Methamphetamine (Desoxyn) Addiction

Methamphetamine (Desoxyn) Addiction

Methamphetamine AddictionMethamphetamine was discovered in Japan in 1919, but it really caught on during World War II when combatants used it to go without sleep and stay alert. The Japanese passed out “flyer’s chocolate” to their soldiers, and then had to face an epidemic of methamphetamine addiction after the war. Hitler himself used it intravenously and developed Parkinson’s symptoms.

In the United States, methamphetamine was first sold over-the-counter as a nasal decongestant. By the mid-1960s, the drug came in pills selling at the rate of ten billion a year as “energizers” or “diet” pills. When it became obvious that people were becoming addicts, the federal government classified methamphetamine as a drug with medical uses but a high potential for abuse. You needed a doctor’s prescription to get it. Today methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule 2 Classified Substance, which means it has the highest potential for addiction and limited medical uses. Penalties for possessing or dealing in methamphetamine are among the most severe for all drug offenses.

In the 1990s, stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine were the number one drugs of abuse. Today prescription painkillers and “downers” are more popular than these “uppers” but that might be slowly changing. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency believes methamphetamine abuse may be on the increase because of the number of tons of chemicals being smuggled from China and India into Mexico where the drug is illegally manufactured. Government researchers estimated in 2009 that over one million people in the United States used methamphetamine in the past year, and 10.4 million had experimented with it at least once. Methamphetamine abuse accounts for about eight percent of all admissions to drug and alcohol treatment centers. The Rand Corporation estimates that methamphetamine abuse costs the United States $23 billion a year because of expenditures related to addiction, crime, injuries to fire fighters and police officers, and lost productivity.

What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a drug that stimulates the central nervous system, causing increases in body temperature, blood pressure, and rates of heart beats and breathing. It works by blocking the reuptake of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with pleasure. Dopamine normally goes back into cells to be “recycled” once it is released, but methamphetamine prevents this reuptake or recycling, causing the chemical to become more concentrated. If the drug is not used for medical purposes, the person will feel a “rush” or euphoria after taking methamphetamine.

The chemical name for methamphetamine is N-methyl-1-phenyl-propan-2-amine or d-N, alpha-dimethylphenethylamine.

Legal methamphetamine is sold as a small white pill made by Ovation Pharmacy. The pills, trademarked name Desoxyn, come in bottles of 100 and in a 5mg strength, and they say “OV” on one side and “12” on the other.

Illegal methamphetamine comes as a powder, which can be transformed into crystals known as “Ice Meth.” People who abuse methamphetamine smoke the powder or snort it through their noses or swallow it. They also mix it with water or alcohol and inject it into their veins. The immediate effects of the drug are the rush of euphoria, wakefulness, increased energy, hyperactivity, talkativeness and other personality changes, and dilated pupils.

Compared to cocaine, which also blocks the reuptake of dopamine, methamphetamine is a much longer-lasting stimulant. The effects of smoking methamphetamine last eight to 12 hours compared to 20 to 30 minutes for cocaine. Methamphetamine takes about 24 hours to leave the body. It affects each person differently depending on gender, weight, general health, and body composition.

Common street names or methamphetamine are crank, chalk, go fast, speed, Biker’s Coffee, trash, uppers, tina, shabu, Mexican crack, ice, L.A. glass, West Coast, Quartz, Stove Top, and Crystal.

Medical Uses Of Methamphetamine (Desoxyn)

Desoxyn is prescribed for Attention Deficit Disorder. Stimulants can have a paradoxical effect on people with the disorder, calming them down and helping them to concentrate. Desoxyn is mostly a second line of treatment, usually for adolescents and adults who cannot take Ritalin or Adderall. Desoxyn is also prescribed for narcolepsy and as a short-term weight loss aid.

People Who Should Not Use Methamphetamine Even Medically

Desoxyn is not supposed to be prescribed to children under 12 because some of its long-term effects are not known. One study of children ages seven to ten years old taking Desoxyn for three years found a temporary stunting of their growth by an average of one centimeter. Desoxyn is not prescribed to people with glaucoma, histories of drug abuse or alcoholism, heart disease, high blood pressure, mental illnesses, seizures, tic disorders, arteriosclerosis, or hyperactive thyroids. There have been very few studies of the effect of methamphetamine on babies born to women who used it during pregnancy, but some indicate the babies are born prematurely, retarded in growth, and some showed brain abnormalities.

