Attractions and Dangers of Methamphetamine
What is so attractive about Meth and why is it considered so dangerous? Lets start with some information about meth.Meth addiction is a recognized disease by the US medical profession, marked by mental obsession and compulsion of the body.
In America, methamphetamine is clinically recognized as the most destructive drug yet. The return to use rate for heroin and crack cocaine after twice using is 20%; the return to use rate for meth after twice using is as high as 95%.
Who are Meth addicts?
The rich the poor and everyone in between can be a victim of meth.
School and college age students use meth to boost performance while studying for exams; Or just to rebel and " party like a rock star".
Type A personalities in fast-paced jobs use meth because they believe it gives them an edge by boasting their mental energy.
Teenage girls and young women using meth as a weight-loss aid.
Long haul truckers (meth dealers regularly set up shop at truck stops);
Middle-class "supermoms "trying to be the perfect wife, mother and career woman, end up with abused and neglected children do to the meth abuse.
A tough-on-drugs prosecutor in Denton, Texas, who showed no mercy for people caught in possession of meth and was himself busted for possession; His career and family were the casualties of his meth use.
An entire town in Iowa, as filmed in a 2003 documentary by HBO, where every inhabitant - including the Mayor - is addicted to meth. How crazy is that?
People from all walks of life and economical status have succumbed to the allure of methamphetamine.
What is the allure? What is the attraction?
Think of this, all your senses seem heightened. You have an extreme amount of energy and maintaining a slender figure is no problem. Top that off with hyper sexuality and you have the attraction of methamphetamine. But at what cost?
The things that are horrifying about meth to the average person are alluring and compelling to an addict. That it is made from dangerous toxic substances makes it "risky". Staying up for three or four days makes you feel powerful until you crash.. And the compulsive behavior makes normal life seem extremely boring. Users see meth as a cool act of rebellion instead of the lethal dead end that it actually is.
Methamphetamine is an extremely potent form of speed. Just one hit adversely affects the brain's chemistry and, when used frequently, the cardiovascular and central nervous systems can become severely damaged, impairing the functioning of the heart, brain and spinal cord. Even leading to death
Amphetamine was first derived from ephedrine by German chemist L. Edeleano in 1887 . Then in 1919 in Japan, Akira Ogata chemically altered amphetamine developing methamphetamine where it was distributed for mass consumption as a central nervous system stimulant.
From 1942, Adolf Hitler was said to be unable to function without daily injections of dangerous doses of Benzedrine, of which methamphetamine is a derivative, given by his morphine-addicted physician, Dr. Theodor Morell.
It makes one wonder how this amphetamine may have affected the Fuhrer's mind, corrupted his judgment, contributed to his insanity and, ultimately, affected the course of World War II. Obviously, by the final months of the war, the dictator was a mere shell of a man. Looking at least 20 years older then his actual age with his colorless skin and empty eyes, he was stooped over, drooling, and incoherent, and exhibited acute signs of Parkinson's disease such as uncontrollable trembling and shuffling when trying to walk all known now as classic symptoms of chronic methamphetamine use.
The German military was notorious for their use of methamphetamine (a derivativeof benzedine) in World War Two. This was said to give them "super" energy and let them stay awake and alert for days.
The Japanese Military distributed amphetamines to their military personnel which may explain the aggressiveness of their kamikaze pilots In their suicide missions. After the war, amphetamine-addicted war veterans who had difficulty readapting to civilian life would continue to seek out Benzedrine, while surplus supplies manufactured by Japanese pharmaceutical companies for the war effort were released into public markets and promoted as an energy boosting drug, leading to the first epidemic of its kind. Benzedrine was given to Japanese factory workers to increase their productivity. By 1954, over two million Japanese were addicted.
By the early 1950s, amphetamines were frequently linked to criminal activity in the U.S. such as robbery and drug trafficking, causing Benzedrine to be removed from over-the-counter sale.
President John F. Kennedy, although a strong supporter of controls on amphetamines, was himself a registered user - along with a host of other mood-altering drugs, up until his death in 1963. Pretty scary to find out a President of our own country was a user of mind altering drugs. "no President with his finger on the red button has any business taking stuff like that."
( source: .nysun.com Dr. Feelgood Past & Present By WILLIAM BRYK September 20, 2005)
( source: History Channel program, "JFK: A Presidency Revealed" )
In 1965, Congress introduced the Drug Abuse Control Amendment into the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, requiring a prescription for barbiturates and amphetamines, resulting in a rise in prescriptions of amphetamine's. Violators of this new law faced one year in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.
The 1960s saw the rise of fashion magazines like Cosmo and Vogue and the entrance of Twiggy, the first supermodel. The images of stick thin models exploited and created the irrational misconception of obesity among women, sending the demand for weight loss products through the roof. In 1967 alone, approximately 31 million amphetamine's prescriptions were written, 80% were for women for weight loss and depression. By this time, the dangerous aspects of amphetamine's had started becoming common knowledge, but it's use continued.
"We live with anorexia today because of [meth]." ~ Patricia Case [Harvard Professor of Social Science]
When coming down off of meth a psychological and physiological debilitation occurs when the user's neuron supply of dopamine is depleted and the brain's natural ability to produce more shuts down. Cut off from his internal energy supply and unable to effectively use the right hemisphere of his brain, the user's creativity dries up and he cannot experience or express positive emotions like happiness, joy or pleasure. Instead he is plagued by negative emotions like paranoia, anxiety and rage. Because meth amplifies existing negative character traits, the more disillusioned, discontented and depressed a person is the greater the impact of withdrawing from the drug will be.
