Why Do I Keep Using Meth? Ways to Stay Clean

You’ve gone through recovery, and things are starting to fall back into place. But for one reason or the other, you slip and end up using meth. So, you start over again, only to find yourself in what feels like square one – using meth, yet again.

So, now, you can’t help but wonder why this is happening. Why you keep using meth despite your desire and effort to quit. Well, if it’s any consolation, you are not alone.

Many people who struggle with meth addiction end up relapsing even after rehabilitation. According to the National Institute of Drug Use, 40 to 60% of people in recovery end up relapsing.

After a relapse, you may experience feelings of regret or shame. You may also feel like throwing in the towel and giving into your addiction instead of fighting the desire to use. Depending on how long you’ve been using, you may suffer from meth mouth and this can also worsen your feelings of shame.

While it’s devastating, you should know that relapse doesn’t mean you are a failure. It doesn’t mean the rehab you underwent was unsuccessful or negate your previous efforts to stay clean. But it also doesn’t mean you should take advantage of the situation and continue using.

Why does relapse happen?

Your relapse has to do with neural pathways. A pathway forms when you do something right. A pathway also forms when you do something wrong, like use crystal meth.

Human beings build habits this way, both good and bad. So, the reason you keep using meth is that you’re likely going to slip back into existing neural pathways. Let’s break this down further.

Causes of relapse

Studies show that the initial target of highly addictive drugs like meth is the brain’s reward circuit. The reward circuit registers essential experiences and events and their adaptive value. Then it provides incentives for actions.

This reward process triggers the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, a feel-good hormone that tells the brain to do it again. When used habitually, meth depletes the supply of dopamine and interferes with the feedback between different brain parts that coordinate desires with expectations and priorities.

But these changes are not necessarily the problem. Quitting meth use temporarily can be easy. You can go for days, weeks, months, or even years without meth. What makes permanent recovery challenging is a drug-induced change that creates lasting memories.

Your brain already knows the rewarding experience that comes from drug use. After a period of use, your environment becomes marked with cues or reminders of the reward. This learning is referred to as behavioral conditioning. And since methamphetamine addiction weakens your self-control and ability to make the right decision, you’re likely to keep using even when you know that a reward isn’t coming.

As you’ve learned from support groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholic Anonymous, it’s the first drink that gets you drunk. So, a small dose of crystal meth serves as an effective cue. But places, things, and people, too, can be cues associated with meth.

An animal struggling with substance abuse will slip back to using when it goes back to the cage where it first developed the addiction. For people, triggers could be environment, the sight of paraphernalia, mental health issues, peers and so on.

Withdrawal symptoms are also a common reason many methamphetamine users relapse. Symptoms like anxiety, fatigue, sleepiness, depression, psychosis, meth cravings, etc., may linger on for weeks or months, causing relapse.

Getting back on the road to recovery

Irrespective of how committed you are to lifelong sobriety or how diligently you pursue recovery, there’s a chance of relapse. The National Institutes of Health study notes that about 40-60% relapse within a month or more of treatment. Another 70 -90% will relapse at least once.

But the good news is that the risk diminishes with time. Extended abstinence does predict long-term recovery, according to an eight-year study on nearly 1200 addicts. In fact, if you can make it to five years of sobriety, then your chance of relapse is less than 15%.

Ways to stay clean

Get help from a reputable addiction treatment center

Recovery for meth addiction needs a holistic meth treatment plan that consists of detox, therapy, and counseling. Depending on the circumstances recovery may also include medical advice. Meth is one of the hardest drugs to overcome. But treatment facilities in central Texas exist to help people like you regain control over their lives.

Such facilities will also address underlying issues that cause the relapse. For instance, they may offer family therapy that helps your family members to understand that relapse is not a sign of weakness or lack of morals. They will also offer mental health services to address psychological issues that may cause relapse.

Know the triggers of relapse and avoid them

Understanding the triggers of relapse and having a plan for those triggers are the first steps toward prevention. Triggers include things like:

 

Create new habits

Old habits will most certainly lead you back to addiction. So, you want to come up with new ones that will help you grow into the person you want to become. You can try out a new hobby, take up a new class, exercise, etc. Trying a new activity gives you something to look forward to. It also reduces the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that may lead to relapse.

Like other chronic diseases such as asthma and heart disease, treatment for drug addiction isn’t a cure. It only allows you to counteract the disruptive effects of addiction on your brain and behavior and regain control of your life. But with these tips, you should be able to manage your addiction and relapse problems successfully.

Where Did Meth Come From? A History of Methamphetamine

Today, there are more than 1.6 million Americans who report having abused crystal meth sometime within the past year. Out of that number, roughly one million of them will also state that they suffered from a methamphetamine use disorder within that same year. A substance use disorder, also known as an addiction, is when someone uncontrollably seeks out and uses drugs despite suffering negative life consequences. In the United States alone, roughly 20 million Americans suffer from a substance use disorder of some kind, and meth use takes up quite a big share of that number. Though it has been around for quite some time, the history of methamphetamine, how it was created and how it was first used is not very well-known.

The history of methamphetamine

In 1887, a Romanian chemist by the name of Lazar Edeleanu became the first to synthesize a substance known today as amphetamines. Amphetamines are a synthetic stimulant that is very similar to methamphetamine, in both structure and their associated side effects. However, amphetamines are still legally prescribed today for the treatment of conditions such as ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and narcolepsy. Though discovered in 1887, amphetamine was not clinically used until the 1920’s when Gordon A. Alles resynthesized the drug and used it for the treatment of things like asthma, hay fever, and the common cold.