Recent studies indicate that young people who take Desoxyn and other ADHD drugs for medical reasons do not increase their risk for drug addiction as adults. In fact, treating ADHD in children may decrease such risks.

Side Effects Of Methamphetamine

Sudden death, heart attacks and strokes have occurred among patients who take Desoxyn for the first time. Desoxyn warn can cause high blood pressure and can complicate pre-existing mental illnesses. Some people develop delusional thinking, aggression, and suicidal thoughts. the same is true for illegal methamphetamine. Other side effects can be insomnia, diarrhea, heart palpitations, nervousness, and jitteriness.

Since people who abuse illegal methamphetamine are most often taking the drugs in higher amounts, they incur the same side effects but in more severe forms.

Dangers Of Methamphetamine

Illegal methamphetamine is an extremely addictive drug. Once you’re addicted, you enter a lifestyle that is all about craving, obtaining, and using your drug. The drug is expensive and can ruin you financially. You have to deal with criminals and in illegal activities to buy your drug. Methamphetamine affects the brain and causes poor judgment, so addicts are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors and needle-sharing, which leads to infections such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C.

Long-term, nonmedical use of methamphetamine will cause dangerous health problems that damage the body worse than damage caused by heroin or prescription painkillers. Methamphetamine probably causes brain damage. Long-term methamphetamine abusers show reduced motor skills, impaired verbal learning, changes in emotional and memory function, and problems in cognition. The drug also seems to alter the brain’s reward system and the person’s ability to feel pleasure. One study found that 50% of the dopamine cells of methamphetamine abusers were damaged.For a long time, scientists believed that these changes were permanent and irreversible, but the most recent studies show that some of brain damage can be reversed if the person stops using methamphetamine for at least a year or two.

People addicted to methamphetamine, often experienced paranoia, hallucinations delusions, extreme moodiness, anxiety, severe weight loss, insomnia, poor judgment, and dental problems. The drug has a way of triggering mental illnesses that would have remained latent without it. A recent study from the University of Montréal found that teenagers who use methamphetamine are 60% to 70% more likely to be clinically depressed than their peers.

Many long-term methamphetamine addicts develop a nervous habit called “tweaking” in which they engage in repetitious behaviors, such as picking imaginary bugs off their skin. They can develop twitching and muscle spasms that resembled Parkinson’s disease.
Methamphetamine addicts typically “binge” on their drug for a day or two, injecting it every two to three hours in amounts of 1000mg or more, and then go without sleep. The methamphetamine being sold today is more powerful, and addicts can now go on two-week binges without food or sleep. When this is over, they “crash,” i.e., experience depression and exhaustion. These patterns force the body to use its own energy reserves and ultimately destroy the person’s health.

Illegal methamphetamine is typically made in “laboratories” from corrosive chemicals like lye, muriatic acid, paint thinner, iodine, and so forth. Many people have died in laboratory explosions. Manufacturing one pound of methamphetamine produces five pounds of toxic waste. People who have unknowingly bought homes that used to contain such laboratories have gotten extremely sick living in these houses, even after they had been professionally cleaned. Methamphetamine addicts become exposed to all these toxins.

Drugs That Interact With Methamphetamine

People addicted to illegal methamphetamine frequently combine this drug with cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, Ketamine, Ecstasy, and morphine. All these combinations can be fatal.

Patients who use Desoxyn are advised that it interacts with the following drugs: MAO Inhibitors, Nialamide, Pargyline, Phenelzine, Procarbazine, Rasagiline, Selegiline, Toloxatone, Tranylcypromine, Brofaromine, Clorgyline, Furazolidone, Iproniazid, Isocarboxazid, Lazabemide, Linezolid, and Moclobemide.

Methamphetamine Overdoses

Symptoms of a methamphetamine overdose are restlessness, tremors, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, panic, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, confusion, hallucinations, muscle breakdown, and fever. People who die from methamphetamine overdoses most often have high fevers, become dehydrated and overheated, and then have convulsions and enter comas. In a medical emergency facility, physicians will sometimes use charcoal and gastric evacuation to save the person’s life.

