Scottsdale, Arizona – as well as other cities – has seen an increase in the number of people abusing methamphetamine. This drug is typically known to addicts as simply, meth. It is a dangerous stimulant that is highly addictive and extremely difficult to stop using once a person starts. In fact, there are many people who believe that recovering is impossible. They have resigned themselves to being addicts for the rest of their lives.
There is no denying that recovering from any type of addiction is difficult. Some people attempt to stop using for years, suffering through relapse after relapse until they are finally successful. Professional treatment can make it a lot easier by providing people with the support they need to get off this drug for good.
Meth addiction is extremely dangerous both physically and mentally. It is important to understand the impact this drug can have on a person as well as where to find the best addiction treatment in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Methamphetamine Addiction: The Basics
Methamphetamine was originally developed as a psychoactive drug designed to treat a host of medical conditions. Doctors quickly realized the drug’s addictive potential, though, and almost completely abandoned its usage. It is very rarely prescribed to treat ADHD, but most users are recreational users who never received a medical prescription.
Meth can be manufactured from common household chemicals, though the manufacturing process itself is extremely dangerous. Flammable and explosive chemicals can and do ignite, leading to explosions of so-called meth labs. These explosions can harm innocent passersby, kill meth manufacturers, and cause immense property damage. Because of the ready availability of substances that can manufacture meth, many states have taken action to limit the sale of pseudoephedrine and other meth-related chemicals.
How Meth Affects the Body
Some drugs only harm the health of those unlucky enough to be addicted for extended periods. Meth is not one of these drugs. Prolonged use of methamphetamine inevitably leads to serious physical and psychological symptoms. Indeed, the web is full of “before and after” pictures of meth users that chronicle the rapid aging, intense skin, and dental problems, and dramatic changes in appearance the drug can yield in a relatively short period of time.
Meth is highly addictive, with most users becoming dependent on the drug after just a handful of uses. If you continue using meth, an accidental overdose can kill you, and excessive use can lead to seizures, strokes, sudden death, and heart attacks. Other common side effects of meth use include:
- Changes in bone structure, particularly on the face
- Skin-picking that leads to deep craters and infections in the skin
- Brain damage
- Mental illness
- Personality changes
- Unstable mood
- Loss of teeth, tooth decay, chronic bad breath, and gum infections
- Infertility and sexual dysfunction
- Disruption of the menstrual and ovulatory cycles
- Exposure to infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS; if you inject meth, your risk of dying due to drug use increases exponentially.
- Intense anxiety, anger, or psychosis
- Delusions or hallucinations
- Excessive weight loss
Symptoms of Meth Addiction
Meth addiction happens quickly, and seemingly without warning. As you continue using meth, your body quickly develops a tolerance of the drug that encourages you to use larger and larger quantities. This can quickly result in chemical dependency that tricks your body into believing it “needs” meth. Consequently, when you attempt to quit using, you may experience intense and painful withdrawal effects that make quitting on your own nearly impossible.
Here are some other signs that you may be a meth addict:
- Working while under the influence of meth.
- Spending all or most of your time with other meth addicts or under the influence of meth.
- Doing things you regret due to the influence of meth.
- Suffering financial problems due to meth.
- Being arrested but continuing to use meth.
- Relationship problems due to meth use.
- Being unable to concentrate or work without meth.
- Anger, rage, and illegal behavior.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Hearing from loved ones that your meth use has become problematic.
- Short-term memory loss.
Meth Addiction Statistics in Arizona
Arizona and other western states have seen a dramatic increase in the number of meth overdoses. The Salt Lake Tribune had several statistics to share:
- In the western part of the United States, government reports are showing that meth is a bigger killer than Fentanyl.
- In 2017, meth was most frequently involved in deaths in four different regions that include 19 states that lie west of the Mississippi River.
- In 2017, there were 70,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States.
- Two-thirds of those deaths involved opioids.
- 39% of them involved Fentanyl, 23% of them involved heroin and cocaine was responsible for 21% of them.
- Methamphetamine was listed as number 4 on the list, and it was cited in 13% of the drug overdose deaths in 2017 overall.
- But in those four western regions, meth was number one at 21% to 38%.
- In the past, the CDC has watched the toll of meth on the U.S. They noted that it increased from number 8 to number 4 in just four years.
- Preliminary findings suggested that meth overdoses increased in these four regions in 2018 as well.
