Updated: Apr 23
Keeping our Teenagers Safe
Meth is engineered from a prescription drug named Desoxyn that is FDA-approved for treating attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity and obesity. It is “cooked” from this prescription using other over-the-counter drugs in a meth lab. The result is a drug that looks like a shard of glass or as a shiny blue-white rock and is usually made into a pill or powder form. Users then swallow, smoke, snort, or inject it. This stimulant drug is highly addictive and has quickly gained popularity amongst teens.
Trends in Use of Teenagers in 2015
In 2015, The National Institute for Drug Abuse funded a research project entitled “Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Methamphetamine for 8th Graders, 10th Graders, and 12th Graders.” The report researched the use of Meth in these groups of students during three time periods: their lifetime, the year before the study, and the month before the study. The research reveals that at least one percent of teenagers have used it in their lifetime by tenth grade. Even in eighth grade, the percentage of teenagers who used Meth in their lifetime in 2015 was almost one percent.
Parents need to know that Meth goes by many different names. If a teen using one of these terms or see one of these terms in writing, there is a problem. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency currently lists all the following as aliases for Methamphetamine: “Batu, Bikers Coffee, Black Beauties, Chalk, Chicken Feed, Crank, Crystal, Glass, Go-Fast, Hiropon, Ice, Meth, Methlies Quick, Poor Man’s Cocaine, Shabu, Shards, Speed, Stove Top, Tina, Trash, Tweak, Uppers, Ventana, Vidrio, Yaba, and Yellow Bam.”
The Effects of Meth Use
If a teenager is using Methamphetamine, physical differences can be seen in their appearance, and a difference in personality as well. Meth affects a person physically, mentally, and emotionally.
How Meth Affects the Body
Abuse of Methamphetamine can do extreme damage to the body. Abuse of the drug can lead to anorexia, severe dental problems, and memory loss. When taken in only a small amount, it may decrease appetite and increase wakefulness and physical activity. During these periods, a user may also experience rapid heart rate and irregular heartbeat and breathing. Body temperatures can increase to dangerous, even lethal levels, leading to convulsions, cardiovascular collapse, and even death. Blood pressure can spike as well, and users often experience overheating (hyperthermia).
How Meth Affects the Brain
Dopamine is a chemical neurotransmitter in the brain that increases when a person uses Meth. This chemical helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure center, as well as motor function. When Meth rapidly releases dopamine in this area of the brain, users experience a “rush.” This rush explains why the drug is so addictive for users.
How Meth Affects the Mind
When it is smoked or injected, users report a slight, intense sensation, a rush. On the other hand, snorting or oral ingestion gives users a longer-lasting high that may last as long as half a day. This is attributed to the extremely high dopamine levels in regions of the brain that control feelings like pleasure. Use of Meth on a long term basis has lots of damaging effects on the psyche, including addiction. Chronic users can display psychotic features like aggression, delusions, auditory and visual hallucinations, mood disturbances, and paranoia. Violent behavior can be exhibited, and long term abusers can also feel frequent anxiety and confusion. Insomnia is also common for chronic abusers.
Getting Treatment Addiction
Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any medications that can treat this addiction. Behavioral therapies are generally recommended, with several options: the matrix model, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational incentives or contingency management, and 12-step facilitation therapy. It is essential to work with a recovery center that can work with the patient and parent to determine which treatment route will be best. Also, seeking out support groups to help the family deal with the addiction and the patient is recommended.