What is Meth?

These drug effects generally last from six to eight hours, but can last up to twenty-four hours. The first experience might involve some pleasure, but from the start, meth begins to destroy the user’s life. If you’ve ever seen before and after pictures of meth addicts you know that not only does meth destroy the inside of people’s bodies, it dramatically alters their outside appearance in negative ways.

Meth is an illegal drug in the same class as cocaine and other powerful street drugs. It has many nicknames—meth, ice, glass, crank, chalk or speed being the most common. “Meth is used by individuals of all ages, but is most commonly used as a “club drug,” taken while partying in night clubs or at rave parties. It is a dangerous and potent chemical and, as with all drugs, a poison that first acts as a stimulant but then begins to systematically destroy the body. Thus, meth is associated with serious health conditions, including memory loss, aggression, psychotic behavior and potential heart and brain damage. Highly addictive, meth burns up the body’s resources, creating a devastating dependence that can only be relieved by taking more of the drug. Meth’s effect is highly concentrated, and many users report getting hooked from the first time they use it. (drugfreeworld.org)” Sadly, meth addiction is one of the hardest drug addictions to treat and many die due to it’s strong effects.

Source: drugfreeworld.org

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

Top 10 most abused drugs

Recent statistics show that there has been a slight shift in the top 10 most commonly abused drugs. The most noteworthy is marijuana, moving from 3rd place to 2nd place recently. Most speculate this is due on part to the legalization of recreational marijuana in many parts of the country.

1-Alcohol: The CDAC notes that, “with over half (51.8%) of U.S. population identified as drinkers, alcohol is the #1 most abused substance. Nearly a quarter of the population participates in binge drinking (58.6 million), and 6.7% of the population reported heavy drinking (16.9 million). As a depressant, alcohol produces impaired coordination and judgment, slurred speech, and blackouts.”

2- Marijuana: Marijuana is the #1 most abused illicit drug and the third most abused drug according to the CDAC. The CDAC reports that, “the dried parts of the Cannabis plant can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination and problems with learning and memory.”

3- Tobacco: At least one quarter of Americans (6.9 million) are users of a tobacco product making it the second most abused drug. Many individuals are drawn to smoking because it stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain and turn on the body’s natural chemicals that produce euphoria. Cigarette smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, causing long-term systemic effects. These risks include high blood pressure and smoking has been proven to increase the risk of cancer.

4-Prescription painkillers: The abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise and has moved up in ranking to be the fourth most abused type of drug. Painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin, are the most abused prescription drugs. These drugs can produce effects similar to heroin. Painkillers can have negative effects on the physical body causing heightened sensitivity to sound and light, hallucinations, blackouts and problems with the lungs, central nervous system, stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys, heart and death from overdose.

5-Cocaine: Although cocaine gained popularity back in the 1980’s, it still remains on the top 10 list of most abused drugs: listed as the fifth most abused. According to the CDAC, nearly 1.5 million people in America are current users of this white powder. Cocaine use results in severe psychological dependence and intense drug cravings. This is due to cocaine’s short-lived yet powerful effects of euphoria. With cocaine, tolerance builds quickly, making it more dangerous.

6- Prescription Sedatives: The most common sedatives are benzodiazepines and tranquilizers. Approximately 2.4 million people in the U.S. are using sedatives for non-medical purposes. These are highly addictive and can cause memory loss, poor motor coordination, paranoia, stupor, suicidal thoughts, aggression, respiratory depression and coma. Mixing sedatives with alcohol is very dangerous and can cause death.

7- Prescription Stimulants: Prescription stimulant drugs have a high addictive rate and about 1.2 million Americans are currently taking prescription stimulants for non-medical purposes. These stimulants, such as Ritalin or Adderall, are usually prescribed for people who have narcolepsy or ADHD. These drugs increase the level of dopamine in the brain causing feelings of euphoria. Abuse of stimulants can cause heart attacks, strokes, depression, malnutrition, hostility and paranoia. Because stimulants increase energy and focus, teenagers are abusing the drug because they believe it will enhance their learning and test scores. The abuse of these drugs has increased significantly on college campuses across the country.

