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Before you take that action…

When we say that we are not judgmental, we still may not understand how deeply someone hurts when he or she makes the choice to experiment with drugs, to take the risks that lead to addiction to harmful substances. If you are contemplating self-medicating with something like methamphetamine, please, stop and think about this for a few minutes. Be sure you understand exactly what you are about to do.

Here’s a quick history lesson about methamphetamine from HazeldenBettyFord.org. (www.hazeldenbettyford.org) Methamphetamine has been around for at least 100 years. In Germany in 1887, ephedrine was isolated from the ephedra shrub. In 1919, crystalized methamphetamine was made in Japan. It was twice as strong as a stimulant. The effects lasted longer. It was easier to make. And it was more toxic.

“Because so little was known about the negative side-effects and risks for addiction, meth tablets were distributed to German soldiers during World War II so they could fight day and night without eating or sleeping, according to the Science History Institute,” the agency says.

In the 1950s it was marketed as Benzedrine and used to treat asthma, hay fever and colds. In Vietnam it was called “pep pills” and was given to American soldiers to “increase alertness” as they beat the jungle. Soldiers reported anxiety, anger and aggression when the drug’s effects wore off.

In 1971, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency made it a Schedule II controlled substance because it can be abused, dependence and addiction. It is prescribed as Adderall and Dexedrine to treat AD/HD and narcolepsy. It is banned as a prescription drug.

A hop, skip and jump later, 1980, someone discovered crystal methamphetamine which is “cooked” in makeshift labs found in homes, cabins, cars, shacks, motels, et al. It is made from household products. Would you consume lithium from a car battery? What about brake fluid, drain cleaner or toilet bowl cleaner? Would you drink nail polish remover or paint thinner? Fertilizers (ammonia)? Fuel? Lye (sodium hydroxide, which is used to dissolve road kill.) Or antifreeze? Methamphetamine is “a concoction of hazardous waste: poison.”

Does any of this scare you? Maybe you should be scared. It bothers me profoundly that anyone would not see how much potential they have for successful, healthy living. You are worth more than this.

Meth addiction is difficult to treat, and there is a “significant chance of relapse early in treatment,” according to www.drugabuse.gov. The higher the body’s tolerance the higher the doses that may be taken more frequently, even changing how it is taken until they can’t experience any other pleasure than the meth effects. It affects movement, verbal learning, impairs decision-making skills. It increases the risk of stroke with brain damage that will never be reversed. It also affects the brain cells that protect the brain from infection and getting rid of damaged neurons. When there is too much of this activity, the protective brain cells begin to attack healthy brain cells. (www.drugabuse.gov.)

You will find all of this information and more at the noted websites. Please, take care of yourself. You deserve better than this. And I believe in making informed decisions. It’s what you don’t know that can hurt you.

Family Recovery Center helps families to find ways to navigate through the challenges we face. For more information about the agency’s treatment and education programs, contact FRC at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468, or email, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board

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