In The Shadow Of The Opioid Crisis, Meth Makes A Comeback
As the government primarily focuses its efforts and resources on fighting the nation's ongoing opioid crisis, methamphetamine has reemerged as a growing threat to public health.
Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that speeds up physiological and nervous system activity. It's relatively inexpensive to make and even cheaper to buy, compared to other illicit substances, and meth-related overdose deaths are on the rise.
Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed 1.6 million people admitted to using meth within the past year. That same year, roughly 10,000 methamphetamine users died in the U.S.
Provisional 2018 data from the Centers for Disease Control indicates that even as overall drug deaths leveled, the number of stimulant overdoses continued to go up.
Texas was spared from the worst of the opioid crisis but is still dealing with a rise in overdose deaths, many due to stimulants as cheap, powerful meth continues to flow across the border. Federal drug data shows that between 2017 and 2018, seizures of meth by authorities increased 142%.
How does meth affect a user's body and brain? What are the potential long-term effects? How can substance misuse promote other negative behaviors?
Why does an individual start using meth? How is meth used in combination with drugs like cocaine and heroin, and what additional risks are associated with concurrent substance misuse?
What are the signs and symptoms of methamphetamine use disorder and what treatment options are available? What are some effective interventions to reduce stimulant use?
- Gyna Juarez, directs the Prevention Resource Center for Region 8 and education programs for the San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Awareness
- Orlando Castillo, recovery coach
- Tim Grigsby, Ph.D., assistant professor of community health in the Department of Kinesiology, Health and Nutrition at the University of Texas at San Antonio
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*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, December 10.