While amphetamines were first discovered in 1887, the discovery of methamphetamines occurred shortly thereafter. Nagayoshi Nagai first synthesized methamphetamine, a variant of amphetamine, in 1893 in Japan from a chemical that is commonly known as ephedrine. Methamphetamine is much more potent than the previously discovered amphetamine and was used in Japan for the treatment of things like schizophrenia, depression, and Parkinson's disease. However, the widespread use of methamphetamines didn’t become popular until the 1940’s during the second World War.

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During WWII, Temmler, a German pharmaceutical company, marketed and sold unprescribed methamphetamine tablets under the name of Pervitin. It was during this time that German, Japanese, American, and English governments all began giving their military troops methamphetamines in order to help enhance performance and reduce fatigue. Aside from the military use of the drug, people like truck drivers, students, and stay-at-home moms all began using Pervitin for a variety of reasons. Some used the drug as a way to stay awake, lose weight, or simply to feel like they were operating at peak performance. It has also been long-rumored that the Japanese Kamikaze pilots were given high doses of Pervitin before crashing their plane.

The history of methamphetamine use in the post-World War 2 era

By the 1950’s there was still a relative lack of public awareness surrounding the usage of both methamphetamines and amphetamines, so the use of both continued to soar. Both substances were also still mostly legal for the use in over-the-counter drugs. Nasal sprays containing amphetamines were also widely popular among various populations and both substances were still prescribed often for the treatment of conditions like depression, obesity, and narcolepsy. It was during the late 1950’s that an injectable form of methamphetamines first became available.

Due to its increasing popularity and low regulation, outlaw biker gangs began “cooking” meth, which quickly led it to become part of the 1960’s drug culture. The term “crank'' derives from the fact that biker gangs used to hide their stash in their crankshaft. Perhaps also in part due to the creation of injectable IV bags full of methamphetamines, more and more people begin using it for its euphoric effects instead of for the intended medical purposes. The subculture of methamphetamine users grew even stronger because of this, with more and more erratic behavior becoming noticeable among its users. This behavior, known as “tweaking” began to cause some alarm from health experts and governments around the world.

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Around this time, authorities in the United States began to take notice as people began experiencing issues with meth abuse and addiction. It was also becoming increasingly difficult to deny some of the negative side effects associated with the use of these harmful substances. The often noticible side effects of meth abuse include paranoia, delusions, and even total heart failure. It was in 1959 when over-the-counter nasal sprays were first banned by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in America.

With increased Federal regulation came an increase in illegal and dangerous labs, where the illicit manufacturing of methamphetamines began to take place, primarily along the Southern border as ingredients were extremely easy to obtain in places like Mexico. Even though by the 1970's, amphetamine use had been highly regulated and methamphetamines all but outlawed, it was still highly popular among illicit drug users in America. That is why in the early 90’s Federal regulation cracked down tightly on the sale of over-the-counter medications containing chemicals such as ephedrine, a primary ingredient in the illegal manufacturing of meth.

Meth use skyrockets in the US during the 1990s and early 2000s

Despite the best efforts of government regulations, members of the illegal drug trade always find a way to fill the void eventually. Between 1994 and 2004, meth abuse in America soared from just under 2 percent of the adult population to approximately 5 percent – more than doubling in one decade. This prompted even tighter regulations, requiring the verification of a valid ID and that certain products be moved behind the counter. Though meth use has declined over the past decade, in part due to these efforts, it still remains a huge problem that many are facing in our country every day.

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Unfortunately, the war on drugs is a continuing effort that seems to be a vicious cycle with illegal labs continuing to pop up across the country, but that does not mean that there is no hope for those who struggle with an addiction or a substance abuse disorder. Both amphetamines and methamphetamines are highly dangerous and addictive substances that can often be very difficult to get away from, especially without professional help.

Here at More Than Rehab, we understand the power of addiction but we also know what it takes to overcome it. The journey to sobriety can be tough, so let us help guide you and start you on your path to recovery. If you, or a loved one are struggling with any kind of substance use problem, please give us a call any time of the day! You can also chat with us online. We are here to help you, 24/7, 365 days a year. We wish you the best and we hope to hear from you soon!

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Before You Use Meth, Read This First

Meth is a very dangerous and highly addictive drug. It is used by a wide range of different types of people in the United States. However, it is typically more common among old teens or young adults, with the average age of a meth user being around 30 years old, much younger than cocaine and heroin users. This fact may be due to habitual users tending to overdose, or wind up in jail, well before becoming a middle aged adult. Although, there are still many people who are not in their 20’s or 30’s that still abuse meth as well. According to a recent survey conducted in 2017, nearly 1.6 million people reported having used meth at least once within the last year, with around 53% of them stating that they were addicted and roughly around 22% said that they had progressed far enough into their substance abuse disorder or addiction that they began injecting the drug into their veins.

What is methamphetamine, or crystal meth?

