Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth or speed, glass, crystal or crank, is a powerful stimulant that affects the central nervous system of human beings. It is a highly addictive drug. It stimulates the brain and the spinal cord hindering the normal function of neurotransmission.
Meth is sold inform of pills, capsules, powder and chunks and can be taken into the body systems through injections, inhaling or smoking.
There are three different types of methamphetamine they include dextro-methamphetamine (d-meth) the most abused and common form of meth its side effects are said to be fewer as compared to the other forms, dextro-levo methamphetamine (dl-meth) that is said to be difficult to manufacture and the side effects are more severe than d-meth and they include tremors, shakes and stomach cramps and lastly levo- methamphetamine (l-meth).
Becoming an addict to meth is quite easy as just a small dose is said to make a person feel pleasurable instantly other meth users report that after taking the drug a sudden “rush” is felt in the body this rush is sensational and very pleasurable for a user.
But once the drug wears off from the system this person become depressed and starts to get irritated and will look for more methamphetamine in order to revive the pleasurable feeling from before resulting to physical dependence of the drug.
From research conducted and reported by law enforcers and treatment providers, those who are using meth are commonly in the high school and college while others are the working class and even the unemployed people mostly who are about 20 and 30 years of age.
The main users of meth are the whites. In Oregon State, the whites make up 94 % of the people using methamphetamine among these the statistics further showed that 54% of the users were men while 46% were women. It has been a major problem in that particular state since its introduction in the 1980s.
The number of deaths recorded as a result of consuming the drug by 2007 is more than 106. Women are said to most likely turn to meth as a substance abuse compared to the abuse of cocaine. As for the youth, the drug is becoming common because abusers of the drug perceive it as being safe longer lasting effects and easy to buy compared to cocaine.
In the United States, a survey conducted by Monitoring the Future whose role is to measure the degree of substance abuse found out that meth was being used by high school students and the number has grown more than twice as compared to between the 1990s. These youngsters are involved in both selling and using the drug as teenagers as young as 13-14 years.
The effects of this drug maybe of short term or long term, depending on the duration and amount of drug being consumed by an individual. The short term effects are experienced once the drug is introduced into the body system.
A kind of pleasurable sensation is experienced; it also includes increase in alertness, increased physical activity, and decrease in appetite, the respiration rate increases and increase in wakefulness.
Meth is also known to cause hyperthermia that can lead to sudden death and cardiovascular collapse especially due to high blood pressure that leads to constrictions of veins.
Long term effects are chronic the addict may have suicidal thoughts, adopt psychotic or violent behavior even if he/she was not violent, have auditory hallucinations. The victim may become paranoid to an extent of becoming delusional and also having mood swings. The addict also experiences dental problems like having bleeding gums
As for women, the feeling of invincibility brought about by having meth is their body system is what is said to lure them to continuously take the drug. Some of the women who are addicted to meth believe they can do anything and can accomplish all they want.
These feeling is an effect brought by the drug. Most women, especially the mothers turn to meth in order to relive themselves from the social pressure from work and the pressure of taking care of family responsibilities. There are those who turn to meth for comfort when they are depressed, stressed, has attention deficit disorder or bipolar disorder.
The society is however more concerned by the fact that the practice of using meth is increasing among the gay members leading to high risks of these individuals acquiring HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
People on meth are characterized by lack of sleep and they start to hallucinate mostly they tend to imagine that they have bugs crawling over their bodies and skin and they end up picking these imaginary bugs that later results to wounds then scars known as meth sores.
There are those women who use the drug to loose weight because one of the effects of meth is that one looses appetite. The fact that these people eat very little strains the functioning of the body system.
But the weight loss resulting from taking meth is extreme and not the normal weight loss. This however changes when the body begins to adapt to the toxins introduced to the body resulting to no more weight loss issues.
Another part of the body that is affected by using meth is the mouth (“Basic facts…” 16). All those using the drug have signs of tooth decays a condition that has come to be known as “meth mouth”. These people are characterized by having rotten teeth or having black stained teeth caused by the corrosive chemicals available in the drug e.g. ammonia, red phosphorous and lithium.
According to a 2000 report from the Journal of Periodontology, it was found out that the extent of tooth decay varied from one user to another. According to the report those people who used the drug through snorting had worse tooth decay conditions as compared to those who used it through smoking or injecting it directly into the blood stream (Kashani and Ruha 988).
The effects are more severe during the pregnancy period. By using meth, an individual automatically alters the normal function of the body’s system and every expectant woman should be cautious of what kind of chemicals especially the drugs she is taking into her body. She should be aware that not all drugs are good during the pregnancy period because the effects of most of the drugs will recur to the unborn baby because the toxins of the drugs will penetrate from the placenta into the baby’s’ body.
