Methamphetamine, the Most Hazardous of Drugs
Methamphetamine has become one of our most dangerous and addictive of drugs. The history of methamphetamine regarding its development and applications is fascinating. In 1887 Edelano synthesized amphetamine (phenylisopropylamine, Benzedrine), an ephedrine-like precursor to methamphetamine. Then in 1919 the methylated form of amphetamine, or methamphetamine, was formulated and used as a central nervous system stimulant. In its educational publication on the history of methamphetamine, the Foundation for a Drug-Free World noted:
“Methamphetamine went into wide use during World War II, when both sides used it to keep troops awake. High doses were given to Japanese Kamikaze pilots before their suicide missions. And after the war, methamphetamine abuse by injection reached epidemic proportions when supplies stored for military use became available to the Japanese public.”
After the war, methamphetamine (Methedrine), now readily available in tablet and injectable forms, became popular for dieting as well as combatting lethargy (truck drivers and college students, athletes). Narconon International informs us that
“This pattern changed drastically in the 1960s with the increased availability of injectable methamphetamine. The 1970 Controlled Substances Act severely restricted the legal production of injectable methamphetamine, causing its use to decrease greatly.”
Whereas methamphetamine (see this and the next excellent, educational You-Tube videos) was highly addictive and having a devastating effect on schools, communities, and families, the study of this drug, or even the diagnosis and treatment of addiction in medical schools, was not a part of the curriculum in the 1970′s. Indeed, physicians often had prescribed the drug for dieting and as a stimulant, thereby contributing to the spread of meth addiction. Today, Adderall, a form of amphetamine prescribed (over-prescribed?) for attention deficit disorders and narcolepsy, is addictive and can lead to methamphetamine usage.
According to Disabled World, methamphetamine is also known on the street as
“Crank, Crypto, Crystal, Meth, Quill, Speed, tweak, White Cross, Yellow bam, and for smokable forms of it, Cristy, Hanyak, Ice, L.A. glass and Quartz. It can be swallowed in a pill or tablet form, snorted (through the nose) in its powdered form or injected intravenously in its liquid form.”
The signs & symptoms of methamphetamine addiction
The above informative picture shows an advanced stage of weight-loss in a meth addict. As stated on the teaching website of Timberline Knolls, symptoms of meth abuse include “increased attention and decreased fatigue, increased activity and wakefulness, increased talkativeness, decreased appetite, euphoria and experiencing a rush, increased respiration, rapid/irregular heartbeat, and hyperthermia.” HealthyPlace adds anxiety, irritability, aggression, paranoia, increased libido, increased concentration, grandiosity, sociability, hallucinations, and psychosis.
Timberline Knolls, a residential treatment center, also informs us of the following physical signs in meth addiction:
“Skin picking: methamphetamine addicts are known to obsessively pick at their skin. The marks left by this picking may look similar to an extreme case of acne, often leaving open sores on the face.
Skin crawling: meth addicts also often complain about having crawling skin, a disorder known as formication.
Tooth decay: Another common sign is tooth loss or tooth decay, referred to as meth mouth.
Hair loss: due to the lack of nutrients in an addict’s body as well as the dangerous chemicals they ingest, hair breakage frequently occurs as well.
Instructive photo of tooth decay from Dr. Chris Heringlake, DDS, St. Cloud Correctional Facility.
To this list of signs of meth addiction HealthyPlace adds:
“restlessness, hyperactivity, twitching, tremors, numbness, repetitive and obsessive behaviors, anorexia, dilated pupils, flushing, dry mouth, headache, heart arrhythmias, and blood pressure changes.”
In the above You-Tube video tells us how truly those “famous last words” apply here. The signs and symptoms of methamphetamine addiction are often misdiagnosed by the addict’s family–and even by the doctor. Indeed, addicts often begin as teenagers and by the time the condition is pronounced years later, friends and family attribute the antagonistic behaviors to nerves, neurosis, bipolar disease, anxiety, angry personality, eating disorder, etc. For years the addict might have kept the drug use a well-kept secret as the instructive video shows. But one must see the horrors of methamphetamine use (warning: these educational photos and video are disturbing) to feel the full impact of the drug on bodily changes. Also view Methamphetamine Treatment website pictures. However, having a meth addict look at these photographs (before and after) will not have any effect on their determination to give up the drug and seek help.
But is the babies of mothers on meth who are especially damaged. This You-Tube video teaches us that physical and mental defects occur in the embryo. In addition, future emotional abandonment by the mother leaves the child forlorn, often removed from the parent.
Methamphetamine and “The Neurosurgeon” by Travis Robertson
From the story
“…‘Doctor Stone, tell the officers and all these good citizens how you murdered a patient on the operating table!’
The crowd inhaled as one.
Somewhat unsteadily the nurse leaned forward on the steps, mumbling. Her arms flapped at her sides, while she foamed with head extended. Shivering inside, I wondered if Steffi were entering an epileptic state. Then her lids opened, eyes flashing bright like coals in a dying fire, thighs spread, feet glued to the concrete. Her left hand began to strike forward, but then she slapped her own ear, as if trying to kill a buzzing insect burrowing within.
A wry half-smile crept across her face, her countenance rearranging itself. She blinked and then delivered a series of staggering punches…”
“…No one moved or spoke for minutes. Soon, the whispers evolved into mutters as angry eyes turned toward me. The constable cleared his throat and led me past the murmuring throng and into the cruiser. I would have to wait for the trial. I wondered where Mikey was. Hell, I even questioned where the fuck I was.
Our love had flowered into a terrible madness, and I now felt as if my mind had been brutally raped, its most intimate trust and affections excoriated…”
Had meth been flowing through her veins? Later, Dr. Ira Stone recalled:
“…The next morning it was Derrick’s turn to continue his story about the unmanageability of his life. I did not learn about the effects of methamphetamine until Alamo told us that he saw real-life images of armed men coming after him with sabers drawn, certain death imminent. He emptied his .357 carbine at the imagined attackers, nearly killing innocent bystanders. This Texan had wept bitterly, his head in his hands, as he tormented himself with this story of what he called tweaking—
‘Yeah, I stood there aiming at the front walkway when a black came toward me, his knife drawn.
‘“Stop right there, you ass fucker!” I hollered.
‘But he just kept coming. My headache returned, blinding me in a white-hot hatred. I felt as if sweat was leaking from every pore, my body kind of like pulsing. He was the bastard causing my hideous sores, and I had to kill him before he got me. I raised my piece, took aim, and fired. And fired again, emptying my weapon.
‘Somewhere out there I heard a voice crying. I turned and ran into my house, needing a fix to take away the sting. I peered into a mirror. There he was again, like a photographic negative! I believed I had slain the shit. My fist smashed the looking glass. Hot blood drenched my clothes as I fell into a coma. Apparently an epileptic seizure occurred. I remember waking up in solitary. I had shot a neighbor in his arm and paralyzed my sister with a bullet to her spine. She ain’t never going to walk again. Oh Lord oh Lord oh Lord…’
A long silence followed as we all regrouped our own memories before another spoke. Jesus, is that what happened to Steffi?…”
Methamphetamine in Montana
“We are losing a whole generation on our reservation in Montana!” This informative You-Tube video portrays real life stories in this most devastating of drugs: “Meth is the Devil…I’d shoot myself in the head before I ever touched that shit ever again in my life.”
(View another page in this website to see a thesaurus of 2,060 synonyms for “said,” “thought,” and “walked” in the author’s Mini-Thesaurus for psychological novels. Synonyms for these verbs were used extensively in the psychological novel, The Neurosurgeon.)
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Online sources for this psychological thriller about neurosurgery and addiction: