Meth use widespread at South Shore |

Meth use widespread at South Shore

Rhea Dira

Methamphetamine is a mixture of powerful synthetic chemical stimulants that are manufactured or “cooked” in easy-to-set-up laboratories.

The finished drug may contain carcinogens and flammable chemicals like ether, lead, sulfuric acid and sodium cyanide.

Some street names for the toxic drug are BATU, New School, Crank, Ice, Speed, Chalk, Go-Fast, Shabu-Shabu, Go Zip, Hot Ice, Super Ice, Crystal and Crystal Meth. It can have different appearances from powder or crystal.

The crystal version can look like rock salt, rock candy, chips or slivers of ice or finely shaven pieces of glass. Meth is generally sold in paper bundles, plastic baggies or heat-sealed cellophane.

Methamphetamine is taken orally, intranasally (snorting the powder), by intravenous injection or by smoking. Immediately after smoking or intravenous injection, the user experiences an intense sensation called a “rush” or “flash” that lasts only a few minutes and is described as extremely pleasurable. Users become addicted quickly, and they use it with increasing frequency and in increasing doses. Methamphetamine releases high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine that stimulates brain cells.

It also appears to have a neurotoxic effect by damaging brain cells that contain dopamine as well as serotonin, another neurotransmitter.

Over time the reduced levels of dopamine can result in symptoms like those of Parkinson’s disease that causes a severe movement disorder.

Excessive doses can produce mental confusion, over-excitement, severe anxiety, and aggressiveness that leads to extreme violence.

Other evidences of high doses are tremor, chest pain, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, elevated body temperature, convulsions, cardiovascular collapse and death. Repeated large doses typically produce nervousness and insomnia and can lead to a state of paranoia called amphetamine psychosis, which closely resembles paranoid schizophrenia.

Psychotic symptoms include hallucinations, paranoid delusions, delusions of parasites and bugs in the skin resulting in picking at damaged skin.

If a look at the clientele at Sierra Recovery Center is any indication, meth use is widespread at South Shore. Deb Redmon, the center’s clinical director, said about 80 percent of addicts need help with their meth dependence. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol and/ or drugs, we may have treatment options for you.

Call (530) 541-5190. There is a solution.

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