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The Meth Epidemic

The Meth Epidemic

            Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, crank, or speed, is a highly addictive stimulant that gives euphoric effects to users. Meth production began in 1919 in Japan; it soared in the 1990s when Mexican gangs introduced laboratories in California. Meth production is easy, hence readily available. The drug comes either in powder or crystal form and in various colors. The abusers can either inject, smoke, or ingest meth orally. Due to its effects, affordability, and availability, the increase in drug abuse has led to an increase in addiction and mortality cases, hence the meth epidemic.

Meth is one of the illicit drugs that people abuse in the United States. While some people use the drug for treatment, others use it for recreational purposes. In a report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Jones et al. state that approximately 1.6 million U.S. adults above 18 years used methamphetamine, where 52.9% of them had a methamphetamine use disorder, and 22.3% used injection method (1: para. 1). In the rural areas of America, factors like lack of education, poverty, and unemployment associate to meth abuse and misuse. Thus, Robinson disagrees that “rural areas are immune to drug abuse and overdose” (para. 7). Generally, most abusers use crank as it is more inexpensive and accessible, while others use meth to prevent opioid overdose, which contributes to the abuse of meth, further leading to the epidemic.

 

Methamphetamine overdose causes a toxic reaction to the drug

Methamphetamine overdose causes a toxic reaction to the drug, which can result in a heart attack or stroke. However, meth addiction is curable through behavioral and pharmacological interventions. The National Institute on Drug Abuse claims that behavioral intervention for meth addicts involves cognitive-behavioral therapy, matrix model, and motivational enhancement therapy (48). Contingency management has also been an effective method of treatment; it involves offering rewards every time a patient complies with the treatment and punishing them if they fail to obey. Smith argues that contingency management reinforces any type of behavior, but mainly treats people with stimulant use disorders; for example, methamphetamine (par. 10). Ultimately, due to the various methods of treatment, the meth epidemic has slowed; however, the abusers must remain in the treatment program, to successfully heal from addiction.

The number of meth abusers in rural communities of the United States

The meth epidemic is a result of an increase in the number of drug overuse, which occurs because the drug is cheap and readily available. The number of meth abusers in rural communities of the United States is more than in urban areas, whereby drug abuse links with poverty, unemployment, and lack of education. Methamphetamine overdose can cause cardiovascular diseases; these diseases can lead to mortality if the patient does not receive treatment. Treatment for meth abuse consists of behavioral and pharmacological interventions, where the patient undergoes therapy while taking withdrawal drugs. Creating awareness programs about methamphetamine and other stimulants’ effects and treatment may help in preventing future epidemics.

 

 

 

Works Cited

A New Medi-Cal Program Uses Psychology Principles to Incentivize Stimulant Users to Stay Sober.” CHCH Blog, 25 October 2022 https://www.chcf.org/blog/finally-effective-treatment-methamphetamine-addiction/. Accessed 1 March 2023.

Jones, Christopher, Wilson Compton, and Desiree Mustaquim. “Patterns and Characteristics of Methamphetamine Use Among Adults — United States, 2015–2018.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 69, No. 12, 2020, pp 1-7. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6912a1-H.pdf. Accessed 1 March 2023.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). 2018, pp 48-57. https://nida.nih.gov/sites/default/files/675-principles-of-drug-addiction-treatment-a-research-based-guide-third-edition.pdf. Accessed 1 March 2023.

Robinson, Eric. Meth Use Drives Overdose Epidemic in Rural U.S. Communities. OHSU News, 15 August 2022, https://news.ohsu.edu/2022/08/15/meth-use-drives-overdose-epidemic-in-rural-u-s-communities. Accessed on 1 March 2023.

Smith, Dana. “Finally, an Effective Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction:

 

 

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