In 1998, Rodger McDaniel, a well-known Wyoming legislator, was awoken in the middle of the night by his son because his 16 year-old daughter was sick. He was shocked to find out she had been taking drugs and had overdosed on methamphetamine. This was a young lady who was a wonderful cellist and a leader in her youth group. No one expected her to be addicted to meth. The ER doctors recommended out of state treatment because there were not many resources available in Wyoming. The road to recovery was long and hard. Thankfully with a supportive family and many months of residential treatment she was able to overcome the addiction.
Here we are almost 20 years later and we still have a meth problem in Wyoming. Just watch the news to see all the arrests and crime related to methamphetamine. See the havoc families experience when children are put into foster homes because of addicted parents. Our young people are being devastated by one of the most addictive and destructive drugs available. Some even walk through True Care’s doors. These beautiful, wonderful young people with their entire lives ahead of them become addicted to a substance that alters their ability to find enjoyment in anything but the drug they crave.
Do you know that a person can become addicted to meth after only one dose? These aren’t bad people…they messed up and tried the drug just once and that was all it took.
What is Meth?
Meth stands for methamphetamine. It is a drug that works on dopamine receptors in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that makes you feel pleasure. The meth user gets a powerful rush of euphoria the first time they take the drug because of the dopamine released in the brain. Unfortunately, the special dopamine receptors are damaged by the drug over time and the users don’t get the same high. In fact, users struggle to feel any pleasure at all unless they get high because the normal dopamine process has been damaged.
Meth Ruins Lives
Meth users can become unpredictable with mood swings, anger, paranoia and depression. The need for their next fix can lead to pawning valuables, spending rent money, and theft. After a long high, a user often crashes and sleeps for days. All of these behaviors can cause relationship troubles, job loss, poor health, and jail time. For family members, the behavior changes are confusing. Their loved one can become paranoid and angry leading to violent and dangerous outbursts. Check out this video that follows the lives of some meth users in Montana.
If you have small children and are living with a meth user or are using meth yourself, your children may also be in danger. The drug affects children, including causing sleep disorders, irritability, and physical ailments. Even babies in the womb exposed to meth can be affected. If meth is discovered in your home by authorities, your little ones will be removed from your household. It’s important to get your children out of a living situation where meth or other drugs and illegal substances are involved.
The physical changes you see over short periods of time using meth are terrible, but you can’t see inside these folks to the emotional toll and termoil the drug has caused. What have these folks lost to addiction? Their families? Their jobs? Their hope and self respect? Their joy and purpose?
What are the Warning Signs of Meth?
How do you know if your loved one is using? According to the Wyoming Meth Project, here are the warning signs that someone you know may be using meth.
-Changes in physical appearance including deteriorating hair, skin, or teeth.
-Obsessively picking at hair or skin.
-Letting themselves go physically, and not showering or caring how they look.
-Decreased appetite and unhealthy weight loss.
-Dilated pupils and rapid eye movement.
-Unusual or foul body odor. Some may smell like ammonia or cat urine.
-Burn marks on finger or mouth.
-Strange sleeping patterns. Staying up for days or even weeks.
-Jerky, erratic movements, twitching, facial tics, animated, or exaggerated mannerisms and incessant talking.
-Does repetitive, meaningless tasks like disassembling electronic or other household items for no apparent reason.
-Possession of drug paraphernalia like glass pipes, burnt spoons, cutoff straws, or needles.
-Borrowing money often, selling possessions, or stealing.
-Angry outbursts, mood swings, or overall change in attitude.
-Acting paranoid or talking about being in danger, even though there is no reason to feel threatened.
-Psychotic behavior characterized by paranoia and hallucinations.
If You’re Addicted:
If you are addicted to meth, today is the day to turn things around. You aren’t a bad person, but you made a wrong turn and are traveling down a dangerous path. Don’t let the addiction go on for even one more day. Your future, and the future of your children, depends on the actions you take right now. Check out some of the following websites and make a call for help.
Central Wyoming Counseling Center: https://www.cwcc.us/
Crystal Meth anonymous: https://crystalmeth.org/
Behavioral Health Treatment Locator: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/