Meth, also known by many other names such as crystal meth, methamphetamines, and ice, is usually seen in the form of a clear crystal or a white rock looking substance. Meth is an illegal drug that acts as a central nervous system stimulant. What makes this drug extremely dangerous is that there is no medicinal value so it is only made in illicit, unregulated labs by untrained people who are also highly likely to be drug users themselves. Many harmful chemicals, such as battery acid, drain cleaner, antifreeze, or lantern fuel, are used in this illegal manufacturing process. Overdose with this drug is also extremely likely as the safety and strength of the product go unmonitored and untested for safe human consumption.

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The truth around meth that it is highly toxic becomes even more apparent when you begin looking at some of the physical and mental side effects that are commonly seen among steady meth users. One of these side effects is that meth can cause the person's body temperature to become so high that they either pass out or die, causing what is usually considered an unintended overdose.

Common short term side effects of meth abuse include:

These are just a few of the alarming short term side effects that are common among meth users. The highly toxic effects of meth do not take long to cause negative consequences to the brain and the body. With repeated use, these side effects only begin to worsen.

Meth abuse causes changes to the overall structure and function of the brain.

For instance, prolonged meth use causes damage to the dopamine circuit in the brain. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter most often related to pleasure and is responsible for those feel-good emotions associated with things like eating a piece of chocolate cake, or being intimate with a loved one. Dopamine is associated with reward driven behavior, it causes those feel-good sensations to increase the likelihood that a certain action will be completed again. Over time, with repeated release of the brain chemical known as dopamine, especially in unnatural situations, (such as meth abuse) the receptors become less sensitive. When receptors become less sensitive, this makes it much harder for a person to feel pleasure from natural situations.

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Not only can overuse of meth cause the dopamine receptors in the brain become less sensitive, it also decreases the natural supply of dopamine in the brain. Eventually, this may lead to a permanent dopamine deficiency and has been shown to have the same effects as a condition known as Parkinson’s disease.  Abusing methamphetamine can triple the chance of developing Parkinson’s for some people, it can even increase the chance of developing Parkinson’s up to 5 times for women. This condition affects the body's ability to control its muscle movements.

Unfortunately, these are not the only changes to the brain that occur from long-term meth abuse. Research has shown damage to the areas that affect both memory and emotion. It can also lead to changes in impulse control and the decision making process, diminishing the person's ability to stop certain behaviors. Some of these changes can even be permanent, usually depending on the severity of damage.

Some other physical side effects of meth use include:

There are many other long-term side effects someone may experience with prolonged substance abuse. However, not all of the side effects are related to someone's physical or mental health. An addiction to meth has also been known to cause damage to other areas of people's lives.

Meth abuse can destroy your life.

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Not only does meth destroy your appearance or your health, but it also destroys your life. When someone becomes addicted to meth, that is the only thing that starts to matter. Many people suffer job loss, homelessness, and problems with the law. Close relationships with family, friends, and children get ruined because of an addiction to meth. While meth abuse may destroy these aspects of your life, rehabilitation from a meth addiction is possible.

So, if you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please come get help from us today. You are not alone, many of us have been where you are before so we understand what it takes to get and stay on the road to recovery. We are here to help and we can show you the way! An addiction to meth is certainly not worth losing everything you have.

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What Drugs Cause Scabs or Lesions on the Skin?

Are you concerned that a loved one may be abusing drugs because you have seen what appear to be lesions or scabs on the skin? These types of skin sores just never really seem to go away, or sometimes they even seem to get worse. Unfortunately, with drug and alcohol abuse, scabs and lesions on the skin can be quite common.

Sometimes this is a telltale sign that they are in fact struggling with a substance abuse disorder, especially if it is combined with other out of the ordinary or uncharacteristic behaviors. Scabs or lesions on the skin related to drug use are often caused by a number of factors depending on the different drugs being abused. Several drugs can cause these skin lesions, sores, or scabs. Let’s look at the most common drugs that cause visible skin problems for the addict.

Methamphetamines

Meth, crystal meth, or methamphetamine is perhaps the most well-known drug on the list for causing some very serious issues with the skin. Also commonly referred to as meth sores, the open sores caused from regular meth use are often the result of a number of different psychological and physical side effects that come from regularly using this highly dangerous drug.

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Poor personal hygiene, sweating out toxins, a weakened immune system, and compulsive skin picking usually caused by “meth mites” (common hallucinations about insects or bugs that are either crawling on or in the skin) are all great examples of how using meth causes skin lesions or scabs. Using meth also constricts the blood vessels, which leads to the skin healing at a much slower pace. Meth sores can appear anywhere on the body, even inside of the mouth, a condition also known as meth mouth.

Cocaine

Cocaine is a highly addictive substance that has been known to cause lesions or scabs on the skin, typically depending on how the drug was ingested, like being snorted, injected, or smoked. Here are some of the most common skin related issues from regular cocaine or crack usage:

These are just a few of the most common skin reactions that can occur with cocaine use. Much like other drugs, cocaine is highly toxic and it is often cut, or combined with other dangerous and harmful chemicals.

Heroin

Other drugs that have been known to cause lesions, skin sores, or scabs are heroin, black tar heroin, or other types of opioid substances. All of these drugs are highly dangerous and addictive. Like many other dangerous and harmful substances, opiates cause health issues that are not just related to the skin. However, the most commonly seen effects of heroin on the skin are from users who inject the drug on a regular or somewhat regular basis.

The repeated penetration of the skin while seeking a vein can cause a condition known as venous sclerosis. Venous Sclerosis can lead to permanent scarring, something also known as “track marks”. It can also cause a range of other issues, such as skin infections, cellulitis (a potentially life threatening bacterial skin infection), and skin abscesses. Skin abscesses are commonly seen on people who inject heroin regularly, and, like cellulitis, it can become very serious if left untreated.

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Another cause for concern among heroin users is the process often referred to on the streets as “skin popping”. This is where the drug is directly injected under the skin, or subcutaneously, and sometimes even intramuscularly, instead of into the vein itself. Necrotizing skin lesions commonly occur with this popular practice as finding a vein becomes more difficult. Unfortunately, heroin users are also prone to obsessively picking at their skin, causing the chance of infection to become even greater. As with many others who suffer from addiction, heroin users often stop caring about their personal hygiene. All of these factors combined make the chance of having skin lesions and scabs much higher when using this drug.

Prescription Drugs

Additionally, some prescription medicines, especially when abused, are known to cause skin lesions or rashes. For example, prescription stimulants, like those commonly prescribed for ADD/ADHD, can cause hives, rashes, and hypersensitivity. In most cases, these reactions are considered to be allergic, so not everyone will experience these types of side effects. Other symptoms often associated with an allergic reaction to prescription stimulants are fluid filled pustules that can rupture and scab over, burning, blistering, and peeling. If you have recently taken any prescription stimulants and are experiencing any of these symptoms, please reach out to a medical health professional and get help as soon as possible before the condition worsens.

While these drugs can cause scabs or lesions on the skin, there are plenty of other health risks associated with addiction.

All of these symptoms are potentially very dangerous, so it is always suggested you seek medical care in order to get the help you need. No drug is worth the permanent damage that may be caused to your body or mind from prolonged and consistent drug use. Drug abuse is the cause of a number of other, very serious health risks.

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If you are wanting to get sober but are worried about the detox, then we are here to help. Here At More Than Rehab, we know just how difficult that getting sober can be, as many of us have been there before, and all we want to do is help to make that process easier.

We believe that everybody deserves the chance to have a healthy, sober, and fulfilling life, so we have many different types of treatment programs that are designed to fit your needs. We truly care about the health and well-being of both you and your family. Call us any time of day, 24/7, 365 days of the year and we will be here to answer your call. We would like nothing more than to give you the tools for recovery and put you on the right path!

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What are Tiny Spoons Used for in the Drug World?

Tiny spoons often prove to be a curious find for parents, friends or family members who stumble upon their loved one’s “secret stash” of drug paraphernalia. The internet is littered with questions like: what are these tiny spoons with a bunch of white powder? Or why are the bottoms of all of my spoons black? The simple answer here is drug culture in the United States.

The short answer to these questions is that very small spoons can be placed under the nose for easy, sometimes discreet snorting of drugs through the nasal cavity. Typically, larger, bent metal spoons with burn marks on the bottom is clear evidence that someone has used the spoon to inject drugs via intravenous (IV) needles. We’ll go into more depth on the different types of drug paraphernalia that are commonly used in the culture of the drug world.

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Tiny spoons can be used for snorting a variety of drugs.

Tiny spoons can be used for drugs that can be snorted, like cocaine, meth, ecstasy or even heroin. Come to think of it, even prescription drugs like Xanax, opioids like oxycontin or Adderall can be crushed up and then snorted through the sinuses. People who use drugs often like snorting these substances because the psychoactive effects will begin much faster than when these drugs are ingested in pill form.

While the high might come on quicker from snorting drugs, this usually means the effects will also wear-off sooner. In the case of highly addictive drugs like methamphetamine or cocaine, this could compel the user to immediately seek out more of the substance, creating a vicious cycle which can effectively jump-start a mental or physical addiction to the chemical.

The history of an unlikely piece of drug paraphernalia: The McSpoon

If you really want to find out how old your coke dealer is, ask them if they know what a “McSpoon” is. This item was a staple of McDonald’s restaurants throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. The long plastic stick with a small scoop on one end and the infamous golden arches on the top was used to stir cream and sugar into your coffee. But quickly people in the drug culture figured out this small plastic spoon was a good way to snort cocaine. It was an easy way to measure cocaine as well. It reportedly held exactly 100 milligrams of cocaine. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s the term “McSpoon” was used by dealers as a slang term for 100mg of cocaine.

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In the 1970’s, it is estimated that a whopping 11 percent of the adult population in the United States was using cocaine regularly. In 1971 President Richard M. Nixon began the war on drugs with his declaration that drug use was “public enemy number one”. In 1979, the DEA unveiled its Model Drug Paraphernalia Act to help end the sale of common drug utensils, like pipes, rolling papers and coke spoons. Many critics thought these drug paraphernalia definitions were vague and could include just about anything, given the right circumstances.

Smoke shops and various other vendors in the US were opposed to these laws and one member mocked the vague, broad overreach of the law. As a mockery he said: “This is the best cocaine spoon in town and it’s free with every cup of coffee at McDonald’s”.  One person took this joke completely the wrong way. The president for the National Federation of Parent’s for Drug-Free Youth actually got the president of McDonald’s to agree to remove the spoon from all of their over 4,500 restaurants.

Spoons of all sizes can be used for injecting drugs with needles.

