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Methamphetamine Abuse

Methamphetamine abuse is a subject that hits me on a personal level. My dad has been addicted

to methamphetamines since I was 2 years old, giving him 25 years of addiction. Minus the few

months here and there that he was sober, either thanks to jail, or some type of drug court or rehab

program that he was on for that time being. He always went back to using again. This drug is

such a problem, and it is so addictive. I know that my family isnt the only one being effected,

and I know I am not the only one who has grown up in this sort of situation. So, if you havent

had any experience with this you might wonder: How does this drug effect families? How can

someone get sober or recover? How many people are suffering from this addiction? What does

Meth use do to your health? What are some programs that can help?

What it Does to Families

This is an issue that many families are facing, not just mine. This drug addiction tears families

apart, and ruins the person using them. When a person has a drug problem, they have a disease

that can hurt the family. Drug use puts a lot of stress on parents, brothers and sisters,

grandparentsanyone who is part of the home. When family members take drugs you can't

count on them to do what they say they will do, they may forget or get distracted because their

focus is on getting and taking drugs. They might lie or steal money to buy drugs, get fired from

their jobs, sometimes they may not come home at night. They may do bad things that they would

never do if they weren't using drugs. Family members might fight a lot because of the problems

the drug use is causing. The person who is using drugs might do and say things that upset

neighbors and friends, and make the family ashamed. Some people who are addicted don't

believe that they are sick and out of control, so they don't look for treatment. They don't see the
problems they are causing themselves and those around them. Other people who are addicted are

aware of the problem, but may be so upset and confused that they don't know how to ask for or

get help (Drugabuse.gov).

The Journey to Recovery

I have only met one person in my life that was able to kick the meth habit and live the sober life.

He had been caught manufacturing methamphetamine in his trailer because it blew up. Luckily

nobody was hurt. He went to prison for eight years, got out and never touched the stuff again. He

found his wife, had five kids, and now owns a major cleaning business. Just a couple years ago

he was talking to me about how proud he was of his sobriety and how he and his wife were going

out to celebrate his record being expunged. I wish that cases like this were more frequent, and it

was easier to be successful at quitting meth and living a sober, happy life, sadly it is not. My dad

has been to jail 47 times (yes, I keep count), sometimes being in for over a year, comes home and

stays sober for maybe a week, then hes back at it again.

To get sober, the abuser has too truly, want to be sober. According to Drugs, Behavior and

Modern Society, there are five stages of rehabilitation. The five stages of rehabilitation are

precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. The precontemplation

stage is when the individual wishes to change, but lacks the intention of undergoing change, in

the foreseeable future, or knowing how big their problem has become. The second stage,

contemplation is when someone is aware that their problem exists, and thinks about overcoming

their problem, but has not yet made a commitment to do it. Third is the preparation stage, this is

when someone seriously considers overcoming their problem in the next month, and has

unsuccessfully done so over the past twelve months. The fourth stage is the action stage. This is

when the individual modifies their environment and behavior to overcome the problem. The fifth
stage is the maintenance stage, this is when an individual has been drug free for six months and

has learned the skills and strategies to help reduce the risk of relapse.

How many people are suffering from this addiction?

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated the worldwide production of

amphetamine-type stimulants, which includes methamphetamine, at nearly 500 metric tons a

year, with 24.7 million abusers.

The United States government reported in 2008 that approximately 13 million people over the

age of 12 have used methamphetamineand 529,000 of those are regular users.

In 2007, 4.5% of American high-school seniors and 4.1% of tenth grade students reported using

methamphetamine at least once in their life.

In the United States, the percentage of drug treatment admissions due to methamphetamine and

amphetamine abuse tripled from 3% in 1996 to 9% in 2006. Some states have much higher

percentages, such as Hawaii, where 48.2% of the people seeking help for drug or alcohol abuse

in 2007 were methamphetamine users (Foundationforadrugfreeworld).

In Utah alone there are many people in the state who are actually addicted to methamphetamine.

This is why there are many methamphetamine treatments located all over Utah. To show the

extent of meth addiction, there are a few statistics to look at. For example, its been reported that

about 4% of all students in Utah have used methamphetamine at least once. Methamphetamine is

known to create a strong addiction very quickly. Therefore, it is very likely that they might

become addicts at a very young age. in fact, there are many young people who seek

methamphetamine treatment in Utah. Actually, crystal meth is a really big problem, shown in the

fact that 30% of all drug treatment admissions are for methamphetamine addiction. And the
statistics also show that 75% of all women who attend methamphetamine treatments are between

the age of 18 and 35 years old. This means that they got addicted to meth pretty young, which is

a really big problem in itself (DRS).

What Does Meth Use do to Your Health?

Meth users have their health directly affected by use of the drug. My father has used for 25 years,

and was just diagnosed last month with congenital heart failure, emphysema, and severe sleep

apnea. All the drug use over the years has taken a major toll on his organs, his heart and his lungs

being in the worst shape. His liver is not working at full capacity either. My dad is only 48 years

old and has the organs of a 75-year-old man is what his cardiologist said. Not only are his

insides messed up, but his teeth rotted as well. His teeth chipped away and turned dark yellow,

then they all started falling out. Now he cant hold a job because of his addiction, he has no

health insurance and is falling apart. His drug abuse is costing him his life.

