While opioid misuse and heightened opioid overdose deaths have received much media attention in 2017 and 2018, overdose deaths from meth addiction have begun to rise sharply in Colorado in the latest studies. The drug appears to be making an unfortunate comeback that has cost an increasing number of Coloradoans their lives.
Heroin is still the top cause of drug overdose deaths in Colorado and makes up the majority of the 560 opioid overdose deaths reported in 2017. However, methamphetamine overdoses in Colorado, which were nearly nonexistent a decade ago, reached 299 in 2017. This jump has been attributed to meth being imported from Mexico after laws limiting the quantities of cold medicine that can be bought in the United States were instituted in 2002.
The law change greatly reduced the number of meth labs in Colorado, but Mexico has quickly stepped in to fill the gap. As a result, meth now being used in Colorado is generally purer and cheaper, and this increases the risk of overdose. The increase in meth overdose deaths, while is still eclipsed by heroin overdoses, pushed Colorado’s 2017 overdose total to over 1,000 for the first time.
Meth is a powerful drug that gives the user a short-term euphoria that fades away within 16 to 24 hours. It is extremely addictive and relatively cheap compared to other drugs. Some people misuse meth as a way to lose weight. Certain diet drugs have a similar composition to meth. People who use meth may lose interest in food, lose a significant amount of weight and even have psychotic or violently angry behavior.
While actively using meth, a person’s appearance may change drastically. Sunken cheeks, a sallow complexion and sores on the face are some common characteristics of meth misuse. Other effects may also occur because of the chemicals and toxins that go along with manufacturing meth.
Meth overdoses usually happen in one of two ways. When too much of the drug is taken, it can cause a spike in blood pressure that causes a hemorrhage. It can also cause a heatstroke that leads to multiple organ failure. Because the strength of street drugs varies and is often unknown, the risk of an overdose increases when meth is involved.
Unlike prescription opioid misuse, meth overdose can happen in days or weeks, or even after just one use of the drug. Some opioids like fentanyl carry these risks, but the rapid rise of meth overdoses in recent years shows that opioids are not the only dangerous drugs available today.
Colorado addiction treatment resources are available to help those who use meth to receive treatment and help before an overdose occurs.
If you need help to recover from an addiction to meth or any other substance use disorder, contact The Recovery Village Palmer Lake today.