KVOA.com in Tucson also reported on the fact that a lot more meth is entering our country now than ever before.
- In 2017, 11,887 pounds of meth were confiscated by authorities in Arizona.
- By 2018, that number went up to 26,578 pounds.
- By 2019, it increased again to 31,511 pounds.
- Experts believe these increases are in light of the opioid epidemic, which caused the price of meth to go down.
- They also state that although meth overdoses are fewer than opioid overdoses, they are on the rise.
- As of the beginning of 2020, meth overdose deaths in Arizona numbered about half of opioid overdose deaths.
What is Being Done About the Methamphetamine Problem in Arizona?
A new meth trafficking crackdown program has been designed in an attempt to stop the influx of methamphetamine that makes its way into the United States. Eight cities have been chosen to participate, and Phoenix, Arizona is one of them.
The program is being launched by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a way to crack down on meth trafficking in certain cities. It is being called Operation Crystal Shield. The other cities that were chosen are:
- Los Angeles
- El Paso
- New Orleans
- St. Louis
The eight cities that are involved are responsible for more than 75% of the meth that was seized in the U.S. in the year 2019. The DEA have stated that a lot of meth comes through the Southwest border, which is why Phoenix has been labeled a transportation hub. From there, much of the drug has been distributed all over the country. The DEA plans to implement strategies like paying people for information related to meth trafficking and distribution.
There are four times more opioid overdoses in our country than meth overdoses. But the numbers do not lie. Methamphetamine seizures have seen an increase of 147% in the last year. In Arizona alone, seizures of the drug are up 78% in the last year.
Erica Curry, who works with the DEA in Arizona stated that, “It has been overshadowed by the opioid crisis, but the reality is pound for pound, we receive far more meth than we do heroin or fentanyl. About 10 times as much, actually.”
Meth is a drug that is cheap and highly addictive, which makes it a great option for drug traffickers who want to move product as quickly as possible. The DEA estimates that in the United States, there are about 1 million people who are addicted to it.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
If you are addicted to meth, you need immediate intervention. Rehab is the single best option for treating your addiction since rehab removes you from the environment that spurred your meth addiction while offering you a safe and supportive space to work toward sobriety. Some of the services you can expect in rehab – that you can also pursue outside the walls of rehab – include:
- Therapy with a counselor who has advanced training and expertise in meth addiction. In therapy, you’ll explore why you choose to start using meth, what keeps you using, and what strategies you can use to avoid using in the future. You may also discuss early childhood memories, trauma, and relationship factors that contribute to your meth use.
- Group counseling sessions under the guidance of a therapist who specializes in addiction.
- 12-step programs with a group of recovering addicts who have faced challenges similar to your own. The most popular program is Narcotics Anonymous, which encourages you to take responsibility, make amends, and maintain permanent sobriety. In NA, you can also select a sponsor. This person is your go-to support system when you have serious cravings, must face a crisis without drugs, or need advice for getting and staying sober.
- Medical assistance. Meth is a potentially fatal drug that can destroy your organs, undermine your mental health, and lead to ongoing health challenges. A physician can help you cope with these difficulties. Additionally, your doctor will evaluate you to determine if detox is safe, then monitor your symptoms as you go through the withdrawal process. If a mental or physical health condition played a role in your decision to use meth, your doctor can help you find better treatment options, including less-addictive prescription drugs to help you cope with your symptoms.
What to Expect During Drug Treatment in Arizona
A lot of people never get any type of treatment for their addictions for any number of reasons. Some are afraid of stopping their use of meth, and others are convinced that nothing can be done to help them. But the right drug rehab program can make such a difference; even for those who are addicted to such a hard drug.
Recovering from a meth addiction is something that people should never undertake on their own. They should never attempt to quit cold turkey at home because of the risk of complications that can arise during recovery. It is always best to quit using this type of drug in a medical setting where the individual can receive the proper treatment and support.
Treating a meth addiction should be done in two main steps. The first goal should always be to treat the physical addiction. Methamphetamine withdrawal can be quite debilitating, and it is important to get those symptoms under control in the very beginning. Afterward, the individual is ready to move on to drug rehab, which is the second step in the recovery process. This is where the psychological aspect of the addiction is treated.
Drug Detox for Meth Addiction in Arizona
Even though methamphetamine is a highly dangerous drug, coming off it can be extremely difficult and even dangerous at times, as well. Addicts agree on the fact that nothing is harder than coming down from a meth binge. It causes a range of emotional and physical withdrawal symptoms that include:
- Feeling exhausted and drained of energy.
