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In recent years, both the number of people overdosing on meth and the number of police seizures of meth have increased. There was a 142% increase in meth use in America between 2017 and 2018. That same year, there was a 21% increase in the number of stimulant-related overdoses and a 142% increase in meth-related seizures. The number of meth seizures rose from 28,046 in 2017 to 67,757 in 2018. Meth-related overdoses rose from 10,749 to 12,987 (a 21% increase) from 2016 to 2017.
Public health coordinator for the federal government’s National Emerging Threats Initiative, John Eadie, has found that roughly the same number of people abusing meth, prescription stimulants and cocaine as are opioids. Considered by many to be a public health emergency, the rising numbers of stimulant abuse, especially meth, concern public officials. Authorities are noticing an increase in meth trafficking in the United States as use rates skyrocket, creating added strain on the resources of many police departments. Police officers are widely believed to be in more danger with meth-related crimes than other drug=related offenses, due to the often aggressive and reckless actions of those high on meth.
Hospital workers have also reported an increase in patient admissions because of meth-related health conditions and meth overdoses. In U.S. cities like Boston and Concord, officials are shocked with how rapidly the number of meth victims is increasing. Some believe it to be from the amounts of meth trafficked in recent months. Mexican drug cartels could possibly be delivering up to “7 tons of meth per 3 days” to accommodate the demand in America.
Alternatively, others believe meth’s allure is because of the belief that it is not as dangerous or life-threatening as opioids like fentanyl. It is also speculated that the reason behind the increase in meth use is the cheap cost and easy accessibility of meth, as well as the ability to make meth at home. Meth can be made from regular household ingredients ranging from battery acid to antifreeze, making them easy to get one’s hands on.
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Additional theories for the sudden upsurge of meth abuse includes an overall renewed interest in stimulants. Stimulants like Adderall are becoming more abused. Adderall has been compared to meth in its addictive quality and the effects it has on the brain.
Similar to chemical replacements found in America’s opioid crisis, individuals taking Adderall may run out of options if insurance ends or they cannot gain access to Adderall or other ADHD medications in an alternative way. He or she may begin doctor shopping to find more meds, abuse them, and eventually need something stronger. At this point, the individual abusing stimulants may have developed a tolerance or an addiction If meth is available to produce similar or more intense effects at a cheaper price, many users will be tempted to make the switch.
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Unlike Adderall, meth produces auditory and visual hallucinations that can make one act bizarre. Police officers have detailed wild chases as the individual on meth has jumped over cars and ran into traffic. Other accounts reveal the harsh effect meth has on the physical body as teeth decay. Contrary to popular opinions, meth can lead to death via overdose. When meth is combined with other stimulants like cocaine, the user increases the likelihood of heart problems and death.
For opioid-related overdoses, Narcan is available to help save lives for those who are overdosing. Unfortunately, no medication is not available to reverse meth overdose. This is concerning considering rates of meth abuse are on the rise. However, there are hopes that cracking down on meth labs and seizing meth will help combat meth abuse in America.
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