Drugs destroying our valley: Crystal Meth

The facts on dangerous drugs and how you can safeguard yourself, family and friends

■ Muriel Dufresne, Golden Era Productions / Contributed

Riverside County is considered one of the transportation hubs for crystal meth sold in the U.S. As a result, it is the most common drug used in Hemet and the San Jacinto Valley. It’s rampant and it’s deadly—with meth-related emergency visits and deaths increasing every year.

What is Crystal Meth?
Crystal methamphetamine (also known as meth, crank, chalk, speed, ice or glass) is a white crystalline illegal substance that can be taken orally, snorted, smoked or injected with a needle.
As with all drugs, it is a potent poison that acts as a stimulant but systematically destroys the body. Highly addictive, meth creates a devastating dependence. Consequently, it is one of the hardest drug addictions to treat and many die in its grip.
Crystal meth is a man-made chemical. It is commonly manufactured in illegal, hidden laboratories by mixing various stimulants with chemicals such as battery acid, drain cleaner, lantern fuel and antifreeze.
These dangerous chemicals are potentially explosive. Because the meth-makers are typically drug users themselves and disoriented, they are often severely burned or killed when their preparations explode.
These illegal labs also endanger nearby homes or buildings and create toxic waste that can make anyone severely ill.
As one woman, a former meth addict, relates: “Welfare money was not enough to pay for our meth habit and support our son so we turned our rented home into a meth lab. We stored the toxic chemicals in our refrigerator not knowing that the toxins would permeate [go into] the other food in the icebox. When I gave my three-year-old son some cheese to eat, I did not know that I was giving him poisoned food. I was too stoned on meth to notice, until 12 hours later, that my son was deathly ill. But then I was so stoned it took me two hours to figure out how to get him to the hospital five miles away. By the time I got to the emergency room my boy was pronounced dead of a lethal dose of ammonia hydroxide—one of the chemicals used to make meth,” said the woman named Melanie.

The deadly effects of meth use
Short-term damage. From the start, meth begins to take over and ruin a person’s life. Addicts often focus their whole existence on preventing the crash—that painful letdown after the drug high. In order to achieve the desired “rush” from the drug, they must take more of it, urging the addict into a dark and deadly spiral of addiction. Negative effects also include:
• Extreme malnutrition and weight loss
• Disturbed sleep patterns and insomnia
• Hyperactivity, irritability and erratic or violent behavior
• Hallucinations, anxiety and paranoia

Long-term damage
In the long run, meth use can cause irreversible harm:
• Permanent damage to blood vessels of the heart and brain
• Cardiovascular collapse or death
• Liver, kidney and lung damage
• Users may suffer brain damage similar to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and epilepsy, including memory loss, an inability to grasp abstract thoughts and extreme mood swings.

The remedy becomes the curse
People who start taking drugs do so because they want to change something in their lives. Maybe they’re unhappy, or they want to “fit in”, or “live a little.”
Whatever their reasons, the harmful consequences are never worth any apparent relief.
Drugs not only destroy your body and mind, but in the final analysis they can take everything from you. They have no regard for your welfare or your dreams—nor any concept of morals or humanity.
Drugs are an alarming epidemic with drug-related deaths at an all-time high. More people die from drug overdose than firearms, HIV or motor vehicle accidents. In fact, the number of drug overdose deaths in America every year now approach the total U.S. casualties of the Vietnam War (47,000).
As difficult as it may sometimes be to face one’s troubles, the drug remedy only becomes far more of a problem.

The solution. The real answer is to get the facts and safeguard yourself, and your future, by not taking drugs in the first place.
Drugs tear families and lives apart. Help us educate others and end their destructive grip on our society.

For help or more information, visit us today at drugfreeworld.org or contact us at e-mail: info@drugfreeworld.org • phone: 1-888 NOTODRUGS (1-888-668-6378).

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