Stay Off Meth... Before is Too Late
Methamphetamine, also known as “speed,” “crank,” “crystal,” or “ice” is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. It can be snorted, smoked, injected or ingested by mouth. The color and texture of meth can vary; most commonly it is usually white or slightly yellow in a crystal-like powder or rock-like chunks.
“Meth destroys freedom. Meth destroys dreams. Meth destroys relationships. Meth destroys everyone. I encourage families to help their loved ones get treatment for their addiction,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who 10 years ago spearheaded the formation of the County of San Diego Methamphetamine Strike Force to address meth-related problems throughout the region and refer people to treatment.
Meth dramatically affects the central nervous system and has a high potential for abuse as tolerance develops rapidly, often leading to addiction in a short time. Long-term use can lead to dependence. Meth use causes hallucinations, paranoia, stroke, liver or heart failure, and death.
...Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant. Use results in increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, elevated temperature and wakefulness. These effects can last 8 – 24 hours.
...The devastation caused by Methamphetamine does not discriminate based on race, social class or economic standing. Meth has reached high school cheerleaders, biker gangs, suburban housewives, and seniors-- destroying health and lives in the process.
...The secondary effects can be just as dangerous--drug exposed children, violence,criminality, volatile labs, toxic waste and identity theft contribute to the damage done to communities, families and friends.
...In the past five years, 1,000 meth-related deaths occurred in San Diego County. During 2006 a total of 193 meth-related deaths were recorded, 23 percent of the 174 meth-related deaths were people 50 years or older. Nine were women and 32 were men.
...“A meth addiction knows no racial, age, gender, or geographic boundaries. I am sad to report that this deadly drug has invaded one of our most vulnerable communities, older adults and senior citizens. Grandmas and grandpas are now using this toxic drug,” states Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who was joined by Jean M. Shepard, Director, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA); Michael J. Sise, M.D., F.A.C.S., Medical Director, Trauma Services Scripps Mercy Hospital; and Jeanne McAlister, Chief Executive Officer, McAlister Institute, as well as community residents and members from the media who gathered outside the hospital for the launch of the “Get Off Meth” campaign, to focus the attention of friends and relatives of meth users to encourage them to help users seek treatment and declare their independence from meth. The campaign is a collaboration between HHSA, the Meth Strike Force, and Scripps Mercy Hospital.
...“Last year, there were 1,160 meth mentions in patients who ended up in local emergency rooms”. A study conducted by Dr. Sise and some colleagues between 2003 and 2005 at a Level 1 Trauma Center revealed that meth use went up 61 percent. Meth use increased significantly in our patients and was associated with a variety of adverse outcomes and a significant financial burden,” added Dr. Sise.
...Meth abuse among older adults and seniors is largely hidden. Society is more likely to envision a young man as a meth user than a grandmother or a grandfather.
...“The Meth statistics are very tragic, especially since this is one of our most at-risk populations. It’s extremely important that older adults, seniors, all meth users receive treatment. You can help. We can help,” said Jean M. Shepard, as she held a “Get Off Meth” brochure with information on methamphetamine, the most common signs of meth use and a list of treatment centers and information numbers where people can get the help they need.
Clinton Earls, 61, started using meth in his 20s. He soon became addicted and would continue to use the drug for 40 years. He attempted to kick his addiction on several occasions, but returned to using the drug.
“Meth makes you crazy,” said Earls.
His drug addiction cost him his first wife. He went to prison. His six children objected to him using meth, but he kept on going. About seven months ago, at the urging of his 17 year-old son, the grandfather of three gave treatment one more try.
“I got sick and tired of the revolving door my life had become,” said Earls, adding that he knows people his age who continue to use meth. “My son is my rock. I want to stay straight for him.”
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