Another baffling find for someone who is unaware are their spoons being burnt black on the bottom, or simply their spoons will begin disappearing from the kitchen utensil drawer. Where did they go? If you happen to find black, burnt marks on your metal spoons, they have likely been used to mix a concoction of heroin, meth or other types of illicit or prescription drugs that can be injected with a hypodermic needle.

Once the crystal form of the drug is mixed with water and heated up, the liquid will be injected directly into the bloodstream with an IV needle. You may happen to find cotton balls, or Q-Tips, which are used to filter the concoction before injecting. Often a belt, or rubber hosing could be found along with needles and spoons.

Injecting drugs is incredibly detrimental to a person’s health and safety. Using needles to do drugs is arguably the most dangerous method of using drugs. Hypodermic needles can also lead to a full-fledged addiction at a rapid pace. Since the drug is injected directly into the bloodstream, the effects of the drug kick-in nearly instantaneously. This instant high could lead to a physical dependence and a psychological addiction to the substance before the user even realizes it. Often they won’t notice the addiction until they stop or try to quit using.

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Withdrawal symptoms for all of the drugs people use with tiny spoons are extreme and could be dangerous. Meth, cocaine, heroin and all of the other drugs discussed in this article are highly addictive and in many cases they can be deadly.

If you suspect a loved one is using drugs and ultimately risking their lives for a substance you might want to seek help, before you confront them on the issue. If you feel that the time to confront them about their drug use is right away, please help them understand that help is available.

Addiction does not automatically mean that someone is a bad person.

For many family members, co-workers or close friends, it may difficult to fully understand what they are going through. Attaching a negative stigma or personal judgement on someone who is struggling with substance abuse can ultimately discourage their willingness to change. Many addicts do not seek help for their substance use because they fear the negative judgement from their family, friends or the authorities.

Please call us today if you, or someone you love needs help. We are available 24/7 to take your private, confidential call.

We’re here for you:

(888) 249-2191

What Drugs Produce the Worst Withdrawal Symptoms?

Addiction is a disease of the brain marked by the inability to stop using drugs or alcohol despite the user having experienced severe negative consequences throughout their lives. Many addicts who are still struggling with an active addiction will stop at nothing to continue getting high and consequences like losing their job, problems with relationships, homelessness or extreme poverty are directly related to their substance abuse disorders. There are many reasons why addiction is considered a disease, one of them being that the habitual use of drugs and alcohol chemically alters the structure of the brain. Drugs and alcohol can change the way people handle stressful situations and it can impact the decision making process of a person suffering from this affliction.

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Drugs and alcohol work on the same part of the brain known as the reward center, causing an increase in the release of chemicals like dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for pleasurable feelings that can occur after naturally rewarding experiences like eating a good meal or having sex. Drugs and alcohol can induce these same pleasurable feelings but without the use of a natural reward. The repeated use of drugs and alcohol begins to create new pathways in the brain, causing the user to associate the response as a pleasurable experience, making the brain depend on the extra release of these chemicals. Once the addiction has taken hold, the users tolerance starts to increase as the body forms a chemical dependency, needing more and more of the same substance in order to achieve the same feeling.

When an addict is unable to maintain the same level of usage or tries to quit using drugs or alcohol altogether, they may begin to suffer from what are known as withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms occur when a person who routinely abuses drugs or alcohol suddenly stops. Since drugs and alcohol suppress some of the chemicals naturally produced in the brain while increasing the release of others, there is often a surge of emotions and physical symptoms when the body is no longer receiving the chemical that has now altered its structure. The first stage of withdrawal is known as the acute stage where most of the physical symptoms occur, usually lasting around a few weeks. The second stage of withdrawal is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), since the brain's structure is slowly returning to normal, this is where most of the emotional and psychological dependence symptoms occur.

Due to the dependency on these chemicals, withdrawal symptoms can become very severe, and a medical detox is often required. Most drugs have some withdrawal symptoms associated with them once the user has become addicted but some are more dangerous than others.

Alcohol

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Alcohol can cause severe withdrawal symptoms for both men and women.

Alcohol has a depressive effect on the system, slowing down brain function and changing the way nerves send messages back and forth. When a body becomes adjusted to having alcohol in its system, it has to fight even harder in order to maintain a wakened state. When the user stops drinking alcohol,  the body remains in this heightened state, therefore creating the withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include;

Delirium tremens (DT) are more severe withdrawal symptoms that will affect about 5% of people when withdrawing from alcohol, these include delusions and hallucinations. The worst of these symptoms will occur around 12 hours after taking the last drink while seizures can last for around 2 days. Some of these medical conditions can even cause death while attempting to detox from alcohol.

Heroin

Heroin is a highly addictive opiod that is converted to morphine in the body when used. Heroin, or other opioids like fentanyl or oxycodone, are difficult drugs to quit as the withdrawal symptoms often cause the user to become violently ill, most addicts continue getting high in order to avoid getting sick. Some of the symptoms associated with heroin withdrawal include;

Symptoms from heroin withdrawal can begin anywhere from 6-12 hours of quitting and can last for about a week. Death has been known to occur during detox from heroin or other opioids when other medical issues are present.

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Methamphetamines

Methamphetamines, meth, or crystal meth is a drug with powerful stimulating effects. The effects of meth wear off quickly, causing the user to need more in order to stay high. With increased tolerance, comes withdrawal symptoms, as the body begins to depend on these substances. Symptoms of withdrawal from meth can include;

When a person stops using meth, there is often a “crash” associated with coming down. This can begin around 1-2 days after the person has stopped using and typically reaches its peak around 5 days. Depression is also a trademark of methamphetamine withdrawal.