8- Hallucinogens (LSD, ecstasy): Approximately 1.1 million people are currently taking hallucinogens in the U.S. Hallucinogenic drugs are known as PCP, mescaline, Ecstasy, LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. These drugs cause hallucinations and profoundly affect the perception of reality. Some negative effects of using hallucinogenic drugs are delusions, paranoia, panic, terror, despair, psychosis, and psychological illness. Flashbacks from some of these drugs may occur at anytime after using the drug. LSD is reported to be the most popular hallucinogen among users. LSD, also known as “acid,” is the most potent hallucinogen in the world. It is often sold on blotting paper, or “window panes.” The effects of LSD are unpredictable, altering the user’s mood, personality, and sensations of reality. (CDAC, 2012).

9- Heroin: Heroin is known as the most powerful and addictive drug in the world and its use is increasing in the U.S. Heroin induces euphoria by binding to the opioid receptors that control consciousness, breathing and blood pressure. Long-term effects of using heroin include collapsed veins, partial paralysis, memory loss, intellectual impairment, and disease of the heart, liver and kidneys. Heroin is often diluted with other substances creating a high risk of physical complications and death. It is made from poppy plants and is a highly addictive opiate. It can be injected, smoked, or sniffed and creates a feeling of a euphoric rush. Users feel an increased ability to communicate easily with others, and report heightened sexual performance.

10-Methamphetamine: The tenth most abused drug is methamphetamine, also known as meth, crank, or speed. Although last on the list, it shouldn’t be ignored. Meth is popular among young adults. Meth produces feelings of well-being and energy which can last from 4 to 16 hours. Because of its lasting effects, it is a popular drug for both parties and nightclubs. Meth is highly addictive, and burns up the body’s resources and can cause permanent damage to the brain and body.

 

Common Street Drugs Part 2: Meth, Weed, Heroin

This part 2 follow up discusses 3 more dangerous street drugs that are commonly being used in the U.S. today. Although awareness about the dangers of drug abuse has grown considerably over the last few decades, the problem of addiction continues to exist and, in some cases, is on the increase. Meth, Heroin, and Marijuana are spoken about in the news often. With prescription painkiller addictions turning into street heroin addictions on the rise throughout the entire country and legalization of marijuana in so many states, these drugs pose a new threat that wasn’t around a decade ago because of their easier access.

  1. Methamphetamine – what is it made of and what does it do? How widespread is the use of this drug?
  • Meth is a stimulant often marketed under the name Desoxyn. It is is highly addictive. It was known for being a drug made at home at one time, but because of recent laws, meth ingredients are tougher to get so most of it is coming from South American and Mexico. Meth is ingested by being snorted, swallowed, injected or smoked. Often users change methods. Street names for meth include: Crystal Glass Stove Top, Trash Black Beauties, Chalk, Crank, Yaba. In 2015, agents recovered record setting amounts: 1,686 grams.

2. Heroin – what is it made of and what does it do? How widespread is the use of this drug?

  • Heroin is made from opium, a naturally occurring substance extracted from poppies and it has no accepted medical use, no accepted safe procedure for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for addiction and abuse. Known on the street as Black Tar, Chiva, Smack, Hell Dust, Horse, Negra or Thunder, it comes as a white or brownish powder, or as a black, sticky substance and is typically snorted, injected, or smoked. Often,heroin is cut with other substances such as sugar or powdered milk. Abuse of heroin is widespread and is on the rise. Many law enforcement agencies point to the increase in prescription painkillers as a problem, since many turn to street heroin once their prescriptions are no longer valid.

