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No one’s talking about meth anymore… is it still a big issue in Idaho?

Recently, it seems any news that pops up regarding addiction is related to opioid addiction. Prescription drug and heroin abuse are one of the drug epidemics that is striking the nation currently. While opioids are certainly a problem in Idaho as well, it was meth or methamphetamine, that was considered the biggest challenge in fighting drug addiction in recent years. Has the situation improved? Is meth addiction still a problem in Idaho?

Meth Addiction in Idaho

Although fewer meth lab busts have been occurring in Idaho, methamphetamine is still being used, it’s just coming into the state from other places. A local Idaho man was arrested in February 2017 for running a mail-order meth delivery service. This also led to the arrest of a woman who was ordering the meth in Idaho. This service, though taking place in Idaho, is one of many, most of which operate outside of the state. People are still using this dangerous drug, but are obtaining it in new ways. According to ISP reports from 2014-2015, meth cases more than tripled. Along with the increase in cases, arrests and deaths have also increased. Teens, in particular, have been affected by the meth epidemic, as they are easily swayed by rumors and misinformation about meth. Some of the statements that lead people to use or consider using meth include:

  • Meth can aid in weight loss
  • Meth can help you feel happy or euphoric
  • Meth can increase your energy levels
  • Meth helps you pass time so as to not become bored
  • Meth can help you cope with problems in your life

An ally in the fight against meth addiction, The Meth Project, a large-scale prevention program that focuses on public service messages, education, and outreach, has helped in reducing youth and teen meth addiction in Idaho and other states throughout the United States. Since its launch in Idaho in 2008, teen meth use has declined by 56%.

Types of Meth Addiction

Those who decide to use meth, rarely use with the intention of becoming addicted. Often, they feel pressured to try the drug to fit in, or because they have heard that it will help them in some way. A single use that is effective at helping the individual achieve the desired goal will make them believe that using again will not cause any problems. I’ve used before and it wasn’t a big deal. It should be fine if I just use it one more time. This is a dangerous scenario that can and often will lead the user further into substance abuse and addiction. There are three major types or levels of meth addiction that have been identified:

  • Low-Intensity Meth Abuse – Low-intensity abusers use meth through snorting or swallowing. This type of user often hears one or more of the above statements and thinks that a they could use the drug to help them lose weight or increase their energy level to complete a challenging task. Low-intensity users are one step away from becoming a binge user.
  • Binge Meth Abuse – In order to gain a more intense high faster, binge meth abusers will smoke or inject methamphetamine with a needle, in a similar manner to heroin. The rush associated with an injection is much stronger due to the fact that the drug enters directly into the blood stream rather than being digested. Those that engage in binge meth abuse are one step away from high-intensity meth abuse.
  • High-Intensity Meth Abuse – High-intensity meth abusers must constantly use the drug in order to maintain the high. This type of meth addiction is extremely dangerous as the user is likely to overdose searching for an even greater high than the one they previously experienced. Once the abuser has reached this level, the addiction is at a very serious stage and treatment for meth addiction must be sought before it’s too late.

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Meth Addiction

For those who think that just a few uses of meth won’t have any lasting impact, they are quite mistaken. There are many short-term effects for the use of methamphetamine:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Increase in blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate
  • Dilation of pupils
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Irregular, erratic and even violent behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Feels of irritability and inability to focus (hyperexcitability)
  • Panic attacks and psychosis
  • Convulsions, seizures and even death from overdose

These are only a few effects that present themselves after just one dose of meth. The long-term effects of meth addiction are frightening:

  • Irreversible liver, kidney and lung damage
  • Extreme weight loss, leading to malnutrition
  • Severe tooth decay (meth mouth)
  • Irreversible damage blood vessels in the heart and brain
  • High blood pressure that can lead to heart attacks, strokes and death
  • Injections can lead to infectious diseases and abscesses
  • Smoking meth can lead to lung and breathing issues
  • Nasal tissue destruction should the meth be sniffed
  • Severe anxiety, disorientation, and exhaustion
  • Depression
  • Brain damage with effects similar to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke or epilepsy

One of the most striking aspects of meth addiction is the complete deterioration of the physical appearance of the user. Often the user develops a thin, malnourished frame covered in sores. The body loses its ability to heal itself after prolonged meth use. Because of this, cuts and illnesses linger and can be even more devastating, as the body just has no resources to give towards healing the ailment.

Getting Help for a Meth Addiction in Idaho

Idaho is working hard to fight meth addictions. The public service announcements and community education and engagement programs have shown great promise in discouraging youth from using the drug. Stopping the flow of meth into the state from other areas remains a priority for law enforcement. Regardless of the risk involved, the use of methamphetamine is a dangerous gamble that should be avoided at all costs. If you or someone dear to you has developed a problem with this incredibly dangerous drug, getting help is imperative. At Ashwood Recovery, those suffering from addiction can get the treatment they need from the most-trusted facility in Boise, Idaho. We utilize comprehensive evidence-based treatment for the treatment of those suffering from addiction. You can beat your meth addiction before it’s too late.