Approximately 1.2 million people reported using methamphetamine in the past year, and 440,000 reported using it in the past month. In 2015 .5 percent of 8th graders, .8 percent of 10th graders, and .6 percent of 12th graders reported using methamphetamine in the last year. Additionally, 5. Percent of 12th graders also reported using crystal methamphetamine in the last year.
These numbers show that meth isn’t as commonly used as drugs like marijuana or inhalants, but kids are still getting their hands on it and using it.
This reality is especially concerning to parents whose children are showing signs of probable drug use. If you feel like your child may be using meth, you don’t have to deal with it alone. Contact Addictions.com at 800-654-0987 and connect with people who can guide you through the process necessary to get your child drug-free and back on track.
How Meth is Used
Methamphetamine falls into the stimulant category of drugs. Stimulants are a class of drugs that can boost mood, increase feelings of well-being, increase energy, and make you more alert, but they also have dangerous effects like raising heart rate and blood pressure.
Large, illegal laboratories are used to make manmade meth in large quantities. Called “superlabs,” these labs manufacture most of the methamphetamine made available to users. This lab produced meth generally takes the form of a white, bitter-tasting powder, but it may also be produced in white pill shape or as a shiny, white or clear rock. Rocks of meth are referred to as crystal meth.
Because meth takes several forms, it can also be used in a number of ways:
- Meth can be Smoked
- Meth can be Inhaled (snorted)
- Meth can be Injected
- Meth can be Orally ingested
The preferred method of abusing the drug varies by geographical region and has changed over time. Smoking methamphetamine is currently the most common way of ingesting it.
Injecting the drug and smoking it allow meth to very quickly enter the bloodstream and brain, this speed of introduction causes an intense euphoric rush, which increases the chances of addictions and subsequent health consequences. Snorting or oral ingestion does produce a high but it lacks the intensity of the smoked or injected rush. Within 3 to 5 minutes snorting produces a high, whereas oral ingestion takes 15 to 20 minutes.
Meth is most often abused in a “binge and crash” pattern because the high is so short lived. Users try to remain high by taking more before the initial amount has even left their bloodstream. The NIDA points out “In some cases, abusers indulge in a form of binging known as a ‘run,’ foregoing food and sleep while continuing to take the drug for up to several days.”
If your child is foregoing sleep and food, they are likely dealing with something and that something could be drug use, specifically meth use.
What to Look For
Clearly behavior changes like a lack of sleep and appetite are worth keeping an eye on. Additionally, if drugs or drug paraphernalia are found in your child’s room or possession, you can be certain that drugs play a role in your child’s life.
Other common crystal meth effects to look out for include:
- Increased focus
- Increased activity
- Visible euphoria/rush
- Increased respiration
- Rapid/irregular heartbeat
- Hyperthermia (elevated body temperature)
If you have determined that your child is using meth or your fear that they may be and have gathered some evidence of use, you are likely looking into rehab options. If you would like help with this process, call 800-654-0987 and speak to someone who can connect you with resources.
The first thing you need to know is that there are not conventional medications given as part of a methamphetamine addiction treatment. So, your child will not be able to augment their withdrawal and continued abstinence the way a heroin addict or alcohol abuser would.
Instead, the best option offered is behavioral therapies. We can use the Matrix Model as an example. This is a “16-week comprehensive behavioral treatment approach that combines behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, 12-Step support, drug testing, and encouragement for non-drug-related activities, [and it] has been shown to be effective in reducing methamphetamine abuse. We also recommend contingency management interventions, “which provide tangible incentives in exchange for engaging in treatment and maintaining abstinence.”
Meth use is serious and it isn’t safe to assume that your children know better than to experiment with drugs. Addiction isn’t a matter of not knowing well enough or failing to exert enough willpower. It is a dangerous brain disorder and people who suffer from it need help. Keep watch over your child and offer help when needed.