methMethamphetamine is one of the most dangerous drugs in the United States. For one county, the death toll reached the second highest ever recorded in 2012. San Diego County, though it is no longer the meth-capitol of the world, observed its highest mortality rate since they began recording in 1995. 217 meth-induced deaths were tallied, second most to the 245 in 2005. More than half of them were between the ages of 40 and 60. The county also observed several other factors when dealing with meth in comparison to other drugs. Since 2008, emergency room discharges had decreased by 65 percent as well as admission for treatment (decreased by 16%). Adults who tested positive rose from 24 percent to 36 percent. Arrests for sales and possession rose 54 percent. Juvenile arrests rose, children were removed from “drug infested environments”, and several other categories that were caused by the terrible drug that is methamphetamine.

The “Knowns” of Meth

Methamphetamine is not a new drug, though new names seem to pop up every year. Originally patented in the early 20th century in nasal sprays and inhalers, methamphetamine has been used in drugs, even today. The drug is so easy to manufacture that amateur scientists make them in everything from complex meth operations to portable labs in soda bottles. Ingredients are purchased over the counter and some can be stored for months. Most often seen in a white, odorless powder, meth is one of the most dangerous psychoactive drugs on the planet.  It dissolves in water and alcohol – with alcohol the mixture proves to be more dangerous. Meth has been rumored to give people superhuman strength, a rumor that is merely that. Due to the drug’s components, the body is less receptive to pain, which allows a person to push the limits of their muscles without the ramifications. Usually, when the person comes down and their bodies can feel the pain again, they regret their decisions while under the influence of meth.

The drug acts on the brain chemistry. Meth targets a part of the brain responsible for things like memory, time, balance, and pleasure. The drug causes an overstimulation in that part of the brain and as a result dopamine is released. Dopamine is released when the person feels pleasure. When a person feel pleasure, dopamine is sent to the sensation that in experiencing the feeling and then the dopamine returns to the brain. Methamphetamine blocks the return of dopamine, which causes the brain to release more. The person feels a “double dose” of dopamine and again there is no return. So, the brain sends more. This keeps happening until the drug wears off. Because of the body’s adaptability, it becomes more and more accustomed to the drugs it is taking in. In short, the body develops a tolerance and more of the drug is needed to achieve the same high as the first time the body experienced the first time. This is how addiction forms and how it can take over a person’s life.

Meth users live a lifetime of bad decisions. Though the drugs are not expensive when purchased on the street, the highly addictiveness of meth force users to focus on where their next fix will come from. Addicts often neglect their responsibilities and are soon homeless, unemployed, and without support. The physical damage is devastating and noticeable. Meth mouth happens when the chemicals in meth drain the saliva glands, leaving the mouth exposed to the harmful chemicals. Meth users also commit to a life of crime, stealing from strangers and even loved ones to get money for their drugs.