Is Methamphetamine America’s Most Popular Drug

methOne of the more popular drugs in our nation does the most harm to the body and mind. Methamphetamine has become one of the worst drugs to hit America’s streets since World War II. Meth is all around us; the facts are posted on public forums, the Before-and-After photos are available to view, and almost all of them cause a wince. Meth operations are even shown in movies and popular television shows, such as Breaking Bad, coupled with stories that pull at sympathy strings and cause audiences to “root for” the criminals. Meth is one of the most addictive drugs on the streets. For all the awareness out there about meth, it is still so popular despite the devastation it causes on so many levels.

Meth, like most addictive drugs, causes the body to overproduce dopamine, a natural substance produced by the body that deals with pleasure and motor functions. When the drug is introduced into the system, the user experiences a euphoria – a high – and wants to keep the good feelings. After the drug wears off, the body experiences a small withdrawal and the user seeks out the drug for the high again. Each time, the body adapts and builds up a “tolerance” to the amount. Each time, the body produces less and less dopamine, which causes the user to have a suppressed ability to feel “good feelings”. The user then seeks the drug just to feel “normal” and the process continues. Meth can also affect the user’s mental state, causing hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. Physical ailments, such as AIDS/HIV and Hepatitis, can also be transmitted as users are likely to share needles. Some people “wired” on meth do not feel pain. Police officers have had problems arresting someone half their size because they were high on meth. As with most drugs, the physical and mental effects of meth have long lasting repercussions.

Meth’s Drug Transformation

Unlike heroin and marijuana, which key ingredients are harvested from crops, meth requires precursor drug transformation. Users purchase (or steal) decongestants like Sudafed and match books for red phosphorus as ingredients to initiate chemical reactions in the cooking of meth. Anhydrous ammonia is also used as a method for meth labs. These chemical reactions can cause fatal explosions, devastating communities. Meth labs can be as small as a bottle under the kitchen sink, or as elaborate as an underground laboratory. Because of its simple productions methods, users are able to create meth practically anywhere.

Amphetamine was first created in the late 1800s by a Romanian chemist at the University of Berlin. It was resynthesized in the 1920s to be used clinically as a treatment for asthma, hay fever, and colds. Amphetamine was also used as a nasal congestion. Methamphetamine was first synthesized in Japan in the late 1800s as an awareness booster. Workers used meth to boost their energy level and work longer hours – like caffeine is used today. It was also used in World War II by Hitler to boost the awareness and suppress appetite in soldiers.

Though meth has gained exposure and popularity, the numbers have been decreasing with drug abuse resistance efforts, especially among children. In 2009, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health completed a survey on the prevalence of abuse in people age 12 and over. The 731,000 children using meth in 2006 decreased to 529,000 in 2007 and further decreased to 314,000 in 2008. The numbers declined even more significantly in young adults and children between the ages of 13 and 17.

Drug is Highly Addictive & Dangerous

As with every drug, taking methamphetamine is a personal choice. Awareness about the harmful effects of meth can help deviate from a life of poor choices, diminishing health, and a decreased mental awareness. Meth has many immediate effects, but the repetitive use, which is more likely to happen as meth is highly addictive, will cause more damage to the mind and body. Putting harmful, foreign substances into the body is never a good choice. With proper education, a person is well equipped to live a life free of drugs and pursue their dreams with vigor and satisfaction.

References:
Ghose, T. (2013, September 27). ‘Breaking Bad’ Comes to an End: 6 Strange Meth Facts. Retrieved October 10, 2013, from LiveScience: http://www.livescience.com/40022-6-facts-about-methamphetamine.html

National Institute of Drug Abuse. (2010, March). DrugFacts: Methamphetamine. Retrieved October 10, 2013, from

National Institute on Drug Abuse: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine

University of Arizona. (n.d.). Origin And History. Retrieved October 10, 2013, from Methoide: http://methoide.fcm.arizona.edu/infocenter/index.cfm?stid=164


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