When taken, meth and crystal meth create a false sense of well-being and energy, and so a

person will tend to push his body faster and further than it is meant to go. Thus, drug users can

experience a severe crash or physical and mental breakdown after the effects of the drugs wear

off. Because continued use of the drug decreases natural feelings of hunger, users can experience

extreme weight loss. Negative effects can also include disturbed sleep patterns, hyperactivity,

nausea, delusions of power, increased aggressiveness and irritability. Other serious effects can

include insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, anxiety and paranoia.1 In some cases, use can cause

convulsions that lead to death.

Long-range damage
In the long term, meth use can cause irreversible harm: increased heart rate and blood pressure;

damaged blood vessels in the brain that can cause strokes or an irregular heartbeat that can, in

turn, cause cardiovascular collapse or death; and liver, kidney and lung damage. Users may

suffer brain damage, including memory loss and an increasing inability to grasp abstract

thoughts. Those who recover are usually subject to memory gaps and extreme mood swings.

Short-Term Effects

Loss of appetite, increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, dilation of pupils,

disturbed sleep patterns, nausea, bizarre, erratic, sometimes violent behavior, hallucinations,

hyperexcitability, irritability, panic and psychosis, convulsions, seizures and death from high

doses.

Long-Term Effects

Permanent damage to blood vessels of heart and brain, high blood pressure leading to heart

attacks, strokes and death, liver, kidney and lung damage, destruction of tissues in nose if sniffed,

respiratory (breathing) problems if smoked, infectious diseases and abscesses if injected,

malnutrition, weight loss, severe tooth decay, disorientation, apathy, confused exhaustion, strong

psychological dependence, psychosis, depression, damage to the brain similar to Alzheimers

disease, stroke and epilepsy(Foundationforadrugfreeworld).

Getting Help for The Addict and Their Loved Ones

There are many resources available for addicts and their loved ones to receive help and aid

everyone in the journey to recovery. Not all programs are right for everyone, so it is important to

choose what is best for you. Some families use many resources and not just one, it all depends on
your situation. However, there are some resources to help with this process. For example,

NIDAs handbook Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What to Ask offers guidance in finding

the right treatment program. Numerous online resources can help locate a local program or

provide other information, including:

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) maintains

a Web site (www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov) that shows the location of residential,

outpatient, and hospital inpatient treatment programs for drug addiction and alcoholism

throughout the country. This information is also accessible by calling 1-800-662-HELP.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) offers more than just

suicide preventionit can also help with a host of issues, including drug and alcohol abuse,

and can connect individuals with a nearby professional.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org) and Mental Health America

(www.mentalhealthamerica.net) are alliances of nonprofit, self-help support organizations

for patients and families dealing with a variety of mental disorders. Both have State and

local affiliates throughout the country and may be especially helpful for patients with

comorbid conditions.

The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and the American Academy of Child

and Adolescent Psychiatry each have physician locator tools posted on their Web sites at

aaap.org and aacap.org, respectively.

Faces & Voices of Recovery (facesandvoicesofrecovery.org), founded in 2001, is an

advocacy organization for individuals in long-term recovery that strategizes on ways to

reach out to the medical, public health, criminal justice, and other communities to promote

and celebrate recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.


The Partnership at Drugfree.org (drugfree.org) is an organization that provides

information and resources on teen drug use and addiction for parents, to help them prevent

and intervene in their childrens drug use or find treatment for a child who needs it. They

offer a toll-free helpline for parents (1-855-378-4373).

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (asam.org) is a society of physicians aimed

at increasing access to addiction treatment. Their Web site has a nationwide directory of

addiction medicine professionals.

NIDAs National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (drugabuse.gov/about-

nida/organization/cctn/ctn) provides information for those interested in participating in a

clinical trial testing a promising substance abuse intervention; or visit clinicaltrials.gov.

NIDAs DrugPubs Research Dissemination Center (drugpubs.drugabuse.gov) provides

booklets, pamphlets, fact sheets, and other informational resources on drugs, drug abuse, and

treatment.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (niaaa.nih.gov) provides

information on alcohol, alcohol use, and treatment of alcohol-related problems

(niaaa.nih.gov/search/node/treatment)(NationalInstituteonDrugAbuse).

Summary

I dont know if my dad will ever find his way out of the addiction process, or ever live the

sober life, but there is hope out there for everyone. Drug addiction effects the person using,

and their families directly. Meth use, is an healthy choice and harms your health and body

majorly, especially the longer it is used. There are options and programs out there for people

who are seeking help.


References:

https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/content/drug-use-hurts-families

Levinthal, Charles F. Drugs, behavior, and modern society. Vol. 7. Boston: Pearson, 2016. Print.

http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/crystalmeth/a-worldwide-epidemic-of-addiction.html

http://www.addicted.org/meth-treatment-utah.html

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-

guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/where-can-family-members-go-information