The Wreckage of Methamphetamine
There's a series of photographs that are broadly available on the internet called The Faces of Methamphetamine. These photos show plainly, shockingly, appallingly, the utter destruction wreaked by the street drug methamphetamine.
Each part of the series is comprised of two mug shots of the same person, some months or a few years apart. Between the first and the second of one pair of photos, a beautiful brown-eyed woman ages 20 years and becomes haggard and scarred. But the time lapse between the two photos is actually a short three years five months. In another pair of images, a confused but robust man segues into a wreck, eyes barely open, his face covered with sores.
All street drugs are poisons, all have toxic effects and many are processed with toxic chemicals not intended for human consumption. But methamphetamine is particularly harsh in its mental and physical effects. It is more quickly addictive than most other drugs and creates severe emotional and mental damage. After prolonged or heavy use, it is common for methamphetamine users to become aggressive and paranoid, sometimes even violent.
The first time a person uses methamphetamine, it may be a rush unlike any the person has ever experienced before. But the average body builds a tolerance to the drug very quickly. So perhaps the next night the person tries for that same reaction again. It may take a little more of the drug to get a similar high. The next night it may take even more. The person continues to "chase" the original high, never quite achieving the same "desirable" reaction. As the dosage goes up, the damage begins to accumulate. This tolerance is included in the definition of substance dependence.
As the body adjusts to the dosage, it will also react to the withdrawal of the drug. As well, the effects of the drug will cover up some of the types of damage being done. When withdrawal starts, this damage will show up with a vengeance.
These symptoms include:
- A severe craving for the drug
- Insomnia (in contrast to the marathon binges common to meth users during which they stay awake for days or as long as the meth holds out)
- Restlessness and anxiety
- Depression which, without proper help, can persist for years
Some of these symptoms are severely aggravated by the fact that most methamphetamine addicts who have been using heavily are in terrible physical condition: malnourished, depleted and exhausted. The meth keeps the exhaustion and pain from showing up. But it will show itself when recovery is started.
The Innocents Who Suffer
Children are some of the worst victims of this drug. Meth endangers their health and their lives in multiple ways. When methamphetamine is "cooked" in the home, exposure to meth ingredients can produce headaches, coughing, chest pains, burns and damage to the brain, liver, spleen and kidneys. Chronic exposure can cause cancer.
It is not unusual for heavy addicts to neglect or abuse their children but methamphetamine addicts seem particularly oblivious to the damage they are doing, as evidenced by these recent news stories:
In Stillwater, Oklahoma, a fifteen year old girl died of an overdose of methamphetamine that was prepared for her by her mother's boyfriend.
In Evansville, Indiana in May 2011, a man was arrested for making methamphetamine in his 11-year-old daughter's bedroom.
In Greenville, South Carolina in 2010, parents of a ten-month old baby were charged with child neglect after their drug ingredients burned the baby.
In March 2011, a young woman in Wisconsin was taken into custody after she was found running around outside with her ten-month-old son while she was undergoing meth hallucinations. But that is only part of the story. At the time of this event, the woman's sister had been in jail for four years after letting her own son die while she slept off a meth binge.
And perhaps the worst story of all: In Oklahoma in late 2010, a "meth-addled woman" added her 10-day-old baby to the washer with the laundry and then passed out. When a family member went looking for the baby and could not find her, she finally thought to check the washer and found the baby, dead. Two other children in the home were removed to other care.
Recovering from Methamphetamine Addiction
Despite the terrible toll taken on a person's mind and body by methamphetamine, recovery is possible. The methamphetamine addict must have a withdrawal step that provides constant and ample nutrition. The damage done to the blood vessels, nervous system and the brain by meth use can start to heal if the body has the right raw materials to use. With enough support and a thorough drug rehabilitation experience, methamphetamine addicts can recover enough to become good parents and productive citizens again.
If you know someone suffering from methamphetamine addiction, contact a Narconon drug rehabilitation counselor right away. The Narconon program has been saving lives from the wreckage of drugs since 1966. Its drug rehabilitation method, using the sauna detox program, helps an individual remove the toxins from the body. For more information about the Narconon rehab method, please call 800-775-8750 -- one of our drug counselors will answer your questions.
Narconon Drug Information Department