Is The United States Experiencing A Methamphetamine Epidemic?

For the last several years, the United States has been in the midst of an opioid epidemic; thousands of overdoses and overdose deaths every year. However, in the background, there has been an epidemic involving methamphetamines looming. 

Methamphetamine Overdose Deaths Rise Sharply Nationwide

The National Institute on Drug Abuse published a news release in January of 2021, “Methamphetamine overdose deaths rise sharply nationwide”. The news release stated:

Methamphetamine overdose deaths surged in eight years in the United States, according to a study published today(link is external) in JAMA Psychiatry. The analysis revealed rapid rises across all racial and ethnic groups, but American Indians and Alaska Natives had the highest death rates overall. The research was conducted at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health. Deaths involving methamphetamines more than quadrupled among non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaska Natives from 2011-2018 (from 4.5 to 20.9 per 100,000 people) overall, with sharp increases for both men (from 5.6 to 26.4 per 100,000 from 2011-2018) and women (from 3.6 to 15.6 per 100,000 from 2012-2018) in that group. The findings highlight the urgent need to develop culturally tailored, gender-specific prevention and treatment strategies for methamphetamine use disorder to meet the unique needs of those who are most vulnerable to the growing overdose crisis. Long-term decreased access to education, high rates of poverty and discrimination in the delivery of health services are among factors thought to contribute to health disparities for American Indians and Alaska Natives. (NIDA)

Methamphetamine use and production have emerged over the last 25 years. Some consider meth America’s most dangerous drug, but there has been a big controversy over whether it is at epidemic status. National surveys say it is a minor concern. Still, other sources say otherwise. According to the National Institute of Health, law-enforcement groups, substance abuse treatment programs admission data, welfare agencies, criminal justice data, and state and county executives say it’s a very significant public health problem. 

Is The United States Experiencing A Methamphetamine Epidemic?

What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine or “meth” is a central nervous system stimulant. It increases the activity of the CNS and increases body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. When the drug is taken, it causes increased energy, focus, and excitement. Meth also produces an intense euphoria and feeling of pleasure due to releasing a flood of dopamine from the brain when it is ingested. Some of the other side-effects include decreased appetite and a decreased need for sleep.  

Methamphetamine is also popular in crystal form known as “crystal meth,” “glass,” or “ice.” Meth can be found in either pill or powder form and is either snorted, smoked, or injected. It can also be taken orally. 

Signs and Symptoms of Methamphetamine Use

When a person is on meth, they exhibit some common signs. Here are some of the signs and symptoms that someone may be abusing meth:

  • Weight loss
  • Sores or scratches on the skin
  • Deterioration of their teeth
  • Decreased sleep
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Red or swollen eyes
  • Paranoia
  • Track marks on the arms or other parts of the body
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Violent outbursts 
  • Tweaking symptoms
  • Withdrawal from family or friends
  • Unexplained health issues

Those that abuse meth will often go on binges and not sleep for 3 or 4 days. Once they stop using the drug, they will experience a sudden “crash-like” effect and will often sleep for hours at a time. This crash is a result of their dopamine levels suddenly dropping. This causes the person to experience severe depression and fatigue. 

Methamphetamine abuse and addiction can be tough addictions to beat. However, the sooner a person gets themselves into treatment, the better off they will be.

Start Healing From Methamphetamine Addiction at Recreate Life Counseling

Recreate Life Counseling offers drug and alcohol rehab for everyone. We have an evidence-based addiction treatment and cater to the individual needs of each patient. We offer several different program treatment options, including residential treatment with our cutting-edge addiction treatment. We are committed to helping our clients recreate their lives. If you are ready to begin your journey to recovery, our specialists are available to help you anytime.