3. Marijuana – what is it made of and what does it do? How widespread is the use of this drug?

  • Marijuana is a plant that is grown inside or outdoors in North and South America as well as in Asia. The street names for marijuana include: dope, grass, pot, skunk, smoke, weed, yerba, and boom. Marijuana is addictive and as been shown to decrease brain function. Agents are constantly seizing marijuana based drug It is one of the most common street drugs and is also the best known among high school and college aged kids who abuse drugs. With recent changes in marijuana legalization, many seem to turn a blind eye to some of its harmful effects when it is not used for medicinal purposes. The use of marijuana is very widespread.

 

Source: usatoday.com

 

ruralutahMeth in Rural Utah

Small towns in Utah have definitely seen more meth during the last few years. Just this week, ksl.com reported that 3 men were arrested in Price after police say they found 135.9 grams of meth and nearly 16 grams of heroin in a car during a traffic stop.

A recent documentary titled, “Aftermath of Meth” by Kathy Weiler examined how meth ruins small towns. The film points out how the unique attributes of the American West make it fertile ground for methamphetamine production and abuse. Weiler indicates that, “Small Town America has become a high-stakes venue for methamphetamine trafficking.”

Deseretnews.com reported that, “in 2001, a Mexican drug ring based in Ogden targeted Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation with more than 100 pounds of meth — enough for 45,000 doses. Three members of the ring rented houses near the reservation and formed romantic relationships with young Indian women to gain access to the tribes. Within five years, assaults tripled, thefts doubled and child abuse increased 85 percent.”

This drug ring nearly crushed the culture of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes according to filmmaker Weiler. She further indicates that, “the oil and gas boom in Eastern Utah has fueled a young, roughneck workforce addicted to meth. They make a lot of money and that’s how they spend it,” she said.

Because of the boom in this rural area, many (it’s estimated to be 1/3) of the drilling rig crews in the Uintah Basin have meth-related problems. While some rig operators do periodic drug testing, others look away to keep production on schedule, according to the program.

Many people don’t understand what a meth addict looks like. They think of the addict as a homeless person on the street, when, in fact, they could be anyone-so many types of people are affected by meth. Weiler indicates, “A meth addict is not just a guy on the street with a needle in his arm. An addict is your next-door neighbor.”

With the recent meth bust in Price, Utah and so many other areas being affected by the ravaging drug, police are constantly learning to teach more prevention and enforce consequences for those affected by meth.

Heroin2Heroin in Mesa

Just last week, Mesa police arrested multiple people in separate incidents over the weekend suspected of using heroin and intending to sell the narcotic. While searching a man and woman’s vehicle, police found: a syringe, a small piece of plastic containing a gray chalky substance later identified as heroin, two glass pipes with burn residue consistent with methamphetamine use, a prescription bottle with various pills, several straws and spoons, and a liquid prescription bottle labeled methadone that was not prescribed to either the man or woman.

Similarly, a 22-year-old man was pulled over during a routine traffic stop and officers discovered heroin in his vehicle as well. The following day, a 19-year-old man was found asleep in his vehicle with the keys still in the ignition. When police questioned him, he admitted to heroin use and had a black tongue, was “sweating profusely” and “seemed aloof” during the police interview (azcentral.com).

Heroin use is on the rise in the country. Some are very aware of its uses and danger, but many are still ignorant to what heroin really is. In a nutshell, heroin is a highly addictive drug that is processed from morphine, which is a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin can be injected, snorted/sniffed, or smoked. In heroin’s purest form it is a fine, white powder but it can also be rose gray, brown or black. Toxic ingredients are usually mixed with heroin so the true purity of the drug and its strength is usually hard to really know.

Interestingly, research shows that there is no general description that fits a heroin user. They are young and old; although many of heroin’s newest addicts are in their teens or early 20s and come from middle- or upper-middle-class suburban families.

Tolerance to heroin develops with regular use, so after a short time more heroin is needed to produce the same level of intensity, which generally leads to addiction. Withdrawal symptoms, including: restlessness, diarrhea, cold flashes with goose bumps, insomnia, and muscle and bone pain, can begin just a few hours after the last use.

