Meth Abuse & Addiction
Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder and cities and towns across Colorado are focused on combating the opioid epidemic, but there’s another drug problem plaguing the state as well, and that’s crystal meth, often just referred to as meth.
The use of meth was such a problem in Colorado that something called the Colorado Meth Project was started as a way to prevent and reduce the use of the drug. It started out in Colorado but now has become a national movement to help people understand the impacts of meth. Despite the reductions in meth use among young people thanks to programs like the Colorado Meth Project it still remains a problem.
It’s not just young people who are using the drug in Colorado either. It’s people of all ages, and meth in Colorado is inexpensive, widely available and powerful. Law enforcement officials in Colorado, as well as Arizona, have been dealing with huge spikes in meth-related arrests, and they’ve been focusing less on the small meth labs and more on the international drug cartels flooding the market.
What is Meth?
Crystal meth, often just known as meth, is one type of methamphetamine. It’s a crystalline drug that can be smoked, snorted or injected, and in rare instances, people may take it orally. When someone takes meth, they experience an intense high and a rush of well-being. Using meth can create a sense of pleasure, euphoria, happiness, self-confidence, and energy. For a lot of people, there is also a loss of appetite.
The effects of meth abuse usually last for six to eight hours, but in some cases can last up to 24 hours, and these effects are often felt within a few minutes after taking the drug.
This illegal drug is incredibly dangerous, and it wreaks havoc on the body and mind of the user.
People who use meth often experience extreme aggression and psychotic episodes, and it leads to damage to major organs including the heart and brain. It also changes the appearance of users, and they can become unrecognizable in a relatively short period of time.
This synthetic drug is a stimulant, and it’s often mixed with other chemicals and toxins, which is just one of the reasons it destroys the person using it from the inside out.
Understanding Meth Addiction
There is rarely a situation where people use meth recreationally and don’t become addicted. Of course, anything is possible, but meth is incredibly addictive, and a lot of people report being hooked on the drug the first time they use it.
The first time you use meth and get that initial powerful euphoric high, it’s difficult not to use it again. Drugs that act quickly and powerfully tend to be the most addictive, and meth falls into both those categories.
When you use methamphetamine, it releases the chemicals in your brain responsible for making you feel good, but it does so at very high levels. These include dopamine and serotonin, and like so many other drugs, meth plays a role in your reward and motivation centers of your brain. You get the euphoric and pleasurable rush, and your serotonin levels also rise. When the drug wears off your brain is sapped of dopamine and serotonin, so the person is left feeling anxious and depressed, and they may feel like the only way to combat these feelings is to take more meth. That’s why people frequently binge on meth for days at a time.
Also, anytime a drug affects your brain’s chemicals and your reward center it can create a cycle of addiction.
Is Meth Physically Addictive?
Meth is highly psychologically addictive—one of the most psychologically addictive drugs there is in fact, but is it physically addictive?
Physical addiction is different from psychological addiction because with a physical addiction your body feels like it needs to the drug to function in a normal way and without it you will experience withdrawal.
While meth is highly psychologically addictive, it’s not as physically addictive as some other drugs, but there still can be some withdrawal symptoms that occur such as mood changes and restlessness, hunger, and problems with sleep cycles.
The physical side effects of stopping meth can vary based on factors such as how long the person used the drug, the way they used it, and how much they used it from day to day.
While the physical withdrawal symptoms of meth aren’t as severe as with other drugs, the psychological withdrawal symptoms can be extremely intense. People who are coming off meth will often experience psychosis, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, paranoia and more. These symptoms can last for weeks, and people who abused meth may experience depression for longer periods than this.
How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Meth?
People often wonder how long it takes to get addicted to meth and there’s no definitive answer. For some people, one time is enough to be addicted, and for others, it takes longer. It depends on many different factors such as your personal and family history of substance abuse, how you use the meth, and your social and environmental situation.
Meth Addiction Facts
The following are meth abuse and addiction facts, relevant to people in cities throughout Colorado such as Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Denver, as well as the nation.
- People who use meth can suffer from many long-term health problems including severe weight loss and malnutrition, dental problems, sores from scratching, anxiety, confusion and violent behavior
- You can become addicted to meth after using it only one time
- Continued use of meth changes your dopamine system which can impair coordination and learning, so people who use meth often have cognitive and emotional issues
- Meth use can lead to stroke, organ failure, and heart attack
- When people use meth, they often experience a crash at the end characterized by severe anxiety, depression, fatigue and confusion
- Colorado as a whole has some of the highest general addiction statistics in the nation, and much of this is centered in Denver
- In the northeast and south-central areas of Colorado meth has become particularly problematic, and while the number of youths using the drug has gone down, the number of adults is going up
If you’re in Colorado, whether in Denver or other cities and towns throughout the state, there are resources to help with a meth addiction. There are drug addiction resources in Palmer Lake and other areas that you can turn to because meth is highly addictive and dangerous.