In today’s society, many drugs are taken recreationally. One of the worst drugs, in terms of addiction and its negative effects on a person’s health, would be meth.
While the sweet siren song of its euphoric effect attracts many, it also blinds them to a world of negative symptoms and conditions that it also brings about.
Let’s learn more about shooting this drug and its effects on people.
What is This Drug?
Meth, otherwise known as methamphetamine, is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Also known as chalk, ice, and crystal, among many other street names, it takes the form of a white, odourless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder.
While this drug’s origins date back to the late 19th century, its use became more widespread during World War II when both sides used it to keep their troops awake.
After the war ended, it began appearing on the streets as a cheaper alternative to other stimulants like cocaine. Its popularity increased in the 1960s when it started being used as a diet pill. Eventually, it became a recreational drug.
Why Do People Take It?
The effects of this drug are intense and long-lasting, which is why people keep coming back to it despite the dangers. When people take the crystal, they experience an intense rush of pleasure or a feeling of euphoria.
This is followed by increased alertness, decreased appetite, and a boost in energy levels. In addition, users are also overwhelmed with a feeling of arousal, a loss of inhibition similar to alcohol, and a more social disposition.
In the end, these intense effects keep people coming back for more. They come back so much that they don’t see the various negative symptoms and effects creeping up on them.
The effects can last anywhere from 6 to 8 hours, and sometimes even up to 24 hours.
How Is It Taken?
There are four main ways that this drug can be taken.
The first method, and the most common one, for taking this drug is snorting it. To do this, it is crushed into a fine powder and then sniffed through the nose.
This method allows for the drug to enter the system quite quickly as it will travel to the central nervous system faster. This allows for its effects to be felt quicker than usual.
Despite this, the effects also wear off quicker when snorted. This may also introduce damage to the nose and the nasal passage.
Another way to take this drug is by smoking it. Since many people also smoke tobacco, they see this method as a safer gateway entrance to taking this drug.
The act of smoking methamphetamines allows it to travel faster into the bloodstream, similar to the way oxygen does as people breathe it. This also introduces it faster to the brain where its psychoactive effects take place.
Similar to snorting, smoking also has its own set of dangers. The damage to the nose is replaced with damage to the throat, lungs, and mouth. When it affects the lungs, it can trigger inflammation, infections, and pneumonia.
Back in the day, this drug was used for medical purposes. It was used as a form of treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. As such, it was ingested orally via pills.
These days, it is still possible to find designer drugs or pills laced and filled with methamphetamines.
Taking the drug this way takes a bit more time for the effects to take hold. Apart from that, oral ingestion quickly builds up tolerances in people. As such, oral ingestion can soon lead to other forms of taking this drug.
Finally, we have the most lethal and popular way of taking the drug, which is injecting it. Often referred to as “slamming”, this method grants a more intense and faster gambit of effects than the other methods.
When compared to the other methods, injecting this drug has immediate effects. The level of effect is also much higher, making it appealing for the users.
Consequently, taking the drug this way creates a tolerance faster to increasing doses. With increased amounts taken, the negative effects on a person’s body and mind similarly increase. As such, this method leads to overdosing.
Other problems with injecting come about due to the needles. Users usually share needles which leads to dangerous and fatal blood infections.
In addition, the needles constantly puncturing the veins can scar or even collapse them.
The Statistical Danger
This specific drug is associated with a number of deaths.
In 2017, this drug was involved in 11,367 overdose deaths. This is a large increase from the 3,738 meth-related deaths back in 2011.
This surge in meth-related deaths is said to be due to the increased purity and potency of crystal that is being distributed these days.
The lethal effects of this drug are also compounded by the fact that people who take it often don’t see its dangers.
What Are the Negative Effects?
Now that we know more about this dangerous drug and why people take it, let’s dive into some of its negative effects.
Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
Methamphetamine use is associated with an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. In fact, people who chronically abuse the drug have a much higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular problems such as strokes and heart attacks.
Damage to Blood Vessels
One of the most dangerous effects of this drug is the damage it does to blood vessels. This leads to a number of other health problems, such as an aneurysm (a ballooning of a blood vessel that can burst and cause serious bleeding). It also increases the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot that forms in the legs or hips).
The use of this dangerous drug can also lead to kidney damage. This is because meth increases the body’s production of a hormone called renin. Renin helps regulate blood pressure, but too much of it can damage the kidneys.