Quitting “cold turkey” (quitting drugs or alcohol suddenly with no medical or professional help) can be very dangerous. The addiction to drugs or alcohol has chemically altered the way the brain operates and can have very serious side effects when a person suddenly stops using them. Since addiction is a disease with many symptoms, affecting each person in a unique way, it is always suggested that anyone who has formed a chemical dependency to drugs or alcohol seek professional help in order to determine whether a medical detox is necessary.

An addiction treatment center with a medical detox program will allow the user to safely manage and alleviate the heavy detox symptoms that may be experienced when first quitting drugs or alcohol. Many who have tried quitting “cold turkey” on their own have had little to no success as they are improperly managing their symptoms. The purpose of a medical detox is to get the person safely through the acute withdrawal stage, where most of the physical symptoms occur. Maintaining sobriety long term in the post-acute withdrawal stage will require ongoing effort as the psychological symptoms, like depression and learning how to cope without the use of drugs or alcohol, begin to surface. Many inpatient and outpatient drug rehabilitation programs offer the essential tools and education needed in order to lead a life of sobriety.

If you or someone you know are struggling with managing their drug cravings and the withdrawal symptoms associated with the addiction, we are here for you. Even if  you or your loved one are just looking for a place to start, then we are here to help steer you down the right path! Give us a call anytime. We are here for you 24/7:

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Drug Trafficking in Texas: Being Aware of How to Get Help

Drug use has long been a problem in the United States and someone who wants to abuse them typically has little to no problem with finding them. Recently, we have seen a spike in opioid overdose deaths, this can be linked to the prescription painkiller epidemic and the illegal manufacturing and sale of fentanyl, a high strength opioid used to cut heroin that is roughly 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is used by drug cartels to increase profits, with little to no care about who might be consuming these drugs containing the highly potent substance. In the year of 2015 alone, there was a 50 percent increase in the number of people found guilty for trafficking drugs related to heroin. With drug abuse still on the rise, drug detection agencies have increased their efforts to crack down on drug trafficking. Unfortunately though, drug cartels operate like a business, and when one trade line is cut off they will always find new and ingenious ways of avoiding law detection.

Drug trafficking is a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and sale of substances that are subject to drug prohibition laws such as marijauna, cocaine, methamphetamines, and heroin. For example, someone who is found manufacturing methamphetamines in his basement and later caught selling it to people on the street is also guilty of drug trafficking. Drug trafficking extends to any part of the illegal manufacturing process or distribution and sale of drugs that have been determined illegal and unsafe for the population by governing officials and law enforcement agencies.

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Types of Drugs Being Trafficked

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has found that Mexican drug cartels are still the biggest threat to America when it comes to the illegal manufacture or delivery of these harmful substances. Mexican drug cartels control a major share of the smuggling and distribution of drugs within the United States. According to the DEA’s drug threat assessment, there are six main Mexican drug cartels that are contributing to this growing problem in the United States. They are known as the Sinaloa, Jalisco New Generation, Jaurez, Gulf, Los Zetas, and the Beltran-Leyva Organization. The DEA has discovered that the areas mainly affected by the illegal drug trade are ones that lie closer to the Mexican border.

 

Top Districts in the US for Drug Trafficking

  1. Western District of Texas
  2. Southern District of Texas
  3. District of Arizona
  4. Southern District of California
  5. District of New Mexico

Due to its close proximity with Mexico, the state of Texas is the most heavily affected region. These Mexican drug cartels smuggle their drugs across the border and begin distributing them throughout the state. Interestingly enough though, marijuana is the drug with the highest conviction rate in Texas, due to the influx of Mexican weed that is coming across the border. Texas is also has the fourth highest rate per capita for drug trafficking sentences with an average sentence lasting around 77 months (about 6 ½ years).

In response to this growing crisis, Texas government officials enacted what is known today as the Texas Controlled Substances Act. It defines drug trafficking as the manufacturing or delivery of controlled substances. In the state of Texas, being convicted for trafficking drugs is a felony and considered a very serious crime.

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Texas Controlled Substances Act

In Texas, you can commit three different actions that will be treated as a drug trafficking criminal offense.

  1. Transporting- When an individual knowingly transports drugs in a vehicle from one location to another. Any physical movement of drugs from one place to another is considered transporting.
  2. Distribution-  When an individual knowingly distributes drugs from one person to another. Transferring drugs in any way to another individual is considered distribution, so if someone is selling drugs out of their apartment they can and will be prosecuted for drug trafficking.
  3. Possessing with Intent to Distribute- When an individual knowingly possesses drugs with the intent to distribute them to at least one other person. So if someone is found with a stash of drugs and has not yet distributed them, but had every intention to do so, this is also considered drug trafficking.

Under the Texas Controlled Substances Act, there are 5 different penalty groups for the severity of the crime based upon the amount of drugs found.

