Top Ten Most Abused Drugs of 2017

As the year 2017 comes to an end, many studies show a clear list of the top ten drugs abused this year. Sadly, many individuals continue to struggle with addiction to these drugs. But, on a brighter note, several individuals have overcome their addictions this year or are on their way to doing so in recovery. Hopefully, 2018 will bring even more success for the many individuals who fight against addictions to these top ten powerful drugs.

The top ten list of most abused illegal drugs in 2017 is as follows:

1-Crack Cocaine

2-Heroin

3-Methamphetamine

4-Bath Salts

5-Cocaine

6-Amphetamines

7-Methadone

8-Benzodiazepines

9-Ecstasy

10-Marijuana

In the coming weeks, watch for more in-depth descriptions of these top ten most abused drugs of 2017 on this site.

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse

https://medlineplus.gov/drugabuse.html

CrystalMethMeth Addiction can be Deadly

Many drugs are horribly addictive and have extremely adverse effects on their users.  However, meth addiction has been shown to be one of the most string addictions and has the most extreme effects.  Different from other drug abusers, meth addict’s symptoms are often easily recognizable from outward appearances.  Those struggling with meth addictions often have scarred and prematurely aging faces paired with extreme tooth decay that indicates the abuse.  If someone you love is struggling with a meth addiction, you may wonder what it is about meth that takes such an unrelenting hold of users

Interventions Services compares meth addiction with cocaine addiction. They report that meth is even more addictive than cocaine and state that, “as an upper, meth spurs the body’s fight-or-flight responses, so, when injected or smoked, it immediately causes spikes in blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature. When it is snorted through the nose or taken orally, however, the effect is a more drawn out high that lasts for hours.

Like cocaine, meth is a stimulant that increases the amount of dopamine – a neurotransmitter that activates neurological “pleasure centers” – in the brain. Meth uniquely does this by causing the brain to create more of the neurotransmitter, while cocaine prevents the dopamine from being flushed out of the user’s system. This difference is an important one, as it means that higher levels of dopamine are in the brain for a longer period of time.

Meth’s ability to tamper with the body’s natural production of pleasure-based dopamine may also be responsible for the drug’s long-term effects. Compared to cocaine, for instance, meth has a more detrimental effect because it reduces the number of dopamine transporters in the brain. The end result is that meth users may have poor motor skills and more difficulty with speech and memory.”

Some other effects of the addictive power of meth include: extreme weight loss, include disturbed sleep patterns, hyperactivity, nausea, delusions of power, increased aggressiveness, irritability, insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, anxiety and paranoia.  Further, in some meth addiction cases, meth use can cause convulsions that can lead to death. Drugfreeworld.org reports that , “When taken, meth and crystal meth create a false sense of well-being and energy, and so a person will tend to push his body faster and further than it is meant to go. Thus, drug users can experience a severe “crash” or physical and mental breakdown after the effects of the drugs wear off.” This crash is what drives the addiction, and sometimes the fatal use of meth.

Overall, the effects of meth addiction can be deadly and the abuse of meth should not be taken lightly.  Meth is extremely addictive and both the short and long term side effects can be very harmful.

 

CrystalMethWhat is Crystal meth?

Crystal meth, also known as crystal methamphetamine, is a very pure, smokable form of methamphetamine. Known informally as ice, tina, or glass, is a colorless form of d-methamphetamine, a powerful synthetic stimulant which is a highly addictive man-made stimulant. Its use can lead to severe physiological and psychological dependence.

This odorless substance is abused because it has a long-lasting euphoric effect on the user. Crystal meth is generally purer than powdered methamphetamine, and has a longer-lasting effect, as well as a more powerful physiological impact.

Crystal meth resembles shiny blue-white “rocks” or fragments of varying sizes similar in appearance to actual ice or glass. Crystal meth is odorless and colorless.

Crystal meth is usually smoked, but is sometimes injected, snorted, or even swallowed.

Crystal meth’s short-term effects are similar to the effects of cocaine but longer lasting. Crystal meth can cause erratic, violent behavior among its users. Also, users can experience abnormal heart rhythm, blurry vision, diarrhea, insomnia, mood swings and unpredictability, tremors and convulsions, increased blood pressure, acne, dizziness, dry mouth, sugar cravings, hallucinations, numbness, itchy/dry skin, hyperactivity, and flushing, among other things. Further, users may also experience homicidal or suicidal thoughts, prolonged anxiety, and/or paranoia. Crystal meth use by pregnant women can lead to premature birth or birth defects, including heart defects and cleft palate.

