methA mental health facility in Australia is considering tighter security to guard against the meth abuse threatening their walls. Sniffer dogs and saliva testing are just two of the methods being contemplated

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, chair of the Melbourne Health board, is concerned with the number of visitors who are smuggling Meth in to Melbourne Health’s psychiatric facility in Broadmeadows. Doyle compared the situation to a prison, saying that drugs are entering the facility in the same manner—through visitations.

The Dangers of Methamphetamine

The synthetic drug known as Meth, Crystal Meth and Ice is a very powerful central nervous system stimulant. Not only does it produce an intense high, it is accompanied by increased energy, decreased appetite, and less need for sleep. Users also experience increased heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, restlessness and anxiety.

A major concern of health officials when it comes to meth use in a psychiatric facility is the mental and emotional effect of the drug. Although meth produces a twelve-hour euphoria, it drains the body of the brain chemicals that regulate pleasure and sensation. Therefore, most meth users experience deep depression after coming down from meth. This is often what prompts them to continue use of the drug.

The mental effects of the drug also present a precarious situation. Prolonged meth use produces a form of psychosis known colloquially as “tweaking.” This includes loss of memory, loss of time perception, and dementia-like confusion. Many of the symptoms resemble that of Alzheimer’s. Chronic users may also experience uncontrollable violence, anxiety, hallucinations (including voices in the head) and heavy mood swings.

In many cases, meth-induced psychosis is irreparable.

Meth in Australia

A recent report shed some light on the meth problem in Australia.

Crystal meth has been cited as a national concern, being compared to the American crack cocaine obsession of the 1980’s. Usage and detection continues to mount, and one study reveals that the use of crystal meth in Australia has increased by ten percent in the last three years.

Law enforcement recently turned its target from the end of the chain–the drug users–to the beginning–raw materials and manufacturing facilities. As a result, the number of clandestine labs uncovered in the last ten years has doubled.

Amphetamine: Meth’s Evil Cousin

Amphetamine, the synthetic drug prescribed for psychiatric cases such as ADHD and narcolepsy, also raises concern among authorities in Australia. Over the past four years, people seeking treatment for amphetamine jumped 97 percent. Less than thirty percent were injecting the drug illegally, so the majority of them were addicted to drugs their doctors had prescribed.

Amphetamines have become very common of late. Physicians seem prescription-happy, dishing out the drug to anyone from babies to the elderly. Yet there are a number of extremely dangerous side effects from Amphetamine.

Low to moderate doses of the drug can produce feelings of euphoria and power, increased talkativeness, nervousness, anxiety, agitation, panic, paranoia, hallucinations, hostility, aggression, trouble sleeping, and heart palpitations.

Higher doses of amphetamine can produce overdose. Amphetamine abuse (like Adderall abuse, a common practice among college students) is very dangerous because it is difficult to know the purity and therefore the strength of what you are consuming. Side effects of high doses of amphetamine include tremors, irregular breathing, collapse, rapid heartbeat, violent or aggressive behavior, hallucinations, seizures, stroke and coma.

The drug can also produce a manifestation known as “amphetamine psychosis,” which is no different than tweaking. In fact, many symptoms of amphetamine are very similar to those of meth.

Methamphetamine falls in the same category as prescription amphetamines.