Approximately 13.5 million people in the world take opioids (opium-like substances), including 9.2 million who use heroin. Although the use of heroin in Mesa is not too extreme, recent arrests and activity indicate that it is a problem and that awareness and support are needed.

Source: azcentral.com

 

ExerciseAndDrugUseNew Study: Even Occasional Exercise Helps Reduce Meth Use

Many studies related to both addiction and recovery have shown a correlation between exercise and improved recovery. However, past results of studies of this nature indicated that exercise must be regular and consistent to obtain significant recovery. A new study (11/2014) by the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) found that even brief workouts can reduce the risk of relapse in rats withdrawing from methamphetamine. The researchers concluded that even short-term exercise produces positive treatment results.

An Associate Professor at TSRI, Chitra Mandyam, also senior author of the new study, published in the journal Brain Structure and Function indicates that, “There was no correlation between length of workout and risk of relapse—it’s the mere involvement in the activity of physical fitness, rather than how much time you can put in.” She further indicates, “that’s really important if we are going to translate this to humans.”

In San Diego County alone, the rise in the number of methamphetamine users has recently had dire consequences, with the county reporting a 55-percent increase in meth-related deaths since 2008. Many other parts of the US have been similarly affected. The Scripps study was aimed at finding recovery solutions for the rising meth problem the United States is facing.

In the Scripps study, researchers used a lab experiment with rats to determine the beneficial effects of just brief or sporadic exercise on methamphetamine-using behavior. Previously, these researchers had determined that regular access to exercise over a six-week period of time substantially reduced the rate of cocaine intake in another group of rats. However, in the current study, the researchers trained a group of rats to self-administer doses of methamphetamine, and gave them access to the drug afterwards. This time, instead of allowing the rats to exercise for weeks prior to receiving drug access, they only let them exercise for a set number of hours. The researchers concluded that, when the rats involved in the experiment only had the opportunity to exercise briefly prior to receiving access to methamphetamine, their use of the drug still decreased substantially in comparison to times when no opportunity to exercise was made available. This was different from previous studies, where the rats were exercising regularly and also had results.

Interestingly, Mandyam indicated that, “Right now, there is no FDA-approved medicine for methamphetamine addiction. Discovering novel pathways in the brain that could be associated specifically with the withdrawal and relapse stage may lead to new avenues for therapeutics.”

The findings of this new study may indicate that methamphetamine users who occasionally exercise during recovery may still experience significant recovery from meth. In addition, they believe that the benefits of exercise may manifest quickly as opposed to appearing only after extended periods of time. Hopefully, these findings will hold true and occasional exercise can be an effective tool for helping recovering meth addicts achieve their goals

 

methAbstinenceGood News: Abstinence from Meth can Produce Recovery in Brain Functions

Recently, a study was conducted that indicates that it takes at least one year for brain functions to improve in meth users, but it is possible. These findings bring hope to recovering meth abusers and their families and help them understand that it can take a while for the user’s brain to regain impulse control.

The study was conducted by Ruth Salo, a UC Davis assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and lead author of the study. She indicates that, “Recovery from meth abuse does not happen overnight. It may take a year—or even longer—for cognitive processes such as impulse control and attentional focus to improve. Treatment programs need to consider this when monitoring recovering addicts’ progress during their early periods of abstinence.”

These findings indicate that recovering meth users and their families can find hope in the fact that the brain can recover but individuals may also struggle with the fact that recovery does take some time. Salo indicates further that meth addiction is difficult to treat because there are prolonged, intense cravings associated with meth. She has worked with hundreds of meth addicts and specializes in the behavioral, neuropsychiatric, and cognitive outcomes of meth addiction. She knows that people in recovery (whether inpatient or outpatient) need confidence that they can succeed in order to continue their fight against their meth addiction.

In the report, Salo indicates that “All of them (recovering meth addicts) want to know if there is hope.” She says, “We used to think most, if not all, effects of meth addiction were permanent. This study adds to the growing evidence that this assumption is not true. I can confidently tell patients that the longer they stay in a structured rehabilitation program (inpatient or outpatient) and remain drug free, the more likely it is that they will recover some important brain functions.”

