When Meth Takes a Real Life Turn
Breaking Bad was 2013’s most researched television show. Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the show involves a struggling chemistry teacher being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. After receiving the news, Walter White (the teacher) turns to a life of crime and teaming up with a student begins a methamphetamine operation in order to collect enough money to support his family before he dies. The show reached number 1 in the nation for the most watched in the late stages of the year.
Monday, January 6, 2014: a fifty-three year old man is sentenced to nine years in federal prison for “possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.” The District Judge reported the man was responsible for possessing 32 pounds of the drug and had a history of firearm offenses and violence. Three years were tacked on to his charges because of the firearms history. The man’s name is Walter White.
Of course, this could simply be a coincidence – probably is nothing but. Perhaps the real Walter watched Breaking Bad and thought it a great idea for him to break into the drug trafficking business. I mean, thirty-two and a half pounds of meth is pretty extreme. But the problem is not the television show. The problem is the method in which both men decided to make their money. Drug trafficking is and continues to be a major problem in the United States. Drugs come from various parts of the globe – from Mexico to China – and methamphetamine is as heavy and harmful as it gets.
Methamphetamine and Its Effects
Methamphetamine is one of the most harmful drugs available. As it is a psychoactive substance, it reacts with the chemicals in the brain. The highly addictive stimulant wears on the user’s body and mind, causing a noticeable physical change, deteriorating health, and mental shifts such as mood swings and depression. People addicted to meth often become isolated and engage in behaviors that might land them in jail or prison. In the grip of the high, meth users might go to great lengths, even ignoring laws in their pursuit of the drug.
Methamphetamine causes the brain to release dopamine into the body. Dopamine is involved in feelings like motivation, pleasure, and motor function. The high amounts of dopamine released by meth use make the user feel the “good feelings”. These feelings cause the user to take more and more of the drug, causing an elevated probability of overdose. Meth also causes the heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature to increase. Dehydration and seizures are also highly probable with increased use. Hyperthermia is an increase in the body temperature beyond its ability to control. If this goes untreated, the person might experience a heat stroke and this can even be fatal.
Methamphetamines can be ingested a variety of different ways, including smoking, injecting, and snorting depending on how soon the user wants to feel the euphoric effects. Because the effects of methamphetamine disappear before the drug is completely gone from the bloodstream, users take more of the drug to keep up the high. Some even avoid sleep for days and use meth to maintain the effects.
Methamphetamine is currently listed as a Schedule II drug, meaning it is only legally available through prescription. As it is in the stimulant class, drugs like it have been cleared as treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Due to its value as a prescribed medication, methamphetamine has a high probability of addiction. Methamphetamines accounted for 103,000 trips to the emergency room in 2011, making it the fourth most used illicit drug. Methamphetamines are most prevalent in the West and Midwest regions of the United States.