“That doesn’t happen in this neighborhood.” We have all heard the saying, mostly spoken in neighborhoods of higher class or in areas where crime seems to be less frequent. The truth is, this does happen; it happens in most every neighborhood – and the manufacturing of methamphetamine is no exception. Rural areas are becoming more and more popular for meth labs, partially because of the lack of police presence in far-out areas, and partially because the ingredients needed to cook meth are more readily available. As one city in Ohio found out, the dangers of making meth in home labs can be fatal.
An explosion in Hamilton County, Ohio rises increasing concern for meth labs in the rural areas. Statistics in Hamilton County show an increase in meth labs showing up over the past few years; from the three reported in 2011 and 2012 to now 11 in 2013. Law enforcement officials stated that meth labs that were not controlled, which most home labs are not, are more likely to result in explosion and fatalities due to the ignorance about chemical reactions. The production of meth has changed over the years. “Cooks” use chemicals like anhydrous ammonia, red phosphorus, lithium, and drain cleaner in the process of creating meth.
How Meth Affects the Mind and Body
Methamphetamine, a derivative of its base amphetamines, is a powerful stimulant. It is often seen in its white, odorless powder form and dissolves in liquids like alcohol and water. Meth acts on the pleasure system of the brain, the release of dopamine acting on the reward system of the body and causing euphoric feelings. Those under the influence of meth experience increased talkativeness, decreased appetite, and alertness. As meth is more potent than its parent drug, it stays in the body longer and has increased effects. The harmful effects are also more powerful. Increased heart rate and blood pressure are side effects of the drug. The body temperature also increases dramatically, resulting in a heightened risk of extreme dehydration, hypothermia (the extreme increase of temperature in the body beyond its ability to control), and seizures or heat stroke. Due to the euphoric effects, users tend to take more of the drug to keep the “good feelings” up. Of course, this increases the risks to the body.
Meth Addiction and Recovery
As with most addictions, meth can be very difficult to overcome. The withdrawal symptoms wear on the mind and body, causing extreme depression, lack of motivation, and mood swings. The body may have terrible cravings and feel itchy. Meth deteriorates the physical health of the person. Extended meth users will have a frail physical appearance. Their skin might have open cuts due to their scratching and their teeth and gums will be eroded and black (commonly known as “meth mouth”).
Seeking help for a loved one with a drug addiction may be a draining effort. Many addicts do not believe they have a problem and will deny getting treatment. Some even go to treatment and then relapse once they are released, as one family in Oklahoma discovered. Their son had been struggling with a meth addiction for over 10 years, attended a 30-day rehabilitation where he was able to stay clean for 6 months, then went back to meth. The family thought their son’s meth use would only stop when he was dead. Then, while surfing the internet, they found an ad about Narconon. They contacted a counselor and found out about their success rating (based on recent Outcome Monitoring studies, and staff and client reviews) and how they work to get addicts back on their feet. Reluctantly, their son agreed to attend and after finishing the program, he is now drug-free.
Finding the right help for addicts is the most important part of their recovery. If you know someone who needs help, please call Narconon at 1-800-468-6933.
National Institute on Drug Abuse – http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/mind-over-matter/methamphetamine