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Drug trafficking is taken very seriously in states like Texas as the problem is more apparent. Knowing what to look for can help law enforcement agencies keep the streets safer for yourself and others. Some things to pay attention to are:

A new tenant willing to pay months in advance with cash

These are just a few of the indicators that someone could be taking part in drug trafficking near you. If you suspect someone of trafficking drugs, do not handle the situation on your own as they can be highly dangerous. If you see something, say something, get help by calling your local law enforcement. No tip is ever considered to be too minor.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a dependency on drugs,

please call us today and get help from a rehabilitation specialist.

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How Much Does Crystal Meth Cost in Texas?

When looking at the average price of crystal meth, the street value can vary from city to city, state to state, region to region. Due to our close proximity to the source of 90 percent of the meth available in the United States, the price of meth is typically lower in Texas, than in many other parts of the country. Most of the methamphetamine available in the United States comes across the southern border with Mexico. Due to government crackdowns in the early and mid 2000’s, much of the domestic manufacturing of meth dried-up. This brought a booming business opportunity to Mexican drug cartels and now they are flooding communities in Texas and the US with cheap, highly potent crystal meth.

But how much does meth cost? An addiction to crystal meth will cost as much as you are willing to give. Your home, your family, your job, your friends, your car, your health, even your life. Crystal meth addiction can be very expensive, not just for your pocket book, but a long-term addiction to meth can literally cost you your livelihood and your life.

According to the RAND Corporation, methamphetamine and amphetamine abuse costs the United States roughly $23.4 billion dollars per year. This data was compiled to develop consistent analysis of the many casual associations for the multitude of different harms associated with this deadly drug. Due to the nature of the data available (the most recent year being 2005) researchers created a range of estimates for the total societal cost of methamphetamine abuse in the United States:

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Taking all of these factors into account, crystal meth addiction costs much more than would be readily imaginable. Accidental drug overdose death, lost productivity in the workforce, meth addiction rehabilitation services, criminal justice system costs, child endangerment and production hazards from meth labs (chemical poisoning, explosions, property damage, etcetera) all create enormous costs associated with this devastating drug.

Crystal meth is not only highly addictive, it is also the leading cause of drug overdose death in Texas.

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An addiction to crystal meth can overtake your entire life. While rehab can be difficult, it is worth it.

Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that has been shown to release up to four times as much dopamine in the brain as cocaine. Because it is much cheaper than even crack cocaine, meth has become a very popular drug throughout many different segments of the population. It’s not just in the big cities, like Houston, Dallas or San Antonio. Meth is also a major problem for rural communities across Texas and the nation as a whole.

Due to the relative costs of meth, compared with other stimulants like cocaine, or even Adderall, meth is growing in popularity, regardless of the multiple dangers associated with its use. Even many street drug users have switched from crack cocaine to crystal meth, because it is much cheaper and the high typically lasts much longer. Even though the addict may think they are saving money by switching to methamphetamine, yet a typical meth addict can spend anywhere from $10,000, up to $40,000 per year on acquiring the drug according to conservative estimates. Some estimates state that a person who has developed a long-term addiction can spend up to $74,000 a year on their meth habit.

It’s not just financial costs that make methamphetamine a major problem for many Texas residents. Stimulants, like crystal meth kill more Texans every year than any other type of drug. Meth kills even more people than prescription and illicit opioids do. One of the major reasons for this is that there aren’t any life-saving medications for a meth overdose, like there are for other drugs. For instance, in the case of an opioid overdose, first responders and emergency personnel have the drug Narcan (naloxone) at their disposal. This is an opioid antagonist, that can block the brain’s opioid receptors and essentially reverse the affects of an opioid overdose.

For stimulants like methamphetamine, there is no overdose-reversing drug available. First responders often have trouble with meth overdoses, because many times the subject may be unconscious. This makes it hard for the emergency technicians to determine what is happening to the person. Often with a meth overdose, the person had been using multiple substances so it makes it difficult to determine the best approach to emergency medical care. All of these factors contribute to the increase of meth-related overdose deaths in Texas.

Treatment for meth addiction is available. Recovery is possible.

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Treating an addiction to methamphetamine is never an easy task. While a lot of focus has been on the opioid epidemic, meth use is silently roaring back into popularity all across American communities. Where federal funding has been pouring out into these communities to help fight the ongoing opioid crisis, little resources are made available to fight the scourge of methamphetamine abuse that is sweeping the nation.

This is unfortunate as the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says that methamphetamine is currently the number one threat to Houston and the rest of the state. The number of overdose deaths, emergency room visits, treatment admissions and law enforcement seizures are all much higher than they are for heroin, which is the number two threat to Texas residents.

This crisis is compounded by the fact that there is no FDA-approved medication currently available to treat a methamphetamine addiction. Researchers at the University of Texas are currently working on a clinical trial for a two-medication treatment that is designed to block the euphoric affects of crystal meth and to reduce the painful symptoms associated with meth withdrawal.

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It's never easy to quit using drugs, especially crystal meth. Addiction Recovery is possible however, with the right help.

The withdrawal symptoms are a major reason many who struggle with an addiction to meth are afraid to seek treatment. The crash that comes with stopping the use of the drug can be seemingly unbearable. Lethargy, massive mood swings and depression are all very extreme in the case of a meth withdrawal. Sometimes the patient can become violently ill. The fear of the crash is why many people continue their use, even when they really, really want to quit.

