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Meth: The monster lurking behind America’s opioid epidemic

Posted on 07-07-2017 Posted in Drug Abuse, Drug Rehab, Dual diagnosis treatment - 0 Comments

Meth, the killer stimulant that’s hiding in the shadow of the nation’s opioid crisis, is fast becoming the next big threat for the U.S. Though one of the most addictive and destructive drugs, meth kills slowly and at lower rates as compared to other deadly opioids. Its usage has seen a rapid increase in many U.S. states including Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Montana, Minnesota, South Dakota and the rural areas of Ohio.

Apart from these states, the resurgence of meth has affected Wisconsin as well. According to a 2016 study, the state has seen a 250 percent increase in meth abuse from 2000 to 2015. While there seems to be no simple solution to the growing meth problem, the state is doing everything from facilitating education about meth use and abuse to enhancing law enforcement components.

Another state that has witnessed an upsurge in meth addiction is Texas. The state has witnessed an increase in deaths, poison center calls and treatment center admissions related to meth abuse. According to Jane Maxwell, a researcher at the University of Texas, Austin, who has documented a spike in the state’s meth abuse, the stimulant is also causing an increase in HIV cases. She added that while the state funds are utilized to combat opioid epidemic and treating opioid users, meth users are often ignored.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA), 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 897,000 Americans aged 12 years or older were current users of meth. As per the agency’s Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report, emergency room (ER) visits related to meth saw an increase from an estimated 68,000 in 2007 to 103,000 in 2011, with more than 60 percent of these visits involving meth usage with at least one more substance.

Causes for sudden growth

While the problem of meth addiction is not new, the rise in the drug’s potency and affordability, mass production in Mexico, and a deeper penetration by illegal drug cartels in the states has contributed to its growing influence.

States are seeing an increase in seizure rates with Arizona reporting an increase of 140 percent over the past five years. According to Douglas Coleman, special agent, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Arizona, Mexican cartels are not only mass producing the high-potency drug and transferring it via illegal trade, they are also luring coke customers to switch to meth, thereby increasing the number of its users.

Although the nation continues to focus its resources on curbing drug supplies and taking defaulters into custody, there is not much change in the demand for this drug. According to Henry Brownstein, director at Virginia Commonwealth University’s, Center for Public Policy, it is nearly impossible to stop people from using meth.

Effects of meth abuse

Known by other names like crystal and ice, meth can be smoked, snorted, swallowed or injected. The stimulant can also be dissolved in water and injected. Meth users experience a sense of euphoria, an increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat, reduced appetite and increased verbosity.

As the high from the drug can begin and fade quickly, it is often taken in repeated doses in a binge and crash pattern to retain its euphoric effect. A Schedule II stimulant, long-term usage of meth can produce effects including mood swings, anxiety and insomnia. When used in large quantities, individuals may also experience delusions, paranoia and hallucinations. Various studies have revealed that prolonged meth usage may modify behavior and change the brain in long-lasting ways.

Road to recovery

Whatever be one’s addiction, a timely and comprehensive treatment can allow one to gain and maintain sobriety throughout one’s life. A successful meth addiction treatment involves a combination of detoxification, management of withdrawal symptoms, and counseling sessions. A leading methamphetamine detox center, Sovereign Health of Florida offers effective addiction treatment to provide all its patients with long lasting recovery.

In addition to traditional therapy, treatment for methamphetamine addiction Florida also has an aftercare program called Technology Enhanced Aftercare and Monitoring (T.E.A.M) program that assists patients in returning to normal life and resisting the addictive substance, post completion of their treatment.

For more information on our holistic addiction treatment programs or to locate our state-of-the-art methamphetamine detox centers near you, call our 24/7 helpline number. You can even chat online with one of our representatives for further assistance.

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The dual diagnosis program was what attracted me to Sovereign Health. My therapist was always open for discussion and the group sessions were very informative and educational.

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