The effects of the toxins may result to the baby being born with all kinds of defects such as cleft palates and other behavioral disorders that can extend even when the child is all grown up.
There are other problems encountered by women who use meth while still in their pregnancy period example is the lack of appetite that leads to the woman becoming malnourished directly affecting the baby’s health thus the baby experiences weight loss after birth.
At times children born by mothers who are addicts of meth tend to become dependent to methamphetamines hence becoming addicts themselves. One of the worst effects of meth to the unborn baby is that they end up having long term neurodevelopment problems.
Another problem encountered by an expectant woman who is under the influence of meth is premature labor pains or birth and they can even end up having miscarriages. The purpose of this relying this information it to make those women who abuse meth and still go ahead and get pregnant know that they can get help (Roll 9-10).
The unborn child does not have to live a life full of health problems just because the mother did not care about them when she was having fun while she intoxicated the child in her womb. If an expectant woman is experiencing meth addiction, she is obligated to seek the necessary health care for both her and her unborn baby.
Seeking help during the early terms of her pregnancy gives a good chance to of having a healthy baby who will live a practically normal life just like any other child. But those who are late into their pregnancy term should not give up hope of having healthy babies.
If a pregnant woman really cares for the health of her child she should do everything she can to ensure that the child gets exactly that. Expectant women who are addicts of meth should be aware that any help provided no matter what trimester of her pregnancy she is in the baby is said to always benefit from all the available help.
Some of the help given to these women and their unborn children is detoxification that should be carried out safely through guide lines provided by professionals concerned with drug addicts more especially in a rehab.
In a rehab one is sure of a treatment program concerned with meth addicts, addicts are sure of getting care that includes detoxification, substance abuse treatment, obstetric evaluation and psychiatric evaluation (Roll 13).
As for children in the United States, they are increasingly getting exposed to the drug because most of the labs used to manufacture the drugs are right in their homes. These children are exposed to all kinds of toxic matter used in the creation of the drug.
There are fumes produced as end products when making the drug. The fumes are highly toxic and when a child inhales the fumes, they are bound to have health problems that may last a lifetime. Some of the health problems these children face include, brain damage, liver ,kidney and lung failure, they also acquire skin problems.
Children brought up by parents who abuse the drug are known to be abused by their parents and most of them facing negation from their parents and guardians. The children end up experiencing emotional problems and distress others develop some behavioral problems due to rejection and neglect.
United States continent has been presented with challenges in dealing with the meth epidemic. Meth problem should be among the agendas that need to be solved to reduce the number of legal environmental and social problems caused by its use. During a campaign to help those addicted of meth in Oregon around 2008, an average number of over 7000 people were admitted into rehab centers for treatment among these people, 49.1.5 of them were women ranging from 12 to 65 years of age many of whom were in the age bracket of 26-65 years.
Women especially those who are expectant or those who have young children need to be aware that they are entitled to proper care especially if they are recovering from being addicts. Even though treatment can be given to expectant mothers outside the rehab centers, still they are required to have people who will look after them and ensure they carry out their prenatal responsibilities properly (Hansell 8).
Those who are in charge of the health of these women should monitor their patients carefully to avoid relapse experiences. If possible all patients suffering from these addictions should be placed in places where there would be enough care for them and their children.
Women who are recovering from consumption of the drug are known to have relapses especially when they experience any form of exhaustion, or house work burdens that comes with the taking care of a child and having to carry out almost all family responsibilities. These women might turn to meth because that is what they believe would solve their problems by giving them the energy required to accomplish all the tasks at hand.
The process of recovering from methamphetamine is done in stages. Recovery processes are long and they involve therapy sessions where addicts are taught how to manage their cravings and they are also encouraged not to engage in any activity that would cause a relapse. Parents are urged to talk to their children about substance abuse to reduce the rate which young people are indulging in substance abuse including the public health providers who are responsible of administering good health to patients.
“Basic facts about methamphetamine.” Drug rehabs.org. 2002. Web. 5 Feb 2002.
Hansell, Bill. “The Meth Epidemic in America.” NACo (2006): 1-10. Print.
Kashani, John and Ruha Anne-Michelle. “Methamphetamine Toxicity Secondary to Intravaginal Body Stuffing.” Journal of Toxicology Vol. 42, No. 7 (2004): 987–989. Print.
“Methamphetamine.” www.drugabuse.gov (2010): 1-4. Print.
Roll, John, et al. “Contingency Management for the Treatment of Methamphetamine Use Disorders.” Am J Psychiatry 163:1993-1999, (November 2006): 1-13. Print.