Long-term effects of Crystal meth use can include brain damage (similar to the effects of Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease), convulsions, coma, stroke or death. Signs of chronic use of crystal meth include weight loss, tooth decay and cracked teeth (“Meth Mouth”), psychosis and hallucinations, sores on the body from picking at skin, and formication (an abnormal skin sensation akin to “bugs crawling on skin”).

medical news today, drugfree.org

drugcravingWithout drug cravings, drug addictions would be lessened significantly.  The craving obviously perpetuates the addiction and the abuse that occurs with drug use.  Drug cravings can be physical or psychological. Physical drug cravings happen when a drug dependent person builds up their tolerance to a drug or drugs over time. Drug cravings, like other physical cravings, are taken as a symbol that the individual should give the body what it thinks it needs.

Drug cravings are very powerful and compel many people to use drugs. Even though the cravings may seem like they are uncontrollable, they can be controlled and one does not have to act upon such cravings. When a person is in a drug recovery program, they can learn to tolerate cravings and not act upon them. Then, many are in a good position to start taking back control of their lives.

If someone has never been addicted to drugs, it might be difficult to understand addictive cravings. To understand this, they might imagine that they have gone a very long time without eating. They are extremely hungry, even faint and weak. The hunger has been going on way too long and they can’t focus on anything else.  When someone is that hungry, very often all they can do is think about and crave their favorite foods. They might even be able to smell and taste that succulent burger or steak, or the sharp, fresh taste of berries blended with sweet whipped cream.

If they get hungry enough, nothing can stop them from running to get food, especially if it were available. As soon as they consumed that wonderful food they’d been thinking about so passionately and craving, they’d feel completely satisfied. (narconon.org)

Drugs that are addictive activate the brain’s reward systems. The promise of reward is very intense, which in turn causes drug cravings. These intense drug cravings force the addict to focus his or her activities around taking the drug.

An addicted person experiencing drug cravings will feel like life itself is dependent on getting and consuming whatever substance is causing those cravings. They will feel justified in saying or doing whatever it takes to feel that satisfaction and relief. But that relief will only last until that drug starts to wear off, which might just be a few hours or might be a day.

“The more an individual use drugs and alcohol, the guiltier they will feel, and the more depressed they will become. They will sacrifice their personal integrity, relationships with friends and family, their job, their savings, and anything else they may have in an attempt to get more drugs to satisfy the intense drug cravings. The drugs are now the most important things in their life. Their relationships and job performance will go drastically downhill.” (drug-rehabs.org)

Drug cravings are very powerful and make it extremely difficult to overcome drug addiction.

MethAbout Meth

What’s Meth made of?

Methamphetamine is closely related to amphetamine but has longer lasting and more toxic effects on the user’s system. Meth is a white, odorless powder that dissolves easily in water or alcohol. Production of the drug begins with common chemicals, including ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. Ephedrine-containing pills and powders were banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004. However, as of mid-2005, illicit supplies were still available through the Internet. Pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient in cold medicines and asthma drugs.  Other ingredients include: drain cleaner, rubbing alcohol, cold pills, acetone, engine starter fluid, lye, battery acid, cleaning products, red phosphorous, and gasoline anti-freeze.

Methamphetamine is relatively easy to produce in homemade laboratories. Meth cooks routinely brew small batches of the drug in their home labs using household goods that they purchased legally in stores. Many Meth cooks use recipes they find on the Internet posted by amateur chemists. As such, the strength and toxicity of each batch can vary considerably.

How addictive is Meth?

Methamphetamine addiction can occur easily. Meth has an addictive hook that is almost unequalled. It’s an addiction that can take over from the first hit.

Users who want to lose weight take Methamphetamine to decrease their appetites. Others might try it for the burst of energy it provides to cram for exams or work extra hours. But, the effects of Meth are so intense that occasional or even first-time users most often find themselves wanting more.

Who mostly uses Meth?

Meth has not only expanded geographically across the country, but also broadened demographically.  Before the past decade, Meth abuse was common among white males, with particularly extensive use among biker gangs and truck drivers.  Meth also had a spell of popularity in the hippie culture of the 1960s Currently, Meth has become widely used by women, Latinos, gay and bisexual males, arrestees, and increasingly among adolescents.  Meth users also include young people at raves, nightclubs and parties, and cocaine users who substitute Methamphetamine for its cocaine-like effects.

