Methamphetamine Use Among Teens

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The use of methamphetamine drugs has become a national epidemic. Although these drugs are used by people of all ages, cultures and economic backgrounds, meth use among teenagers often has tragic consequences. The potency of these drugs creates a potential for severe physical, mental, and social problems for teenagers and young people.

The first known methamphetamine epidemic happened in the early 1980s. Since then, the use of methamphetamine drugs has swept the national at a rapid pace. Since the drugs are often brought in from Mexico, the western United States experiences a heavy distribution, but once in the country drug traffickers are quick to distribute and sale drugs to users across the country. Drug traffickers often prey on teens and young adults who are willing to experiment with methamphetamine drugs because of peer pressure, social acceptance, or problems at school or at home. Drug traffickers know that teens are easy prey, and once they are hooked on meth they may be long-term or lifetime customers.

Meth use among teens is especially dangerous because of the severe, often irreversible damage it can cause, even to teens who use on an occasional basis. Unlike other drugs, methamphetamine use can cause permanent physical and mental damage. Meth users are prone to heart attacks and strokes, as well as permanent liver, kidney and lung damage. Meth use causes convulsions, tremors, damage to blood vessels in the brain, and tooth decay and loss. It increases risky behaviors including violence, crime, and sexual promiscuity that may lead to sexually-transmitted diseases. Meth addicts often turn to crimes such as theft, burglary, prostitution, and illegal drug sales and distribution as a way to support their drug habit.

National research studies show that one in 33 teens, some as young as 12 years old, admit to trying methamphetamine drugs. Close to 80 percent of teenage meth users say that meth is their drug of choice because it is easy to get from friends and people on the street. Teen research studies show:

  • 20 percent of teenagers believe that trying meth is not risky
  • 22 percent of teenagers think that meth use will make them more popular
  • 22 percent of teenagers think that meth use helps with boredom
  • 24 percent of teenagers think that meth use will make them happier
  • 25 percent of teenagers use meth to lose weight
  • 40 percent of teenagers think meth use is acceptable and say they would not try to discourage use among friends and associates

According to national data, methamphetamine use sends more people to hospital emergency rooms each year in the United States than any other drug. Hospitals commonly treat meth users for problems with anxiety and confusion, violent mood swings, hallucinations, sleep deprivation, extreme weight loss and eating disorders, severe skin sores, and severe tooth and mouth problems. Unfortunately, these Effects of methamphetamine abuse can continue even long after meth use has stopped.

In addition to physical short-term and long-term health problems, meth use causes problems in the brain. Methamphetamine drugs cause a quick rush of dopamine in the brain, creating feelings of intense pleasure. This feeling contributes to meth addiction, because the brain craves this pleasurable feeling that disappears when meth supplies are depleted. If more meth is not supplied to the brain, severe depression often results. Regular methamphetamine use or addiction often causes permanent changes in the brain structure, resulting in cognitive problems with thought processes and body movements. Without professional methamphetamine rehab, meth users can suffer long-term or permanent physical and mental impairments, even death. Methamphetamine drugs significantly raise body temperature to such an extreme that it causes a person to pass out. Without immediate medical help, death can occur from the effects of the black out, as well as heart attack and stroke from high blood pressure.

Sadly, research shows that crystal meth use among teenagers is a big problem. It’s a popular street drug that’s easily accessible and inexpensive for teens. As a white, odorless powder that’s easily dissolved in water or alcohol, crystal meth poses serious risks for a variety health problems and addiction for teens. Crystal meth, also known as crank, crystal, glass, chalk, ice, fire and speed, can be dissolved in liquid, taken in pill form, snorted as a powder, or injected with a needle when heated. It is a powerful drug with the potential for severe health problems and death. Unfortunately, the Effects of methamphetamine abuse are causing drug addiction and permanent physical and mental impairments for millions of teenagers across the country.

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