts to prevent and police drug use
- Report Suspicious Behavior
- Pay attention to what is happening in your child’s life, Blaine Co. Schools and your neighborhood –work to prevent drug use
- Be a positive role model to youth in our community
- Support disapproval of drug use
- Talk to your kids about drugs
For more Information visit the following resources: