24/7 Confidential Hotline

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Methamphetamine Addiction in America

stimulant use disorder treatmentThere is an epidemic that is quietly tearing lives apart while being overshadowed by opioid addiction in the United States. Before the nation, including lawmakers and medical professionals, began voicing severe concerns about opioids, the primary topic of drug-related discussion focused on methamphetamine. Not too long ago, American public service announcements and national headlines drove the dangers of meth home for every citizen. And then, seemingly overnight, the conversation about the “scariest drug in America” went silent.

Opioid use disorder – conditions involving the use of prescription painkillers or heroin – is a life-threatening mental health condition. More than 70,000 Americans perished in 2017 from an overdose, and opioids were involved in about two-thirds of all cases. The efforts to address this most severe crisis must continue on every applicable front, but it is vital to remember that just because there is little mention of meth these days doesn’t mean the country isn’t in the midst of a devastating and emerging problem. Methamphetamine is, in fact, a more serious dilemma than opioids in many parts of the United States.

Unfortunately, clinicians lack medications for assisting meth addicts in transitioning from addiction into recovery unlike what is available for opioid use disorder. Moreover, there is not a drug like naloxone to reverse the effects of a methamphetamine overdose. While stimulant use disorder recovery is possible, there are few pharmacological solutions to aid people in early abstinence. Since most addiction researchers are focused on curbing the opioid epidemic, it is critical that more people start talking about this deadly drug. The fact is that meth use has done anything but decrease since the U.S. government began cracking down on homegrown meth labs in the 2000s.


Combating Methamphetamine Addiction in America

When laws were passed to make it more difficult for Americans to acquire the necessary precursors (i.e., pseudoephedrine) meth lab explosions and busts decreased dramatically. This led some to believe that the problem was mostly solved. However, wherever there is a demand someone will find a way to supply; and that someone turned out to be Mexican drug cartels.

Not only is there more methamphetamine than ever in the U.S., what is available today is more potent and is less expensive. The price is the lowest the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has witnessed in years and the product being consumed is more than 90 percent pure, ABC News reports. Meth-related overdose deaths more than tripled from 2011 to 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The University of Texas at Austin found that meth use led to 813 deaths in Texas, compared 591 heroin-related deaths in 2017.

While traditional treatment therapy models are useful in facilitating long-term recovery, experts in the field express a need for drugs, like buprenorphine or naltrexone, to aid people with stimulant use disorders. Such medications help men and women in the earliest stages of recovery stay on track and avoid relapse.

“We’re realizing that we don’t have everything we might wish we had to address these different kinds of drugs,” said Dr. Margaret Jarvis, a psychiatrist and distinguished fellow for the American Society of Addiction Medicine. 

Fortunately, there may be solutions on the horizon! The National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network is testing the efficacy of combining naltrexone and the antidepressant bupropion (e.g., Wellbutrin), according to the article. Researchers at the Universities of Kentucky and Arkansas created lobeline, a molecule that may be able to counter methamphetamine’s effects in the brain.


Stimulant Use Disorder Treatment in Central California

The short-term effects of meth use carry significant risks to one’s health. Any person finding him or herself battling meth addiction should reach out for assistance immediately to begin the recovery process. Immediate intervention can help individuals avoid the impact of long-term meth use. Methamphetamine wreaks significant havoc on both mind and body.

Please contact The Haven at Pismo to learn more about our innovative substance abuse treatment center. We have extensive experience in bringing the light of recovery into the lives of people living with stimulant use disorders. Our commitment to integrity and excellence makes our inpatient addiction rehab the perfect place to renew to your best today.