In 1919, the world was reeling after the First World War — but most people were optimistic. The U.S. ratified prohibition, promising a safer, more productive country without the harmful effects of booze. In Germany, a promising ex-artist-turned-politician gave his first rousing speeches to the German Workers’ Party, promising to reinvigorate the shattered country. And in Japan, a pharmacologist named Akira Ogata created a new way of synthesizing a revolutionary drug, ensuring methamphetamine could easily be made and administered around the world.
As with most of today’s narcotic drugs, meth was originally legal and intended for medical use. During the second World War, nearly every soldier on both sides was provided with meth tablets meant to keep them awake and ready for battle, and after the war, so many soldiers required injections of meth — to satiate their dependencies when Colorado methamphetamine rehab facilities didn’t yet exist — that there soon developed a global shortage. Later, in the 1950s, pharmaceutical companies sold methamphetamine as a diet aid; while it was effective at helping users shed pounds, many also shed jobs, families, and lives in the process.
Today, an epidemic of meth addiction continues to rage. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 1.2 million Americans use meth at least once per year — and about half a million use the drug continually. Though meth users number fewer than other types of substance abusers, like alcoholics or prescription drug users, and though meth use is steadily decreasing over the years, Colorado methamphetamine rehab facilities, and similar centers in other states, are still overflowing with sufferers of this addiction disorder. It is vital that we understand meth’s true destructive ability if we want any hope of eliminating the drug and helping those addicted to it.
What Is Meth?
Many people aren’t aware that there are several varieties of methamphetamine. In truth, the drug dates back long before 1919. In 1887, a German chemist first created amphetamine, a potent stimulant which doctors then used to treat anything from nasal congestion to depression. A few years later in 1893, methamphetamine was first created: a room-temperature free base that was difficult to administer.
The important difference between this early methamphetamine and its predecessor amphetamine was its intensity: Methamphetamine is faster-acting, more potent, more addictive, and ultimately more dangerous. Using either amphetamines or methamphetamine will result in physical and mental stimulation — but the strength of meth’s high makes it essentially unusable in medicine and compulsory for addicts.
The type of meth that most often sends addicts to Colorado methamphetamine rehab centers, sometimes called crystal meth for its resemblance to small shards of glass, is actually methamphetamine hydrochloride — which was the latest variety to be synthesized, in 1919. Because it could be made into shelf-stable salts and tablets, methamphetamine hydrochloride was much easier to create, store, and administer than previous forms of the drug. What’s more, methamphetamine hydrochloride is water-soluble, giving doctors (and drug users) more options for administration, including swallowing, snorting, smoking, injection, and suppository. Those recovering in Colorado methamphetamine rehabs have tried all of these and more without even knowing truly what meth is.
Basically, meth is C10H15N — a simple chemical compound that creates wild effects in the human body. Originally, meth was synthesized from a plant called Ma-Huang, or Ephedra, which was native to the Far East. Today, Ephedra is present in many over-the-counter medications, notably cough syrup, which is why nearly everyone — including fictional chemistry teacher Walter White — is able to brew it at home. Though the U.S. has begun regulating the sale of substances that might be used to cook meth, other countries are finding it as easy as ever to make and sell the substance.
Just because most people have access to the materials and tools necessary for synthesizing meth doesn’t mean everyone can and should make it safely. For every pound of crystal meth produced, labs generate about six pounds of exceedingly toxic material. Not only do meth cooks poison themselves by brewing the drug in close, poorly ventilated labs, but they contaminate the environment by releasing the waste wantonly. Some sloppy batches of meth even fail to filter out all of the toxins, endangering the lives of every potential meth user.
What Does Meth Do?
Of course, meth users are already at risk for serious illness thanks to meth’s disastrous effects on the body. Meth is a stimulant that jolts the nervous system into high gear. The heart beats faster, giving users feelings of high energy and alertness, and the body warms up, preventing users from feeling hungry or cold. Perhaps most importantly, meth floods the brain with dopamine, producing a euphoric high that users chase to addiction. Even with just one use, users endanger their health; heart attacks, seizures, hyper- and hypothermia, starvation, and violent behaviors can all occur, meaning death is a serious possibility. Users should consider being admitted into a safe Colorado methamphetamine rehab before it’s too late.
Unfortunately, methamphetamine inspires physical and psychological dependence alarmingly quickly, and with long-term use, side effects only worsen. The brain is hard-hit by meth; addicts often exhibit:
- Impaired dopamine release
- Impaired learning
- Visual and auditory hallucinations
Research has also found that meth users boast a higher number of microglia, which works in the brain to clear out damaged and diseased neurons. The extra microglia attacks healthy brain cells, doing potentially permanent damage to the mind. These mental symptoms can last for months or years after a user has quit abusing the drug. That’s why it’s imperative that potential addicts seek help as soon as possible at a Colorado methamphetamine rehab center.
Furthermore, long-term addicts tend to suffer extreme weight loss, which can negatively affect skeletal strength and hormone release in the same way anorexia nervosa does. Often, kidney health is at risk in underweight individuals, and once kidneys begin to fail, the rest of the body does, too. Plus, nearly everyone recognizes the term “meth mouth.” Users experience long periods of dryness inside their mouths plus a decreased interest in oral hygiene, resulting in extensive tooth decay.
Get the Help You Need Today
Meth is one of those substances that is worthy of the phrase “not even once.” Anyone who has succumbed to the allure of methamphetamine, for any reason, should seriously consider seeking treatment in a Colorado methamphetamine rehab immediately. Here at Sober Times, we have an experienced and professional staff available 24-hours a day to help assess you or your loved one’s needs and locate a treatment program for them. Usually, we are even able to help guide you through the admissions process to make sure that getting help is as easy and stress-free as possible.