Alessandra Addari / Health

Crystal Meth: The Desperate Drug

crystal meth

The powerful synthetic stimulant drug that has long-lasting euphoric effect on the user shakes America and worries Europe.

Meth, also known as ice,crystal, glass,tik, tina, is a colourless, odourless and tasteless form of d-methamphetamine. It is a psychoactive, highly addictivedrug that takes the shape of coarse kitchen salt or fragments of glass.

“It was the hardest boyfriend I ever had to break up with”said The Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie about crystal meth, the drug that now is a real social scourge in the American province.

Meth can be injected, snorted, swallowed or most commonly smoked in glass pipes. It is composed of ephedrine (medicines for colds), muriatic acid, red phosphorus (match heads) and lubricant for cars that are all legal and readily available substances. Just to assemble them is illegal.

In United States it is often prepared in clandestine laboratories hidden in garages, sheds, basements that often easily explode because just a small error in the combination of chemical reagents can be very dangerous: last year, for instance, there were 355 explosions in so-called kitchen labs in Michigan alone and 12.000 in the USA.

The sense of euphoria that meth gives lasts up to 12 hours, a much longer effect than another types of drugs like cocaine and it is often used by females specifically because it can bring about rapid weight loss by decreasing appetite; for these reason and also because of its low price and its easy availability, in the United States there are more than 500.000 meth addicts. Almost 13 million people have tried it at least once in their life and all over the Europe its traffic is rising. According to a Michigan University Study almost 5% of high school seniors in the USA had tried crystal meth at least once, while 3% had done so during the previous 12 months.

Meth increases the production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, carrying an high risk of becoming addicted, even after only a few uses. It causes emotional and cognitive difficulties that often persist long after the abuser has stopped, including respiratory problems, tremors and convulsions, anorexia, strokes, movement disorders similar to Parkinson’s Disease, degradation of the teeth and gums (“Meth mouth”), as well as mood swings and problems achieving sexual climax. Some regular users have been known to inflict lacerations on his face driving away insects that they feel crawling beneath their skin.

The “redneck cocaine”, so called because is widespread especially in rural areas and small towns, causes devastating damage that lead the consumer usually survive for 5 to 7 years and in Europe its spread is continuously increasing, having tripled over the last years.

Alessandra Addari

Interact

Interact UK – http://interact-uk.org.uk

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