Babies are born as addicts every day because their mother was doing drugs while pregnant. The infants suffer in agony while doctors desperately try to get them through the pain and confusion of withdrawal. But last month was the first time a mother was charged with a crime for subjecting her child to that agony. Is that deserved?
I read an unbelievable news story today about the burn victims of methamphetamine. According to the news story, the associated press conducted a survey of key hospitals in the nation’s most active meth states. The survey showed that up to a third of the patients in some burn units were hurt while making meth. This added up to thousands of people. Thousands of people whose burns – serious enough to send them to hospital burn units – could have been prevented if they’d gone to drug rehab.
The story was actually about the fact that most of these people are insured, which is creating a huge burden on healthcare costs for the rest of us, and is actually causing some burn units to close.
What about people who are burned when being caught in house fires, or even fighting them. Can you imagine living in an area which no longer had a burn unit to help people who were burned while doing something legal?
The burns from methamphetamine are usually caused by explosions while making it. The method is called “shake-and-bake.” The raw ingredients are put into a 2 liter soda bottle and shaken. But the mixture is very unstable and if not done absolutely correctly can explode.
The explosions can cause permanent disfigurement, blindness, and death.
The damage is also reflected in the cost for each burn patient – an average of $130,000 each, 60 percent higher than other burn patients. Burn experts estimate the cost to the taxpayer at 10s to 100s of millions of dollars. They can’t get a closer estimate because someone burned by meth often lies about what happened.
Another problem with this method of making meth is that, unlike big labs, someone making it is hard to find. Big labs required quite a bit of equipment and the chemicals could be smelled all over the neighborhood.
But they are making their presence known in hospitals. From 1999 to 2009, there were 83 meth related injuries in Indiana. Thanks to shake-and-bake ‘labs’, there have been 70 injuries in the last two years. A big change.
One of the doctors in a burn center in Iowa said that many of the meth lab burn patients won’t be able to return to a normal life. They’ll need rehab and occupational therapy to cope with their disfigured body.
There are a lot of people who have a pretty casual attitude towards drugs – especially when it comes to something apparently not too dangerous, like smoking marijuana. But drugs lead to more drugs, and when they lead to something like meth, you’re really taking your life in your hands in a number of ways.
If someone you care about is into drugs of any kind, the only way to really keep them safe is to get them through a good drug rehab program so they will get off drugs, and not want to take them again.
For decades, drug trafficking, smuggling and dealing has been a common practice all over the world. And, while there has been the ‘war on drugs’ in most countries, the illicit drug industry flourishes and prospers for those individuals who don’t get caught. They’re raking in the big bucks!
With big bucks being the main appeal to taking up this profession, there are some major drawbacks involved. What happens if you do get caught? In countries like America, you usually pay a hefty fine and do a little or a lot of prison time. Since we’re not down with capital punishment for this type of offense, like chopping off ones hands or head, the risk to benefit ratio could seem smaller compared to other countries with more sever punishments.
There was an article this week in the news about a French citizen who got caught manufacturing large quantities of crystal methamphetamine in China. Do you know what his punishment is for getting caught? He’s going to be put to death.
This made me think about the various news headlines I come across on a regular basis. It made me realize that it’s a rarity to read news headlines about drug-related incidents in Asia. Perhaps it’s because they will kill you if you threaten their society with illegal drugs? I’m sure that could factor into the equation somehow.
The cycle of drug trafficking to get the drugs to the dealers and finally into the hands of the end users is a constant problem. While I’m not a proponent of capital punishment, it does seem like we could be a little bit soft on the contributors. If we’re actually going to succeed in the ‘war on drugs’ we’re going to have to attack it from all angles. We need to think about the penalties given for drug trafficking and dealing offenses, possibly make them a bit harsher, as well as effective drug rehab programs for the users.
Methamphetamine addiction is one of the worst drug problems around. Meth can change a healthy, nice-looking person into a wreck in a couple of months. Longer than that, and they can literally become unrecognizable. Check online for before and after methamphetamine shots. It’s clear that some of those people will never look the same again.
A lot of communities have started campaigns to get rid of meth. They educate the general public, teachers, parents and officials on the signs of meth use and what can be done about it.
There are various tools to help you do the same in your community. The movie Crystal Darkness is a good one. It consists of about 75 interviews with meth addicts and others and has graphic images showing what can happen to someone on meth. They’re pretty startling, but they’re real. And people need to know that anyone who messes around with meth is going to look like that- and live like that.
If you want help get rid of meth in your community, get a copy of the Crystal Darkness DVD and take it upon yourself to get it shown at schools, etc. Also get in touch with your local government to see what other community showings can be arranged. Once government officials see it, they’ll want to help.
Anyone who knows someone who’s using meth should get them into an addiction treatment center as fast as possible. Meth takes it toll quickly and the worse it gets, the lower the chances of that person ever looking the same again.
In mid April I wrote a blog about flavored meth and drug rehab. It was not well received by one reader and another called it an “urban legend.” The blog’s subject included warnings from law enforcement officials in Virginia that flavored meth was coming to the area and parents should be alert. One of my points was that flavored meth could be sold with colors and flavors that attract kids. Meth is inexpensive to produce, carries a large markup and, if prices are cut, selling $2 hits would not be out of the question. Nor would it be out of the question that kids taking meth could become addicted and need drug rehab.
Today in Pasadena, California, a similar warning was issued by Day One, a non-profit advocacy group. “A community group held a town hall style meeting Thursday night to warn parents about the new meth and the increasing use of the drug among teens, particularly teen girls,” reported the Pasadena Star News. The new drug is strawberry quick and DEA spokesman Sarah Pullen said it has just started appearing in Los Angeles.
Christy Zamani, executive director of Day One, warned parents about the low cost, $2 a hit, and the bright colors. Both will attract younger children. Teenage girls sometimes take meth for weight loss, for example, not knowing how devastating it can be.
Ms. Zamani also said they were seeing a surge in use among young Latino and Asian girls. Two young women, one 18 years old and the other 20, told their stories about meth. Meth is highly addictive and is difficult to stop taking. Drug rehab for meth can take a long time.
Parents should be on the look out for flavored meth – it may help their kids stay out of a drug rehab program.
Idaho has launched an anti-methamphetamine project that will reach 70% to 90% of Idaho teens three to five times a week.
Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska, comprising just over a quarter million people – around 40 percent of the total population in the state. Of that, half reside in the metropolitan area. And they have serious drug and alcohol problems. Alcohol is to blame for about 47% of all assault cases, including sexual assault. With these types of numbers the need for effective drug and alcohol rehab programs is needed more than ever.