We’ve discussed the opioid epidemic at length on this site. Opioids are one of the leading causes of overdose deaths in the United States, and because of the multi-decade problem we’ve had with opioid use and prescription rates, it has garnered the lion’s share of the discussion when it comes to addiction treatment.
Today, we’d like to discuss another drug that has near epidemic levels of use and contributes greatly to America’s addiction problems: methamphetamine. Southeast Addiction treats meth addiction in Nashville, TN and Norcross, GA.
What is Meth?
Methamphetamine is a potent and highly addictive drug that prominently affects the central nervous system of the person who consumes it. You may have heard it called meth for shorthand or crystal as slang.
Meth was derived from the drug amphetamine, which has many stimulating qualities on the nervous system such as increased talkativeness, quicker reaction times, increased strength, improved cognitive function (temporary), euphoria.
Methamphetamine notably is more effective than amphetamine at achieving higher concentration in the brain with similar doses.
Meth Use Statistics US (2021)
The most current information suggests that meth overdose deaths have increased greatly in the period between 2012-2018 with as much as a fivefold increase seen in certain communities—specifically Alaska Natives and American Indians which saw 21 people overdosing on meth for every 100,000 people in 2018. This is a contrast to the 5 per 100,000 that was the number in 2012.
“While much attention is focused on the opioid crisis, a methamphetamine crisis has been quietly, but actively, gaining steam—particularly among American Indians and Alaska Natives, who are disproportionately affected by a number of health conditions,” said Nora D. Volkow, M.D., NIDA director in response to the increase in meth addiction in the US.
Meth is Being Used with Other Drugs
Polydrug use is a well-known issue within the scope of addiction and addiction treatment. Meth is often combined with other stimulants such as cocaine.
Meth is often mixed with:
Mixing a stimulant and a depressant is often called speedballing, needless to say it is incredibly dangerous and is responsible for many incidences of overdose deaths and ER visits.
Southeast Addiction has seen first-hand the devastating effects of opioid addiction. When offering addiction treatment for meth in TN and GA, we have heard anecdotally from patients that either they or someone they know have at one point speedballed meth and opioids.
These drugs alone are unbelievably dangerous outside of strict medical use—and even then their addictiveness has led many medical practitioners to question the prescription of such drugs outside of emergencies or intense surgery, particularly opioids.
Meth use and overdoses are dangerous because for many individuals, meth is used as a kind of base to speedball other drugs with, though that’s not to say that meth alone isn’t dangerous.
Symptoms of Meth Addiction
Many efforts are underway to educate the public about meth. Notably, South Dakota’s governor Kristi Noem launched an anti-meth campaign that, while met with raised eyebrows, worked nonetheless. The ad shows various members of society looking clean and healthy. The text reads, “Meth, we’re on it”. While it’s obvious why this would provide prime fodder for internet memes and jokes, the message of the ad rings true, which is that we need to eradicate stereotypes about what drug use looks like.
Many people you would never suspect can struggle with addiction, and just because they seem outwardly okay doesn’t mean that they aren’t in dire need of a helping hand.
Meth use is far more widespread than many would believe. Look for these signs and symptoms of meth use so that if the situation arises, you can help identify meth addiction in a friend, family member, or significant other.
- Strong urge to scratch or intense scratching
- Rapid loss of weight
- Tooth decay (often referred to as meth mouth)
- Depression and Anxiety
- Impulsive behavior both regular and sexual
- Trembling or tremors
- Hair loss
And many, many more. Meth, like many drugs results in widespread behavioral, legal, financial, physical, and mental breakdowns.
Meth Addiction Treatment in TN, and GA
Southeast Addiction offers addiction treatment in Nashville, TN and Norcross, GA. Meth addiction is a problem of increasing severity. Rampant meth use destroys individuals and communities alike, and seeking out treatment for it is crucial.
If you or a loved one are suffering from a substance use disorder, contact Southeast Addiction today to get the help you require. Our compassionate and experienced staff have helped many individuals enter or maintain their recovery and lead a healthy, productive life.