Methamphetamine Addictions

In 2005, the United States Congress passed the Combat Methamphetamine Act, which made it harder for addicts and dealers to buy over-the-counter cold medicines that they use to make the drug.
This law is partly why methamphetamine abuse has fallen, the price of the drug increased up to $20,000 a pound, and why 89% of illegal methamphetamine used in the United States comes from Mexico. Methamphetamine nevertheless remains an extremely popular drug in large Western cities like Dallas, Phoenix, Seattle, Denver, and San Diego.

It also remains popular among certain groups, such as gay urban youth, adolescent females, construction workers, truckers, college students, and certain motorcycles. Some actors, football players, dancers, and politicians use it on an occasional basis to enhance performance.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Syndrome

The withdrawal syndrome for methamphetamine is not as dramatic or severe as the ones for narcotics, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines. Symptoms begin 12 to 24 hours after the last dosage and peak between 24 and 72 hours. Some people only feel sadness, depression, and cravings for the drug. Those have been using in higher dosages and for longer times may experience fatigue, loss of interest in daily activities, loss of appetite, insomnia, nightmares, paranoia, delusions, and suicidal thoughts.

Sometimes Wellbutrin (bupropion) is prescribed to reduce drug cravings.

Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment

Psychological withdrawal from methamphetamine can be more difficult to achieve than for other drug addictions. Methamphetamine addicts often believe that their drug is a source of power and creativity. It makes them feel happy, energetic, and full of self-esteem and confidence. When they stop using the drug, they “crash” down-to-earth and into everyday reality. They have to look at their abilities and lives in a realistic light. They have to face problems that have been put aside during the time drug addiction took over their lives. They often become clinically depressed, and it can take as long as two years for their brains to recover, allowing them to feel normal pleasures once more. A caring counselor working with a recovering addict for at least three months on a one-to-one basis can make all the difference to the person’s success.

The state-of-the-art treatment for methamphetamine addiction is called the “Matrix Model.” This is a holistic approach to recovery and involves cognitive/behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, 12-step support meetings, and sometimes drug testing. People in recovery who enter residential treatment centers have the highest success rates, because they are living away from their old drug environments, and their treatment program is 24/7 and extremely intense.

Recovering methamphetamine addicts are often underweight and physically run down. When they live in residential treatment centers, they can relax, eat nutritious foods on a regular basis, enjoy sports and other physical activities, and regain their health. Getting in shape physically is a key component to the recovery process.

When you enter a treatment center, medical professionals will test you for comorbidities, which are psychiatric problems that “travel” with but do not necessarily cause drug addiction. For people addicted to stimulants, these problems are often depression, attention deficit disorder, low self-esteem, unresolved childhood traumas, and eating disorders. Eating disorders are particularly common among women addicted to methamphetamine, and some researchers put their rate as high as 50%, compared to four percent for those without addictions. Women are just as likely to be addicted to methamphetamine as men; for example, one government survey found that 35% of those admitted for stimulant addictions were white, non-Hispanic men, and 31% were white, non-Hispanic women. In contrast, twice as many men are addicted to heroin as women.

Once patients leave residential treatment centers, they remain in treatment in their local communities by attending support meetings and continuing in individual and family counseling.

The Scripps Research Institute in California has successfully tested a vaccine that cures methamphetamine addictions in animals. Perhaps in the future, methamphetamine addicts will receive an injection that cures the addiction by blocking any feelings of pleasure from the drug.

Signs You Are Addicted To Methamphetamine

If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions, it may be time to consult your local mental health clinic or family physician about your methamphetamine addiction.

  • Are you taking methamphetamine without a doctor’s prescription?
  • Do you obtain methamphetamine through illegal means?
  • Is your methamphetamine habit affecting your finances?
  • Do you know that methamphetamine is adversely affecting your health, such as making nervous or unable to sleep, but yet you continue to use it?
  • Have you tried to quit methamphetamine unsuccessfully on your own?
  • Do your family members or friends criticize you for using methamphetamine?
  • Do you have trouble controlling your anger or moodiness because of methamphetamine?
  • Do your loved ones complain about your mood swings and irritability?
  • Do you feel jittery and nervous most of the time?
  • When you try to quit using methamphetamine, do you experience withdrawal symptoms?
  • Do you need to keep using more methamphetamine to achieve the effects you want?
  • Are you using methamphetamine to control your weight?
  • Do you feel depressed and tired or “crash” when you stop using methamphetamine?
  • Do you feel guilty or ashamed about using methamphetamine?
  • Do you go on methamphetamine binges?
  • Do you worry that impurities in your drug may be affecting your health?

