Methamphetamine is one of those drugs that is truly addicting and it truly changes its user’s appearance and brain function. Many people who experiment with this drug just once or twice end up hopelessly addicted, ruining their lives and sometimes the lives of others as well.
Story after story has come out in recent years about brutal murders and unreal attacks, all caused by delusional meth users. Mothers killing children, a boyfriend beating a girlfriend to death with a hammer, a woman drowning her baby in a washing machine; all these people were high on meth when they committed these unthinkable crimes.
Going beyond typical murder, these cases show extreme violence and torture. “When you get this type of tragedy, it’s not a surprise that drugs were involved,” said Lt. Mark Salazar, the Fresno Police Department’s homicide commander who investigated the latest of these crimes. “Meth has been a factor in other violent crimes.” (1) The National Drug Intelligence Center claims that meth is a top contributor to crimes and thefts. “It drives more crime than other drugs do. Meth is in its own category, because it’s so much more addictive than other drugs,” said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims. (1)
Meth in California
California has an especially high rate of meth production, much of it taking place on agricultural land run by Mexican drug lords. These “super labs” are controlled by Mexican traffickers who distribute their goods all across the country. According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Intelligence Center, from 2009 to 2010 methamphetamine busts in the Central Valley more than tripled to 1,094 kilograms, or more than 2,400 pounds. (1)
Psychosis for Meth Users
Meth, which has been called the poor man’s cocaine, is extremely addicting. It gives users a feeling of euphoria and confidence, but after a short time the meth alters the addict’s brain chemistry. They become psychotic, hearing voices and hallucinating. In severe cases, like the violent murders, meth addicts have exhibited schizophrenia-like behavior.
“Once people who are on meth become psychotic, they are very dangerous,” said Dr. Alex Stalcup, who researches meth and works with addicts in California. “They’re completely bonkers; they’re nuts. We’re talking about very extreme alterations of normal brain function. Once someone becomes triggered to violence, there aren’t any limits or boundaries.” (1)
Meth addiction has been called the biggest drug threat in Central Valley, California, and authorities are working to crack down on both users and distributers. However, the size of many of these operations will make it a difficult problem to manage. It will take the combined efforts of the government, law enforcement, treatment professionals, and family and friends of users to make a difference.