Pubdate: Sun, 22 Apr 2007 Source: Alamogordo Daily News (NM) Copyright: 2007 Alamogordo Daily News Contact: http://www.alamogordonews.com/feedback Website: http://www.alamogordonews.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2997 Author: Sylvia A. King, Community Addiction Treatment Services, The James House of Alamogordo Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/meth.htm (Methamphetamine) Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/rehab.htm (Treatment) Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/youth.htm (Youth) OUR COMMUNITY'S DILEMMA AND CALAMITY Another year in Alamogordo and the Otero County Health Council and Otero County Meth Coalition realize we still are under siege by the insidious invader methamphetamine. What can help guide children, peers, relatives, fellow employees, supervisors, and fellow church members is the understanding that methamphetamine respects no man. The medical and clinical facts are that every person who experiments with or uses this drug gets hooked immediately. Obsession for more and an increase in the amount used occurs right away. Continued use will result in the lack of good judgment. Users become impulsive, aggressive, possibly violent, and lose the use of healthy logic. Meth use can bankrupt a good home as well as emotionally rob families. Users will experience health problems quickly. Teeth and muscles are affected within months of use. Users can die by mixing this drug with other drugs or alcohol, or by a weakened physical condition while using. Users do not even realize that this drug controls their thinking. Users then develop a personality of lying, stealing, aggression and loose morals. The user throws all caution to the wind regarding respect of the law. In other words, this drug takes over the brain. The Advertisementrelapse numbers concerning treatment for meth addiction are awful. Currently, we support a one-year treatment plan, but updated studies are showing that two to three years in treatment may be the more effective treatment plan. These clients have to completely abstain from using this drug, because if they get hooked again the cycle of decline in behavior, arrests, and ill health starts all over again. They truly cannot use just a little. Children are deeply affected while their parents or guardians are satisfying their "pleasure centers." Statistics show that more than 60 percent of displaced children presently in foster care are the victims of this drug. If not physically or sexually abused, children of meth users definitely experience the mental strain from chaos in their home life filthy homes, unsanitary conditions, and sometimes their use as sexual barter for more drugs. If the "speed" is cooked in the home, the children present will develop open sores, burns and their lungs will develop a condition called "crystal lungs." And there is the ever-present possibility that the home may become a time bomb. Very lethal and volatile chemicals are used to make this drug and when such a home is raided, a hazmat team is called in, along with Children, Youth and Families. These children have to be rushed to the hospital and treated for skin rashes and chemical exposure. The chemical hazardous materials team often has to declare the home and all belongings condemned. Anti-freeze, acetone, lantern fuel, paint thinner, Drano, and battery acid are a few of the ingredients that are used to make meth. These chemicals can induce an increase in blood pressure, elevate the body temperature, lead to loss of appetite, sleeplessness, paranoia and dilated pupils. Long-term effects are damaged nerves, high blood pressure, paranoia, sleep deprivation (some have reported going as long as two months without sleep), extreme weight loss, violence, hallucinations, strokes, heart infections, skin infections, permanent damage to teeth and gums and death. Some users develop long-term mental disorders. Statistics for jail and prison time are overwhelming. It takes support from everyone to stop the use of meth in our community. Look for the upcoming Meth Awareness events in the Daily News, or contact me at 434-2016 or Denise Syling at 437-2460 for further information. We have an obligation to get involved. We all need to "Be aware or beware!"