Methamphetamine (a. k. a. meth) has been used throughout world history to create different benefits for mankind. It has been used to fuel bravado among American soldiers during World War II and the Vietnam War. Adolf Hitler was also regularly injected by Dr. Thoedor Morell with fatal doses of Benzedrine which may have added to the tyrant’s irrational thinking before his death. Many women also became dependent on the drug because of its slimming effects.
Although drugs containing meth had been regulated by the government through various laws, it has become difficult to control with the public knowledge that it can be “cooked” using simple household items that are readily available such as coffee filters, denatured alcohol, ammonia, acetone, lithium batteries, etc. (Life or Meth, 2006) Meth dependency is considered to be one of the most difficult addictions to treat because most abusers do not display immediate physical or psychological effects until they are thoroughly addicted.
The hardest part for any abuser is the awareness of the addiction and the battle to stay away from the drug despite the idea that it makes them feel “good. ” (Stop Meth Addiction, 2008) Meth treatment is available to those who willingly want to rid of their dependency but the relapse is harder to deal with. Not all treated abusers have the opportunity to finish the addiction with just a one-time treatment. Many fall into relapse twice or thrice before they are able to free themselves of meth. Public disdain over the addiction does not help those under treatment to recover faster.
Meth abusers who are willing to seek treatment must be given chances to redeem themselves even when they fail at their attempts to get out of their dependency. To better understand the problems of treating meth, one can study the case of Mike Smith, 23 years old. Mike was 9 years old when his father died of a stroke. His mother remarried but Mike never got along well with his stepfather which made puberty even more difficult than normal. He got himself into sports and played competitively but dropped out of the teams when he started to get into drugs during high school.
Mike’s first experience with illegal drugs was marijuana which he took out of curiosity. His interest piqued, he decided to abuse LSD, cocaine, alcohol, acid, cough syrup and methamphetamine. Meth for Mike was exceptionally better than the other drugs because of the rush he felt. He said that one can feel warmth coursing through the body from head to toe and that meth leaves a particular taste in the back of his mouth. He thought it was cool that this drug could remain in his system for few days, rather than just a few hours.
He said that it was not like being intoxicated with alcohol where one feels inhibited. Instead, he describes the feeling like being “amped up. ” Physically, the effects of meth were not immediately visible. In fact, it helped Mike gain popularity in school for the energy boost he got from it. Mike was not completely aware that meth was taking hold of his life. His behavior changed because he used the drug as a fall back when situations got stressful. He said that meth was the answer he gave himself when he got himself into trouble.
If he verbally hurt a friend, for example, it was easier for him to blame his behavior on meth rather than face the truth that he truly made a mistake. He said that meth gave him a false sense of security. Mike’s deeper involvement in meth was triggered by the death of two of his closest friends. After they passed away, he felt that nothing else but the high he got from meth mattered anymore. He flunked school and started getting into more trouble. It was not long before he realized that meth could no longer make him feel high like it used to.
Instead, he became paranoid, scared and uncomfortable. His insecurities made him distance himself from his close set of friends and his mother. He found himself in and out of juvenile detention centers and rehabilitation clinics because of crimes like stealing and being caught with marijuana. Still, he said he was not aware that his behavior was truly caused by meth. By the age of 18, he just could not imagine life without meth. He felt that he was just not using enough meth and this caused him to lose his friends, popularity and the life he so wanted.
Instead of ridding himself of the drug, he spend more nights alone in his room trying to experiment how much more he needed to take to get back the high. Mike’s mom totally lost faith in him when he was in drugs because of his constant lying and stealing. This eventually led her to kick him out of the house which made him seek shelter in a shed. He kept trying to sneak back into their house for food until one night he got caught by the police with some stereo equipment he had stolen. This landed him in jail with numerous charges accumulating to 65 years of imprisonment.
He was forced to get treatment while he was in prison. Since he had no desire to be treated, he was still able to sneak in meth while on his way to and from treatment sessions outside of the jail. One night, Mike got overdosed with meth and went into psychosis for four days. He said that he kept hallucinating and hearing voices. He thought his inmates were talking to him but they were not. This was the turning point for him. He got very scared of his situation. He finally understood that meth had taken control of his life and he just could not get out of it easily.
The highs he had were not pleasurable anymore and he felt the pain that he had already caused his close friends and family. He was four months into his jail term when he was disallowed to further his treatment because he was caught getting drugs from his trips to the rehab center. He was only given another chance at treatment when his behavior improved. The treatment lasted for 6 months and when he was let out of prison under parole, he conditioned himself to stay isolated from people so that he will not be tempted to take meth again.
He got a job at the grocery store and one day, one of his co-employees was able to convince him to take meth again. He gave in knowing that he was going to see his parole officer in four days. He knew that meth will be out of his system one day before this appointment. However, once he got high, he could not help himself and stayed on meth for another three days. When his parole officer asked for a urine analysis, Mike knew that the man detected his consumption. However, the guy decided not to insist on the urinalysis and Mike found out that his parole officer had resigned and just did not want to put anyone back in jail anymore.
This, he knew, was his last chance to get out of his meth addiction and he was very grateful for it. It took Mike another relapse before he was able to get out of the addiction. Even then, he says that the temptation is great because he encounters things connected to meth use everyday. He says that the only way he was finally able to relinquish the addiction was through will power and the help of two more things: his mom and the availability of therapy when he needed. His new parole officer made him attend numerous 12 step meetings weekly and his mom took him back in.
His mom and PO helped him relearn to focus on getting achievements like a diploma so that he can also learn to ignore the temptation of getting meth addicted again. Meth addicts are great persons who have almost lost their potential in becoming great contributors to our society. Condemnation and apathy to their needs lead them to depend on the drugs even more. Rehabilitation only works if the person is ready to detoxify himself and focus on putting more direction in his life with the help of people who truly care.
Constant guidance is needed and coaching is important even when the addict fails in his numerous attempts to be treated. Meth abusers who are willing to seek treatment must be given chances to redeem themselves even when they fail at their attempts to get out of their dependency. References Life or Meth. (2006, December 18). Life’s Worst Enemy. Retrieved March 6, 2009 from http://www. lifeormeth. com/#/whatiscrystalmeth/4509174500 Stop Meth Addiction. (2008). Retrieved March 6, 2009 from http://www. stopmethaddiction. com/ meth-recovery. htm