- Having intense cravings for meth.
- Experiencing extreme depression and anxiety.
- Losing any desire to do anything at all.
- Having clammy skin.
- Suffering from either constipation or diarrhea.
- Having painful headaches
- Experiencing joint pain.
- Having tremors
- Having irregular heart rhythms.
- Having red, itchy eyes.
These and any other withdrawal symptoms that people experience can be very hard to get through without some type of professional help. Most people who attempt to quit on their own will find it easy to relapse once they can no longer handle how severe withdrawal becomes.
Drug detox offers hope to people who are addicted to methamphetamine. It allows them to get some relief for their withdrawal symptoms, thereby giving them a much better chance of being successful in recovery. There are a few types of treatment offered through many Arizona drug detox programs, and most subscribe to a combination of medications and holistic treatments.
Medications that treat individual symptoms can be used to treat meth withdrawal symptoms. For example, a person may be given Tylenol, Ibuprofen or Mobic to treat joint pain, or they may take antidepressants to help with anxiety and depression. Every person is different as far as what they need, and doctors should take those differences into account before creating treatment plans.
Holistic treatments are also known to be extremely effective for people with meth addictions as well. It is very common for doctors to recommend for them to work with a nutritionist to determine the best diet to meet their needs. By combining diet and exercise, the individual begins striving toward being healthier, which improves how they feel overall and can aid in the detox process.
Arizona Drug Rehab: Getting Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders
After detoxing, the next step is to go to drug rehab. This is where the staff works with the addict on overcoming the psychological part of their addiction to meth. It is extremely important to determine what caused the substance abuse problem to begin with. Many people are completely unaware that their drug use had an actual cause; instead, they just assume that they started using because they liked the way it made them feel. But for many people who use methamphetamine, they are only using it as a way to self-medicate.
The term, co-occurring disorder, refers to the presence of a mental health condition alongside an addiction. For someone who is addicted to meth, they may also be suffering from depression, bipolar disorder or another mental illness. They use meth because it temporarily treats their symptoms.
It is really important to identify the cause of a person’s meth addiction and then offer the appropriate type of treatment. This might mean prescribing medications to help with certain symptoms, starting the appropriate type of therapy, or both.
People do not typically go to drug rehab until they are feeling a lot better physically after coming off meth. But because they feel better, it can be tempting for them to want to skip getting any further treatment. We want to advise against this because it is extremely dangerous. If the addict does not take the time to determine what caused their addiction and then get help for the cause, they are probably not going to be successful long-term.
A lot of people wrongly assume that once they go to rehab, they should come out completely cured of their addictions. Unfortunately that is not the case, and that is also not how recovery works at all. There is no cure, but there are ways to treat addictions that can lead to complete and total abstinence.
Because there is no cure, it is important for people to have the right kind of aftercare in place. The type of program they transition to will all depend on what type of care they have had and how they have progressed. For example, someone who has gone through an inpatient program may move on to an intensive outpatient program and sober living after rehab. Someone who started by getting outpatient treatment may move on to therapy and attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings on a weekly basis.
Continuing to get treatment is critical for success when it comes to recovering from an addiction. Those who do well are usually those who have gone through detox, rehab and received the right referrals for their aftercare.
How to Find the Best Arizona Drug Rehab and Recovery Program
There are a lot of drug rehab programs in Arizona that offer treatment for methamphetamine addiction. The SAMHSA treatment locator lists close to 400 of them within the state alone. But of course, they are not all the same, and it is important to know how to choose the best programs to meet the addict’s needs.
Some of the qualities and characteristics to look for include:
- Providing both drug detox and rehab services, or at least offering referrals for detox if it is not available in-house.
- Being accredited by the Joint Commission to ensure high-quality care.
- Having a physical location that can be verified to ensure that it is not a rehab broker.
- Excellent reviews on Facebook or Google for the facility, the staff and the quality of the treatment.
- The availability of medical staff to the clients in the event of an emergency situation.
Do You Have a Meth Addiction? Find Quality Treatment in Arizona Today
At SpringBoard Recovery, we want people who are suffering with meth addictions to know that they are not alone. So many have lost hope and they need reassurance that recovery is possible. We want to provide that for them.
Are you addicted to meth? If so, and if you would like to talk with us about our drug treatment program in Arizona, please contact us today.