Sources:

Johnson, Dirk. Meth: The Home-Cooked Menace. Center City, MN: Halzenden Press, 2005, pg. 7.

Scheck, Justin. “Business Plan Remakes Meth Market,” The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2012.

“Results from the 2010  National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings,” The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, see http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k10NSDUH/2k10Results.htm

Treatment Episode Data Set 1997-2007,  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, see http://www.samhsa.gov/data/DASIS/TEDS2k7AWeb/TEDS2k7AWeb.pdf

“Methamphetamine Use Estimated to Cost the U.S. About $23 Billion In 2005.” A Report from the Rand Corporation, see http://www.rand.org/news/press/2009/02/04/meth.html

“Methamphetamine,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse pamphlet, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine

“Methamphetamine: Abuse and Treatment,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse pamphlet, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/rrmetham.pdf

Weil, Dr. Andrew. From Chocolate to Morphine. (New York: Howard Mifflin), 1998, pg. 35-37.

Johnson, Dirk. Meth: The Home-Cooked Menace. Center City, MN: Halzenden Press, 2005, pg. 6.

Bellenir, Karen. Drug Abuse Sourcebook. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 2000, pg. 206.

DESOXYN® (methamphetamine hydrochloride) Tablets, RxList, The Internet Drug Index, posted at

http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic/methamphetamine.htm

Ibid.

Desoxyn®, Official FDA Patient Information, Drugs.Com, Drug Information Online,  posted at http://www.drugs.com/pro/desoxyn.html

“Methamphetamine, Oral Route,” The Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR602669

“Methamphetamine: Abuse and Treatment,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse pamphlet, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/rrmetham.pdf

“ADHD and Substance Abuse: Is There a Link?” The Wed MD, see http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-and-substance-abuse-is-there-a-link

Physicians’ Desk Reference, 65th Edition 2011, pg. 3164.

“Methamphetamine,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse pamphlet, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine

“Drugs of Abuse, 201Edition,” The U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Agency, see http://www.justice.gov/dea/docs/drugs_of_abuse_2011.pdf

“Methamphetamine,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse pamphlet, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine

“Methamphetamine: Abuse and Treatment,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse pamphlet, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/rrmetham.pdf

Johnson, Dirk. Meth: The Home-Cooked Menace. Center City, MN: Halzenden Press, 2005, pg. 10-11.

Miller, Joshua. “Meth Rehab: Former labs a nightmare for unwitting homebuyers,” Fox News, June 12, 2012, see http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/27/meth-rehab-former-labs-nightmare-for-unwitting-homebuyers/#ixzz26kUirgaW

Bellenir, Karen. Drug Abuse Sourcebook. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 2000, pg. 201.

“Methamphetamine, Oral Route,” The Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR602669

Physicians’ Desk Reference, 65th Edition 2011, pg. 2439.

Grinnell, Esther (MD). Encyclopedia of Drug Abuse. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2008, pg. 198.

“Methamphetamine: A Growing Domestic Threat,” The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice, see http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/dea/product/meth/threat.htm

Ibid.

Bellenir, Karen. Drug Abuse Sourcebook. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 2000, pg. 93.

Walker, Pam and Ellen Wood. Stimulants. San Diego: Thomson-Gale Books, 2004, pg. 66-68.

“Methamphetamine: Abuse and Treatment,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse pamphlet, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/rrmetham.pdf

“Methamphetamine,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse pamphlet, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine

Treatment Episode Data Set 1997-2007,  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, see http://www.samhsa.gov/data/DASIS/TEDS2k7AWeb/TEDS2k7AWeb.pdf

Davis, Caroline. “Addiction and Eating Disorders.” Psychiatric Times, Volume 18, Number 2, February 1, 2001.

“Results from the 2010  National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings,” The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, see http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k10NSDUH/2k10Results.htm

Quenqua, Douglas. “An Addiction Vaccine, Tantalizingly Close,” The New York Times, October 4, 2011.

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