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Methamphetamine in California

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Methamphetamine in the Golden State


In Alhambra, California, on August 5th 2004, officials seized approximately 3,100 pounds of Marijuana and 21 pounds of "ice" Methamphetamine with a street value of more than $31.5 million dollars. Quite a haul, but unfortunately not that unusual.


Meth Crystals Most people know something about marijuana, but what exactly is meth-amphetamine?


Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant Drug closely related to amphetamine. It is commonly referred to as "speed," "crystal," "crank," "go," and most recently, "ice," a smokable form of the drug. Relatively inexpensive and highly addictive, methamphetamine is currently a major concern across the United States.


The illegal manufacture of methamphetamine is a relatively simple process and can be carried out by individuals without special knowledge or expertise in chemistry. It is often taken in combination with other drugs such as Cocaine and marijuana and, like Heroin and cocaine, can be inhaled, injected, ingested or smoked.

Methamphetamine first causes a pleasurable sensation, which is followed, as  the 'high' subsides, by a rebound of negative feelings. The user is left feeling irritable, depressed and desiring, what? More of the drug. In the mean time, the body is developing a tolerance to this particular poison and so the same dose no longer delivers the same experience, demanding a stronger drug or just a larger dose.


Faces of Meth
2.5 Years of meth use
Prolonged abuse of meth can produce symptoms similar to those of schizophrenia, i.e., panic, paranoia, auditory and visual hallucinations, repetitive behavior patterns, and delusions of parasites or insects on or under the skin.


California is ground zero for meth production. The state is home to 80 percent of the nation’s meth labs, making the drug a major export to other states. In addition, 97 percent of the nation’s “super labs,” those that produce more than 20 pounds of meth in a single batch are located in California.

This however, isn’t an epidemic that is confined to California. For some reason meth production seems to be centered in certain areas such as Missouri, Iowa, Arizona and Nevada. But it is on the West Coast where the problem is most pronounced.


For years, the incidence of methamphetamine in California and the West Coast has been way out of portion to the rest of the country. One indication of the amount of use of a drug is the number of mentions in hospital emergency department visits. These mentions could be from overdoses, unexpected reactions to a drug or from accidents while under the influence, even if other drugs were involved. In 2002, a report by the Drug Abuse Awareness Network (DAWN) showed the methamphetamine mentions for twenty-one American cities. Of those cities, which included New York, Philadelphia and Boston, nearly 60% of the meth mentions were in three California cities, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.


This is a complex social and economic problem with far reaching effects. But complex problems can have simple solutions. One solution is to reduce the demand for methamphetamine through education. At the Narconon program we are often amazed at student responses to our drug prevention presentations. Comments like, "I never knew that crank was that harmful!" or "You really opened my eyes to the dangers of meth!" are common.


It can be deadly to overestimate what students know and understand about dangerous drugs. It is up to parents, educators and health professionals to ensure that the vital truth about this and other drugs of abuse are fully understood by young and old alike. If our citizens are really taught the dangers and consequences of methamphetamine use; if they are given the actual information on which to base their decisions, this problem could become a memory.

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