What do Meth users look like?

One of the best ways to fight Meth is to be aware of users, who can be recognized by their appearance and behavior. Meth addicts are extremely nervous, and they often have jerky body movements. Many have a skeletal appearance, with skin blotched by sores and a grayish leather appearance. Other physical signs include body odor, rotting teeth and thinning hair.

Mentally, a Meth user becomes delusional, paranoid and aggressive. Even family and friends can become the target of an addict’s imagined fears. For this reason, it’s best to keep your distance when you see a radical behavior change that concerns you. Share your thoughts with a trusted person who might be able to get help for the suspected user. Remember, talking with someone doesn’t make you a snitch, but it could make you a lifesaver.

You can also make a difference in the anti-Meth fight by reporting signs that a Meth lab might be in your neighborhood. It’s a mistake to think they couldn’t be in your own backyard. Meth can be made in motel rooms, apartments and even car trunks.

 How does Meth make you feel?

Immediately after smoking Methamphetamine or injecting it into a vein, the user experiences an intense surge of euphoria, called a “rush” or “flash.” Snorting Methamphetamine produces effects within three to five minutes; swallowing Meth takes effect in about 15-20 minutes.  Meth makes people feel alert and energetic, confident and talkative. They feel little need for food or sleep. On the other hand, users are also likely to feel the many unwanted effects of the drug, including racing of the heart, chest pain, dryness of the mouth, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and physical tension. Many report an anxious “wired” feeling of restlessness and irritability. The negative effects of Methamphetamine can be extreme and alarming, including paranoid delusions, hallucinations, aggressive behavior and impulsive violence.

Is there hope of recovery from Meth addiction?

Though not impossible, Meth addiction is a difficult disorder to treat.  While there’s not severe physical withdrawal with Methamphetamine, there is an inability to experience pleasure, that can last for months and which leads to a lot of relapse. This appears to correspond with the period when the brain is recovering and producing abnormally low levels of dopamine.

Unlike heroin addicts, who can be weaned off the substance with Methadone, there are no pharmacological treatments for Meth. The only currently available treatment is behavioral therapy.

Methamphetamine addicts often resist any form of treatment or intervention. They feel that they’ll be able to quit on their own when they’re ready. Among addicts who do seek help, the treatment process is typically lengthy. It can continue for months or even more than a year after the user has quit the drug. Antidepressant medications may be used to help battle the depression that can accompany withdrawal.

However, drug therapy usually is most helpful when combined with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). According to the Drug-Rehabs.org Web site, the most effective treatment for Methamphetamine addiction consists of behavioral interventions such as individual and group counseling. These treatments help addicts establish a new circle of non-using friends and improve their coping skills to deal with everyday stressors.

 

 

Sources: www.drug-rehabs.org

www.methproject.org

 

 

While most people have heard of meth, or its most popular form crystal meth, most people don’t know the toll that it can take on the user.  Meth is one of the most addictive narcotics on the market today, and while meth use in Utah looks like it might be in decline, it’s still a serious problem.

Unlike many other narcotics which are derived from plants, meth can be made from a variety of household chemicals. Meth can be taken by swallowing, snorting, smoking, or by using a hypodermic needle.

How can you tell if someone you know is using meth?  As a meth rehab center in Utah, here are some typical warning signs that we see:

  • Anxiousness
  • Nervousness
  • Incessant talking
  • Extreme moodiness and irritability
  • Repetitious behavior
  • Sleep disturbances
  • False sense of confidence and power
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Disinterest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Severe depression

And if you’re someone who thinks that meth won’t affect them, just take a look at some of these before and after meth police mug shots:

Meth user before and after

meth user before and after 2

Photos courtesy of Faces of Meth

If you or someone you know if suffering from meth addiction, and is seeking a meth rehab center in Utah, call our 24-hour meth help line today at 888-576-4325, or visit turningpointcenters.com.

 

Utah County has some of the lowest rates of substance abuse in the state of Utah and nationally, however, there is still a significant problem.  Methamphetamine addiction is still the most reported primary drug of abuse at admissions and most are for women.  Within the past 5 years, there has been a rise, DOUBLE, for heroin addiction admissions.  Marijuana addiction is still the largest reason for treatment admissions for Utah County youth.

Source:  Utah County Health Department

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