Pubdate: Thu, 23 Nov 2006
Source: Summerland Review (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 The Summerland Review
Author: John Arendt


It's been a long and difficult road to recovery for a former crystal 
methamphetamine user living in Summerland.

When she was 19, Danielle (not her real name) tried the drug at a 
party and became addicted immediately.

"The first time I tried it, the high lasted for three days," she 
says. "I didn't realize the three days had passed by."

She adds that the drug is highly addictive.

"I've never heard of anyone trying it and not liking it," she says.

She quit using the crystal meth when she was pregnant with her first 
child and managed to stay clean for four or five years.

Then, around the time her son was born, thinking she could handle it, 
she started using it again.

However, there were some serious effects from the drug.

While using meth, she was able to stay awake for long periods of 
time, up to nine days. This led to hallucinations.

She would then burn out for four to five days.

She lost 50 lbs. and started losing her hair.

In addition, she recalls hearing voices in her head and becoming 
paranoid while on the drug.

As the addiction progressed, she needed to get high in order to function.

When she realized the drug habit would kill her, she got into treatment.

"Once you are hooked on meth, if you can't get off, you have no 
future," she says.

It took two stints in treatment centres to break the addiction.

"I don't ever want to do that again," she says.

During the withdrawal period, she experienced anxiety and panic 
attacks, a lack of energy, extremely bad nightmares and depression.

The depression escalated when she experienced shame over what she had 
done while on the drug.

The post-acute withdrawal symptoms can last up to three years, she says.

Her mind has been affected by meth but it is slowly beginning to repair itself.

Danielle says there are some common misconceptions about the drug and 
its effects.

She says it is used by people of all ages, not just teens and young adults.

"I know a lot of parents who do it," she says.

She adds that crystal meth is not a social drug since paranoia is one 
of the effects of its use.

"It's not a party drug," she says. "By the time you're high, you're paranoid."

While parents are urged to talk with their children about crystal 
methamphetamine and other drugs, Danielle says more is needed.

"Parents need to pay attention to their kids," she says.

Some of the warning signs include seclusion, irresponsible behaviour, 
rapid weight loss and an attitude of disrespect and disregard.

Those who are seeking help from a crystal methamphetamine addiction 
should call Pathways Addictions Resource Centre in Penticton at 492-0400.

Crystal meth facts

The crystal form of methamphetamine is often made using chemicals 
that come from products such as cold medicine, drain cleaner, paint 
thinner and antifreeze. Producing the drug can result in explosions 
or fires in the manufacturing lab. In addition, manufacturing the 
drug results in dangers from poisonous fumes and substances and 
produces large amounts of chemical wastes.
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