Although it’s not one of the most used drugs out there among teenagers, more and more teens have been experimenting with meth the past few years. In a recent nationwide survey, 1 in 33 teens said they have tried meth. The average age they first tried it was 12 years old. Even for those who haven’t tried it, the majority of teens said they think they could easily get it, and they would probably try it if they did. About 1 in 6 said they had a friend or family member who has used meth.
So, what is meth?
Methamphetamine is also known as speed, chalk, Tina, ice, glass, and many other names… it can be swallowed, smoked, snorted or injected. It’s a stimulant drug, so it boosts your mood, increases your feelings of well-being, increases your energy, and makes you more alert. It can be a white powder, or in crystal form. It’s completely man-made. It’s often made in big, illegal superlabs that make it in huge quantities… or sometimes, people just make it at home using stuff from the store, like kitty litter and batteries. Yeah, the chemicals and garbage in kitty litter and batteries go into people’s bodies. Gross. Because of all the toxic chemicals used, every 1 pound of meth made also produces 6 pounds of waste. Explosions are VERY likely to happen at meth labs.
Sometimes, doctors do prescribe meth for patients with ADHD, but in VERY LOW doses. And it’s very rare that they would prescribe it, because of how dangerous it is.
Meth causes chemical and molecular changes in the brain, causing problems with movement and thinking. Some of these changes remain long after meth use has stopped.
Here are the effects of meth use…
- Feeling very awake and active
- Fast heart rate, irregular heartbeat
- Higher blood pressure
- Higher body temperature
- Possible heart attack/stroke
- Increased risk of HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis
- Anxiety and confusion
- Problems sleeping
- Mood swings
- Violent behavior
- Psychosis (hearing, seeing, or feeling things that aren’t there)
- Skin sores caused by scratching
- Severe weight loss
- Severe dental problems, known as “meth mouth”
- Problems with thinking, emotion, and memory
Like all other drugs, meth is extremely addicting. The first time you try it, you have an amazing high… so whenever you use it, you want to reach that same high. But your body becomes tolerant to it, so you can’t. In order to reach that same high, you need more, and then the next time you need more, and then the next time you need even more, filling your body with more and more garbage each time… dangerous garbage that could kill you.
If you have use meth, even if you’ve only tried it once or twice, you need to get help and stop immediately. If you have a friend who uses it, you need to tell somebody and get them help immediately. Tell your teacher, school counselor, parents, coach, or another trusted adult. Or you can call 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-662-HELP if you aren’t sure what to do. Meth is serious stuff, and it’s extremely dangerous. Just look at these people who used meth… you don’t want to end up like them.
While I love Newberg and would not dream of living anywhere else, my brother feels differently. He has been living in Bend with his wife for 4 years now, which is why this news story out of Bend caught my eye.
The big news story in Bend right now is all about sunshine, but not the kind you are thinking of. There is a new drug circulating called sunshine, but no one can figure out exactly what it is. A large shipment of the drug came into Bend from Portland a few weeks ago. In those few short weeks it spread like wildfire. One 16-year-old girl took this drug under the assumption it was ecstasy and ended up in the hospital. The morning after she took the drug her family found her in her room, she was convulsing, hyperventilating and shivering. She was eventually rushed to the hospital by ambulance where her condition continued to deteriorate. She stayed overnight while the drug ran its course and was released the next day. The authorities sent the drug to the lab to be tested, but even they have not seen this exact drug combination before. The drug is reported to come in pill and powder form. Both equally dangerous. It is also believed that varying forms of this drug around the world have already lead to multiple deaths of young people. Please don’t add to that statistic.
This blogger has been around the block a few times; there is not much that surprises anymore. That is until coming across something shocking while reading an article on prescription drug abuse. While prescription drug abuse is nothing new, what teens are doing with them is a dangerous wake up call.
What they are doing is called “pharm” or “bowling” parties. At these parties, the teens dump whatever meds they brought into a bowl. The contents of the bowl are mixed thoroughly, and then the teens randomly take pills from the bowl and ingest them.
It doesn’t get much more risky than this. Someone who eats random pills from a bowl is just begging for a stay in the hospital and for kidney damage. There are countless things which could go horribly wrong with this situation, and death is one of them. Pharm parties are just like a game of Russian Roulette: you really don’t know if you will survive. Teenager, be wise. Do not abuse prescription drugs and especially don’t take random mixed pills. Parent, be wise. Do not leave prescription meds out and available for your kids to access. If you do, they may decide to play prescription roulette.
This week 80’s teen “heart-throb” Cory Haim died. Haim had dealt with drug abuse for years, and this drug use is suspected (although not yet confirmed) in his death. While there are many things one could learn by looking at the life of this troubled celebrity, one thing stands out to this blogger: a lifelong pattern of drug problems which originated in his teenage years.
He passed away at 38 years of age and has been battling drug problems since he was a teen. He has been in rehab, had relapses, and had depression issues. His close friend Cory Feldman called him a “tormented soul.”
Using drugs as a teenager is far more dangerous than one may think. If you even survive while abusing drugs, you are beginning a lifelong battle for control of yourself. You may think you can quit tomorrow “if you really wanted to,” but understand that by using drugs as a teen you are establishing a pattern that doesn’t just go away. Here is a saying to remember: “What you will become, you are now becoming. ” You don’t change as a person just because your circumstances change. You may think that you will straighten out when you get to college. Maybe you think you will clean up after you get your career underway, or when you get married, or when you become a parent. It doesn’t work that way.
Unfortunately, the reality is that life is like drying cement. When someone walks across wet cement they leave footprints. If the cement is immediately smoothed out it can be fixed, but if left to dry those footprints will become permanent. This is also true of life. The more that time progresses the more permanent things become. The longer you have a lifestyle of drug use, the more permanent that lifestyle will become. Don’t let your cement dry with the footprints of drugs. If you do, you will struggle for the rest of your life.