This drug can also lead to liver damage. This is because it is metabolized in the liver, and over time, this process can damage the organ. Crystal use can also lead to an increase in levels of enzymes that are released by the liver. These enzymes can be damaging to other organs, such as the pancreas.
Weight loss is another effect of this drug, with many “before and after” photos becoming infamous. This is because the drug speeds up the metabolism, which can lead to a decrease in appetite. Drug users may also burn more calories than they consume due to the drug’s stimulant effects.
Also associated with “not even once” photos is tooth decay. This is large because it dries out the mouth and decreases saliva production. Saliva helps protect the teeth from bacteria, and without it, the teeth are more susceptible to decay.
Skin sores are also another symptom of taking this specific drug. The use of this drug increases blood flow to the skin, which can cause the loss of collagen. Collagen is a protein that helps keep the skin elastic and smooth. Without it, the skin becomes dry and cracked.
Damage to Areas of the Body
Finally, depending on how the drug was taken, it will affect several parts of the body. If it was snorted, it will introduce problems to the nose. If it was smoked, then the lungs of a person will be in danger.
Every way of taking the drug will inevitably damage the passageway where it goes through.
Anxiety is another cornerstone of taking this drug. This is because the drug speeds up the body’s metabolism and activates the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “fight-or-flight” response, which can cause feelings of anxiety and panic.
This can lead to irrational decisions and erratic behaviour.
Following closely to anxiety is paranoia. This is because methamphetamines can cause the brain to release too much of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward, but too much of it can lead to paranoia.
This paranoia often drives people over the edge, leading them to do dangerous acts in order to preserve their perception of safety and well-being.
Then, if the drug continues to be taken, psychosis is not too far off. This is a mental state characterized by delusions and hallucinations. People who are in a meth-induced psychosis may believe that they are being watched or followed. They may also see or hear things that are not there.
Attempting to interact with these people is a recipe for disaster. They are unpredictable and very dangerous. Precautions must be taken when coming into contact with them.
Meth use can also lead to aggression. With each use, the drug increases the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. These neurotransmitters are responsible for feelings of pleasure and happiness, but too many of them can lead to aggression.
Finally, the use of this drug has also been linked to brain damage. This is because taking this drug causes a release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in pleasure and reward. Dopamine is also involved in the movement, motivation, and learning.
When this drug is used, dopamine is released in high amounts, which can lead to damage to the brain’s neurons. This damage can result in a number of problems, such as memory loss, difficulty with problem-solving, and changes in mood and behaviour.
Financial and Social Effects
The use of this drug doesn’t stop with the physical and psychological health of the user. All of these effects bleed into other aspects of people’s lives, like the venom of a snake.
For starters, addicts will inevitably run into financial troubles. Addiction is so strong that people will spend all their money on a fix. It may also result in these people trying to get money by any means they possibly can.
In addition, a person under the effects of this drug will put a significant strain on their social ties. The drastic changes it does to a person mean that they are not able to act with people in a civil manner. They may also get violent and are largely different from the persons they used to be.
For the users though, little of these things matter. The only thing that matters to them is the next fix.
The good news is that there are treatments available for those who want to get clean. These treatment options have been proven to be effective in helping people overcome their addiction to meth.
While the journey is hard, recovery is possible for those who really want it.
The first step in treatment is detoxification, which is the process of getting rid of the drug from the body. This can be done through a number of methods, such as medical supervision, tapering off the drug, or going through withdrawal
After detoxification, the next step is rehabilitation. This is where a person will receive counselling and therapy to help them deal with their addiction. Rehabilitation may also include group therapy, which can help people realize that they are not alone in their battle against meth addiction.
There are many programs out there today that can help any user.
Treatment for meth addiction is a long and difficult process, but it is possible for those who are willing to put in the work. If you or someone you know is struggling with meth addiction, please seek help from a professional.
The Road to Sobriety
Meth addiction is a serious problem that should not be taken lightly. The drug has a number of negative effects on the user, both physically and psychologically. The effects also bleed to other facets of life.
It is important to be aware of these effects so that you can better understand what meth does to a person. Fortunately, there are treatments available that can help people overcome their addiction and lead a sober life.
The prolonged use of meth is akin to quicksand. The longer the people are in there, the harder it is to get out. However, the road to sobriety is possible to walk down with enough will and support.
The use of this drug can also lead to fatal consequences. If you encounter anyone overdosing, it is best to be equipped with the right first aid skills and knowledge to help them.
Learn more through CPR First Aid’s Liverpool course.