Salo also performed studies in relation to meth recovery in 2005 and in combining the results of the recent study with the past study she finds more confidence and hope that meth users can regain their brain functions. This good news is critical since meth use is becoming a worldwide pandemic. In understanding the long term consequences of continuing meth use and the long term consequences of abstinence from meth use, Salo hopes to continue to inspire the latter and give confidence to those who are fighting back against this addiction.

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.

 

Whiskey on the rocksTop 10 most abused drugs

The CDAC (Community Drug and Alcohol Council, Inc) recently reported the top 10 most abused drugs.  The drugs are listed below in order of most often to least often abused.

1-Alcohol: The CDAC notes that, “with over half (51.8%) of U.S. population identified as drinkers, alcohol is the #1 most abused substance. Nearly a quarter of the population participates in binge drinking (58.6 million), and 6.7% of the population reported heavy drinking (16.9 million). As a depressant, alcohol produces impaired coordination and judgment, slurred speech, and blackouts.”

2-Tobacco: At least one quarter of Americans (6.9 million) are users of a tobacco product making it the second most abused drug. Many individuals are drawn to smoking because it stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain and turn on the body’s natural chemicals that produce euphoria. Cigarette smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, causing long-term systemic effects.  These risks include high blood pressure and smoking has been proven to increase the risk of cancer.

3-Marijuana: Marijuana is the #1 most abused illicit drug and the third most abused drug according to the CDAC. The CDAC reports that, “the dried parts of the Cannabis plant can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination and problems with learning and memory.”



4-Prescription drugs: The abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise and has moved up in ranking to be the fourth most abused type of drug.  Painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin, are the most abused prescription drugs. These drugs can produce effects similar to heroin.

5-Cocaine: Although cocaine gained popularity back in the 1980’s, it still remains on the top 10 list of most abused drugs: listed as the fifth most abused.  According to the CDAC, nearly 1.5 million people in America are current users of this white powder.  Cocaine use results in severe psychological dependence and intense drug cravings.  This is due to cocaine’s short-lived yet powerful effects of euphoria.  With cocaine, tolerance builds quickly, making it more dangerous.

6-Inhalants: The most often used inhalants that are abused to obtain a high include: shoe polish, glue, gasoline, spray paint, cleaning fluid, “poppers,” and nitrous oxide (according to the CDAC).  These inhalants are simply the vapors from these toxic substances. Most users of inhalants will experience an initial high and loss of inhibition followed by drowsiness, slurred speech and agitation.

7-Ecstacy: Often called the “love pill”, Ecstasy is one of the most popular and most abused drugs among youth today. It is the most popular club drug and produces feelings of euphoria, alertness, hallucinations, and closeness with others. A frightening fact is that nearly 65% of pills sold as Ecstasy contain other substances. This means that the effects of Ecstasy can be both unpredictable and dangerous.

8-LSD: LSD is reported to be the most popular hallucinogen among users.  Ranked on the most abused list at number 8, LSD, also known as “acid,” is the most potent hallucinogen in the world. It is often sold on blotting paper, or “window panes.”  The effects of LSD are unpredictable, altering the user’s mood, personality, and sensations of reality. (CDAC, 2012).

9-Methamphetamine: The ninth most abused drug is methamphetamine, also known as meth, crank, or speed.  Meth produces feelings of well-being and energy which can last from 4 to 16 hours.  Because of its lasting effects, it is a popular drug for both parties and nightclubs. Meth is highly addictive, and burns up the body’s resources.

10-Heroin: Although it is last on the list of most abused drugs by the CDAC, heroin remains a commonly abused drug today.  It is made from poppy plants and is a highly addictive opiate.  It can be injected, smoked, or sniffed and creates a feeling of a euphoric rush.  Users feel an increased ability to communicate easily with others, and report heightened sexual performance.

 

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