Teenagers and Methamphetamine
Back to School
Hope you are having a great time with your children. I sometimes wish we could keep them in a bubble but all we can give them love and a good foundation to know the differences and hope they make wise choices. Sometimes we need to have some conversation regarding some topics we do not really want to talk about with our teenagers. Well, I can recall my mom having a conversation with me but am glad we did not have reasons to talk about all these topics. Somehow, I think we grew up with more restrictions and I am very happy for that. Be warned: Anyone can be an Addict: Teenagers and Methamphetamine.
Although, summer vacation recently began, parents we are always on top of things and preparing for back to school. As a mom of a teenager, I am learning to be prepared and be aware of the trending things in the life of a teenager. There are several table talk that mom and daughter has to have before back to school. I set up the room to feel relaxed with soft music to have a serious discussion. How do you approach a serious topicn with your love ones?
I recently learned about Methamphetamine. I am not sure how to write about this as I was never aware of it before. Yes, I am naive but am growing up with my children and learning about their environment. I do know who my children’s friend are but it is good to know as much or more than they do. Really, I am quite astonished at the topics these kids are having and have to be updated as they are. I believe we had so much fun at this age learning how to use a broom, a shovel, climbing a tree. Really, my life as a teenager was the most amazing time during the summer. We had so much fun outside. I try to encourage many activities and share the love and joy with family and friends. It does take a “village” to raise a child but he love of parents and family is #1.
What is Methamphetamine?
First and foremost, let me explain what is Methamphetamine. It is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. It is also known as crystal meth or meth and is a highly addictive drug. Parents, please note: METH is an artificial substance made from very toxic materials which can cause serious harm or death when handled or inhaled. Methamphetamine is typically ingested, snorted, smoked or injected. Although there are different formulas used to create meth, there are some main ingredients that are consistent. Most ingredients are extremely flammable and can be lethal. It takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder. It can begin with a simple nail polish.
Meth numerous names
Furthermore, I feel a bit ridiculous as I was unaware of Methamphetamine but now I see that it has been around for many ages and is know by many names. I continue to learn about teenagers’ and the many slang names:
- Black Beauties
Lethal ingredients of Meth
Teenagers have been known to used meth. As per National Institute of Drug Abuse, 12th graders are the only grade that is tested for Meth. In 2005, 4.5 of 12th graders have been reported using methamphetamine. How it affects the individual varies as a teenager can get hooked the very first time he/she snort, smoke or inject meth while another teenager may be able to be a bit more tolerant. Be aware that there are risks involved that can be fatal and can cause heart attack, stroke or serious brain damage.
Please note that this drug can be fatal based on the lethal ingredients it is made with objects we use regular in the home such as:
- Lantern fuel or lighter fluid
- Ether found in starting fluid
- Iodine crystals
Here are some more ingredients known by its medical term and what it represents:
- Acetone- This is found in nail polish remover and paint thinners
- Lithium- From batteries
- Toluene- solvent used as fuel additive, in paint thinners, nail polish, brake cleaner
- Hydrochloric acid- Highly corrosive mineral acid used to remove rust from steel and refine metal
- Pseudoephedrine- found in cold medications
- Red Phosphorus- found in explosives such as road flares and on matchboxes
- Sodium hydroxide- also known as lye, in drain cleaners
- Sulfuric acid- found in toilet bowl and drain cleaners
- Anhydrous ammonia- found in fertilizer and counter top cleaner
Cold and antihistamine medications (that include pseudoephedrine and ephedrine) are necessary as a main ingredient in meth production.
Know the risk that is involved, Meth causes:
- Severe “crash” after the effects wear off (known as coming down)
- Irreversible damages to blood vessels in the brain
- Sharing needles can cause you to acquire HIV/AIDs
Know the signs of a User
Parents, know the signs of telling if a friend or teen is using meth. It may not be easy but there are signs you can look for that will help you. Some symptoms of using methamphetamine are:
- Weight loss
- Presence of:
- inhaling paraphernelia
- razor blades, mirrors
- straws, spoons
photo credits: Discovery Place
Short Term Effects:
- Increased attention and decreased fatigue
- Increased activity and wakefulness
- Decreased appetite
- Inability to sleep
- Increased sensitivity to noise
- nervous physical activity like scratching
- Irritability, dizziness or confusion
- Tremors or even convulsions
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure and risk of stroke
Obvious signs of a Long term Meth users
One of the most obvious signs of meth addiction is the appearance of open sores on the face and body of addicts. Meth users are under the delusion of seeing imaginary bugs crawling under the surface of their skin. These meth addicts have picked away large portions of their skin because this delusion is so powerful. This produce an unsightly appearance, but the open sores also leave the addict susceptible to skin and viral infections.
In addition to the physical signs of meth addiction caused by picking at the skin, the gums and teeth of addicts can also suffer severe trauma during addiction. Meth use has led to a horrific appearing effect known as meth mouth in which the gums decay and rot away. This can lead to tooth loss, and ultimately extensive dental work and/or whole or partial mouth dentures.
How Meth affects the User’s family
One of the most common dangerous effects of meth addiction is the crime associated with it. Did you now that Meth addiction is known in the unemployed demographic of the country? That means that most addicts have no legitimate income, but they’ll do anything to get meth to feed their addiction. The crimes are numerous but the most common known in meth-infested environment are:
- Secretive meth labs operating out of homes, garages, car trunks, storage lockers, etc. to obtain their addiction
- Addicts steal family property theft and robberies to get valuables to sell for money to buy more meth (They do not recognize family members only as their ultimate purchasing resource. )
- Prostitution or sexual favors for dealers to get meth directly (HIV increases)
These types of crimes are dangerous and often result in personal injury and/or the spread of infectious disease. The dangers associated with meth addiction are far-reaching, as entire communities and cities have been devastated by this epidemic.
Lastly, and perhaps most poignant, is the fact that meth addiction in the gay community is the leading contributor to the spread of HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, meth addiction is a major problem in the gay community since it heightens sexual arousal, and is often at the center of many sexual encounters within this community. Since meth also impairs judgment, the practice of safe sex is sadly no more than an afterthought. (Mermorial Hermann)
Meth addiction is regarded as one of the most difficult to overcome and has one of the highest relapse rates of all drugs of addiction, however, thousands of addicts have found and maintained recovery. The recovery from meth addiction is never easy to accomplish, it takes lots of family support and determination as addiction often begins with using drugs as an easy way to escape from personal problems. There is always a possibility that even though the difficulty of overcoming meth addiction, effective drug treatment can lead to life-long recovery but only the personal determination of addict and an individualized and targeted treatment program. Remember you can save a life. You can make a difference. Help someone who needs your help. Call 1-800-662-HELP or visit SAMHSA to find treatment help in your area.
I wanted to give as much information in this article and educated myself in this regard as I wrote it for you all. It is a bit long but I wanted you all to know how it can affect us and to know that we can help others as well. There are many rehab centers and resources. You are not alone. Feel free to make a comment, give and idea or suggestions. You are most welcome.
References of this post goes to the following:
Pictures credits are given to the websites above.
Research was done by ©Maricela, All Rights Reserved. Written for: Emy Cooks Momentos