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Methamphetamine Use—In Oklahoma and Elsewhere: What’s the Buzz?

Just before the holiday season, a Mobile Operations Team (MOT) in Payne and Creek Counties, Oklahoma, arrested 13 people and seized a meth lab operating in Payne County. Undercover officers had purchased quantities of marijuana and prescription drugs as well as the methamphetamines in Oklahoma’s Bureau of Narcotics (OBN’s) two-month-long drug sting.

Meth Rehab Center

Methamphetamine use in Oklahoma is growing as rapidly there as in any other place in the county. But authorities in places near Mexico, including Dallas and Lukeville, Arizona, have recently reported increased problems. With the United States DEA’s fist tightened around access to cold pills that contain the pseudoephedrine necessary for manufacturing methamphetamine, drug dealers find it easier to access the pills in Mexico, make the meth there, and then send it over the border.

Many people are confused about the difference between methamphetamines and amphetamines. Both of them are based on methylphenethylamine, a chemical that produces increased alertness with a greater ability to focus. Both of them cause insomnia and loss of appetite.

Amphetamine salts and dextroamphetamine are the generic names of medications better known by their brand names such as Adderall and Vyvanse as well as Dexedrine, commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

In the methamphetamine group, however, the methyl atoms (one carbon and three hydrogens) are chemically positioned in a way that makes the amphetamine more soluble and thus more quickly absorbed in the brain. Its only approved medical use is for weight loss and narcolepsy. It provides a much wilder, faster ride than its relatively mellower cousin.

Both of them, the methamphetamine group more than the amphetamines, evoke alarming physical sensations such as rapid, pounding heart rate; fainting or lightheadedness; elevated blood pressure; the inability to rest; and even  hallucinations. They stimulate the brain’s production of dopamine, with a rush of pleasure that requires more and more of the drug to sustain.

People who abuse meth over time can experience a loss of their ability to assimilate information and an increasing disinterest in their sexuality. The ordinary things in life that make us all happy have little meaning for meth users. The harsh stimulation of the drug can even lead to aggressive and then violent behavior.

Besides the ravages to the body caused by loss of sleep and failure to eat properly, meth users also experience “meth mouth” in which the teeth literally rot. The drug’s high acid content wreaks havoc on tooth enamel. In addition, meth users crave sweets, and with characteristically poor hygiene they rarely brush or floss. Someone who uses meth can age dramatically, looking his or her own age before beginning regular use and then, in just a couple years, appearing to be a decade or two older.

Concerned about the extreme levels of methamphetamine use in Oklahoma, officials from the Department of Environmental Quality have issued guidelines for cleaning up residential sites when the owners have reason to believe that meth may have been manufactured on the premises by prior residents.  If you suspect that your teen or a relative has been using your basement or garage for making meth, you should take precautions.

Because the chemicals used to manufacture this illegal substance can be trapped in ventilation and plumbing systems, special care must be taken. People can experience symptoms such as respiratory problems, skin and eye irritation, nausea, and headaches. All air filters should be changed, and ventilation openings and ducts should be cleaned thoroughly. While most homeowners can attempt to clean those areas on their own as long as they use gloves and face masks, a professional is required for plumbing if a strong odor is emanating from toilets or sinks.

Read More About It:

Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. Guidelines for Cleaning Up Former Methamphetamine Labs. http://www.deq.state.ok.us/lpdnew/MethLabs/meth.htm

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