The Changing Face of Methamphetamine Abuse

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Legislative and law enforcement efforts have cut the production of local meth labs but overall use has yet to decline due to availability of different varieties of the drug.

As methamphetamine abuse continues its scourge of the country, state and federal elected officials have worked over the last year to pass laws restricting sales of over the counter products containing pseudoephedrine.

An Associated Press (AP) story reported that the federal anti-meth law was recently amended so that states could still impose their own laws as long as they meet the minimum requirements of the federal version. This allows states such as Oklahoma, whose law went into effect more than a year ago, to keep their tighter restrictions on the amount of pills sold.

State legislators in Oregon have gone a step further and have required the cold medicines containing the meth-making ingredient to be available only by prescription.

With the passage of these new laws, several state narcotics bureaus have reported the number of meth lab busts to be down by as much as 90 percent over the previous year, however the absence of home-cooked meth has not produced a decline in overall use of the drug. In fact, a different form of the drug, known commonly as ice, has become more prevalent in its place.

Ice is a very pure, smokable form of methamphetamine that is more addictive than other forms of the substance. Ice is similar in appearance to rock candy, crushed ice, or broken glass. It contains the same active chemical compound as powder methamphetamine, but undergoes a recrystallization process in which some impurities in the methamphetamine are removed. The finished product is allowed to dry into crystal chunks that are broken into rocks for sale.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s website says that historically, criminal groups from South Korea, Taiwan, or China supplied ice to Hawaii and parts of California, but the availability of Mexican-produced ice has increased abuse in areas of the country that were previously untouched.

Because it metabolizes much slower than cocaine, methamphetamine has longer lasting effects. Agitation, tremors, hypertension, memory loss, hallucinations, psychotic episodes, paranoid delusions, and violent behavior can result from chronic abuse. The nation’s prisons and addiction treatment centers have also seen a dramatic increase in what is known as meth mouth, which is the extreme deterioration of dental health because of the damage caused by the chemicals used to make the drug and lack of proper nutrition. Withdrawal from high doses of methamphetamine often produces severe depression.

Treatment professionals have worked to find effective solutions for methamphetamine addiction and one program that has continually produced successful results is Narconon Arrowhead. As one of the largest and most effective drug rehabilitation and education programs in the country, Narconon Arrowhead uses the drug-free methodology developed by American author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard and approximately 70% of Narconon Arrowhead program graduates go on to lead productive, happy and healthy lives free from drugs.

For more information on drugs and addiction or to get help for a loved one in need contact Narconon Arrowhead today by calling 1-800-468-6933 or visit

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Luke Catton
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