Drug Addicition: Meth (cont.)
That being said, methamphetamine is highly addicting. It is not uncommon for people to report that they have felt addicted to the substance after the first to the third time of use. Because of its highly addictive qualities, that's what makes it a chemical that is not able to be socially used, like heroin.
I absolutely agree that it's an epidemic. What's interesting, so to speak, about meth use and its being an epidemic is it truly is an epidemic on the West coast and in some cities in the Midwest. In the East it is just starting to become problematic and in spotty areas, an epidemic.
It also appears to be moving slower from the West to the East than many other drugs have done in the past. Heroin, as one example along with PCP, Ecstasy and recent epidemics for those drugs -- they moved fairly rapidly from West to East coast over a period of a few years.
What's concerning about methamphetamine is that it appears to be literally decimating towns as it moves across the U.S. -- economically, in all areas, from employment, jobs -- everything.
The question about ease of access is absolutely one of the reasons it's become an epidemic and that's the case with every drug that's become an epidemic - it's the ease of access. There have been some attempts recently of restricting sale of over the counter medications that are used as the base but at this point it appears to have had little impact.
In addition, it speeds up your metabolism -- your brain is firing faster than normal. It speeds up your heart rate, respiration, pulse -- all of those body functions quicken, which make it impossible to sleep. The "not eating" and the "not sleeping" are the side effects of methamphetamine use that tends to cause the most damage the soonest. You'll see when people become addictive to meth is they will drop a significant amount of weight, they won't have any regular routines except to get high, their teeth will rot, they don't take care of themselves, tend to get facial and body sores and they tend to look like somebody who has been up months on end, and for some addicts it's been days and weeks.
The sexual function isn't there because you don't care any more. The desire to be sexually active is almost nil. The "positive" or "euphoric" aspect of drug use, which attracts people to it in the beginning, is the additive cycle and they keep trying to chase those good feelings over and over again. They've been long gone, but the addict thinks if they keep using either more or differently, they'll come back, and they never do, at least not until recovery.