It may take up to a week for the body of the meth user to manufacture more dopamine. During this time his mind will be consumed with negative thoughts and emotions
Feeling drained and powerless,the only escape from the devastating, effects of the dark tunnel they have fallen into is the short-term relief promised by the next hit of meth, which the user's mind craves. Persistent meth use progressively weakens the brain's production of dopamine, and interest in the normal life fades away as people, places and activities associated with meth use are the focus of everything to the user. Family and loved ones no longer matter. The goals and dreams are gone, swallowed up by the enslavement to the addiction.
The abuser's self-perception is distorted by meth. Being unaware of his physical deterioration the user will become so intoxicated that he often forgets to drink liquids, causing dehydration. Skin ulcers, dry skin,and other sores.
Vomiting, diarrhea, dangerous blood sugar levels, convulsions, sweating, dilated pupils, tooth grinding may occur while suppressed appetite and chronic lack of sleep results in severe wasting of muscle tissue on an emaciated frame, which the user may see as muscle definition. Just a few months of using meth can physically age someone by ten years or more as they deteriorate into a zombie-like caricature of their former self. They begin to age at a very accelerated rate.
Meth users develop receding gums and rotting teeth that turn grey-brown, dissolve, break and fall out due to calcium depletion, which can also cause intense pain from the brittle bone disease also known as osteoporosis, usually seen in some people well over 60. Meth will eventually cause abscesses to form because of a build up of toxins in the body. Lead poisoning is also a danger for heavy users.
Smoking meth alters the brain's molecular structure and is more addictive than snorting. The smoke is quickly absorbed through the lining of the lungs and into the bloodstream so delivery to the brain is almost instant, potentially causing fatal cardiac, lung, liver and kidney, disorders that can lead to strokes, heart failure and death. Just one inhalation is enough to permanently rewire the brain's chemistry, while the caustic, acrid vapor emitted by meth smoke gradually crystallizes the lungs of regular users. Needless to say I.V. Injection of meth is at least as addictive and harmful and danger of overdose is much greater. Snorting meth is just as bad. It takes 3 to 5 minutes for the user to experience a euphoric "high" although not as intense it is longer lasting .What ever the method of use, the damage is serious.
The New York Times reported on the first high-resolution MRI study of meth addicts in July 2004; "a forest fire of brain damage," according to Dr. Paul Thompson, an expert on brain mapping at the University of California. "We expected some brain changes, but didn't expect so much tissue to be destroyed."
Brain-imaging research of meth addicts using two to four grams of meth a day revealed serious brain damage consistent with Alzheimer's disease, strokes and low level Parkinson's disease syndrome,
Studies suggest that those who quit meth use continue to show a serious reduction in the brain's ability to produce dopamine for up to three years, and almost two-thirds remain depressed two to five years after they stop using.
"Meth really affects their ability to function," said Dr. Linda Chang, a university researcher and co-director of the Neuroscience and Imagine Research Program at Queen's Medical Center. "We see loss of nerve cells in the brain, inflammation and addictive elements. It takes a long time for the brain to heal, at least a year or two before we see improvement."
Domestic violence, identity theft and acts of calculated violence are often linked to meth,. Children and pets are often the silent victims of meth , either by neglect, sadistic urges or sexual abuse from adults using the drug.
Violent, chilling and really bizarre acts have been committed by people on meth: Kidnappings, brutal murders, and suicidal assaults on police are some of the more violent acts.
Meth is often involved in homicide cases. Fashion designer, Gianni Versace, was murdered in front of his Miami Beach home in August 1997 by a meth-addicted individual; the killers of Matthew Shepherd were high on meth when they tortured and murdered him; and Timothy McVeigh claimed to be under the drug's influence when involved in the 1995 Oklahoma bombing. Cameron Taylor was reportedly high on meth when he hijacked a San Diego bus at knifepoint in 1997, leading a police chase over 70 miles in 2 1/2 hours before he was captured.
Meth users have killed while in a state of confused delusions and have also plotted and committed murders and other violent crimes in cold blood.
One of the most disturbing murders occurred in Chula Vista California in 1995. Veronica Gonzales and her husband, Ivan, were caring for her niece, 3 1/2-year-old Genny Rojas, because Genny's father was in prison and her mother was in drug rehabilitation.
Veronica and her husband were on meth, and were unfit to care for a young child. They tortured the little girl for six months before eventually scalding her to death in a bathtub. They became the first married couple sent to California's death row.
A study in America's Midwest shows that 39% of all incoming male prisoners and 47% of female prisoners have methamphetamine in their system, while around 10% of the 3,400 Americans awaiting execution on Death Row have mental conditions consistent with meth abuse, including brain damage and schizophrenia.
"Meth hijacks your good intentions and obliterates wholly the function of any moral compass. People conduct heinous acts, utterly disgusting and inexcusable, while influenced by this poison." ~ Andrew Lay [Hornet Fullerton College]
The physical effects on our society are horrific, crime, illegal lab fires, hazardous waste, homicides and suicides, but the psychological toll on users, and their families and friends, is unmeasurable.
"The devastating consequences of methamphetamine are felt across the country by individuals, government agencies, businesses and communities of all sizes," said Joseph Rannazzisi, deputy chief of enforcement with the Drug Enforcement Administration, in his July 2005 address to the the House of Representatives sub-committee on criminal justice, drug policy and human resources. "Americans are waging a daily battle against this drug."
In this country more than 1.5 million people are currently in the process of destroying their lives, as well as the lives of their family and those around them with their Meth use, and thats just a guess. I'm afraid the actual numbers are a lot greater then we could fathom. In conclusion, the dangerous destruction caused by Methamphetamine use far out weighs any possible attraction.
(source: www. wikipedia.org/wiki/Methamphetamine )