If you or a loved one is experiencing an addiction to methamphetamine, you should know that the best time to quit is right now. The longer a meth addiction goes untreated, the more likely severe medical issues can take place. These dangers include accidental overdose death. 715 people in Texas died from an overdose on methamphetamine in 2017 and 320 sought emergency medical attention. There’s no reason this could be yourself or your loved one someday if the addiction continues.

Please give us a call today. At More Than Rehab, we offer a full-spectrum of services to not only help you overcome your addiction, but to help you rebuild your life. Our social model of addiction recovery was designed to help you prepare yourself to live a lifetime of sobriety, long after you leave our drug rehabilitation program. We know how much damage can be done with a long-term binge on crystal meth. Our experienced, compassionate staff is here to help you in every way possible, beginning with a full medical detox. Don’t wait another day, call us right away. We are available 24/7 to help you when you’re ready.

(888) 249-2191

Crystal Meth is Making a Worrisome Comeback in Texas

While the news headlines are dominated by the opioid epidemic ravaging the United States, crystal meth is making a relatively silent, but deadly return. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the rate of overdose deaths for methamphetamine more than tripled from 2011 to 2016 and that number keeps growing to this day. This is partly due to the increase of cheap, highly potent methamphetamine coming over the US/Mexico border. With the national attention and focus on opioids by public health officials, politicians and government agencies, meth has quietly made a comeback in the US. This likely will not change course, without the proper resources and greater public awareness of the nation’s problems associated with crystal meth.

When drug overdoses began to take more American lives each year than gun violence or car accidents, the attention (and funding) from federal, state and local governments was largely focused on prescription and illicit opioids. The good news is that these efforts may actually be working.

meth-addiction-treatment-San-Antonio-Central-Texas

New provisional CDC data shows that drug overdose deaths fell significantly in 2018. This is the first decrease in decades. From the data, it appears that government efforts to prevent doctors from over-prescribing, while making it easier for first-responders to carry naloxone (a life-saving opioid-antagonist) undoubtedly have helped make a real difference in the fight to curb drug overdose deaths.

With prescription painkiller abuse on the decline, drug overdose deaths from crystal meth and fentanyl are the new problem in the United States.

Unlike illicit and prescription opiates, methamphetamine addiction does not have any FDA-approved medications to assist in treatment and rehabilitation efforts. Drugs like buprenorphine, or Suboxone are available to help ease the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. These evidence-based, medication-assisted treatments (MAT) can also help reduce the likelihood for relapse later in recovery. By blocking opioid receptors in the brain, MATs are valuable tools for addiction treatment programs. These medications have shown a verifiable success rate in patients who are struggling with an addiction to opiates.

Meth on the other hand, can cause equally painful and severe withdrawal symptoms. Currently there are no medications available to ease the withdrawal symptoms associated with a physical or psychological chemical dependency to methamphetamine. Detox and treatment for an addiction to methamphetamine can therefore be quite difficult for most patients.

Another problem with the relative lack of effective treatment options for people who become addicted to meth, the ease of access to meth is currently at an all time high. In the 1990’s and early 2000’s we witnessed a major crackdown on illegal meth labs operating within the United States. Meth labs were quite prevalent in Texas, especially in the Houston and San Antonio areas. These ranged from very small operations in an RV in the desert or in someone’s garage, to giant meth super labs in warehouses. Once the Federal Government began imposing stricter regulations on the sale and availability of pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), meth manufacturing labs pretty much became extinct in the US.

These days, the major Mexican drug cartels supply most of the crystal meth that is found in American cities and rural areas. This meth is much cheaper and more potent than ever before. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports that the current price of meth is the lowest they’ve seen in years. The Mexican drug cartels, with new manufacturing techniques are also producing meth that’s more than 90 percent pure. This highly-potent crystal meth is creating an entirely new generation of addicts across the nation, at a level of epidemic proportions.

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For comparison, in 2017, 813 people died from an overdose on crystal meth, while 591 died from a heroin overdose in Texas.

One of the major complications with a substance use disorder is that the patient can be using multiple substances at any given time. Emergency responders have a difficult time with drug overdoses, because while the patient may be unconscious they have no idea how to treat the overdose. Many people who use crystal meth, are also using other substances as well. Some end up using methamphetamine in the morning and opioids at night, while trying to balance a ‘normal’ lifestyle through the use of various different drugs.

Many of the fatal overdose deaths involving methamphetamine can also be partially blamed on opioids. The extremely dangerous synthetic opiate, fentanyl has been frequently found in different batches of methamphetamine all over the country. This contamination may be intentional, or it may be the result of drug labs that produce and package different substances, where cross-contamination of different drugs may be entirely by accident.

What are the different drug rehab options for someone who is addicted to crystal meth?

The addiction treatment specialists at More Than Rehab have helped people all types of people, many of whom are struggling with an addiction to multiple substances. Our comprehensive drug rehabilitation program can help people with any type of addiction, while we can even address the underlying causes of substance abuse. We see the addiction is often just a symptom of another deeply-rooted mental health issue. This is called a dual-diagnosis and our staff is well-equipped to help people who exhibit both a substance use disorder, along with an underlying mental health issue.

Our approach to meth addiction treatment focuses on making the whole person healthy, mentally, physically and spiritually. Often an addiction is merely a symptom of unresolved trauma that has led the patient to self-medicate, while they attempt to drown-out their sorrows. Since no medication assisted treatment exists specifically to treat a meth addiction, our facility uses a robust combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), group therapy, contingency management and relapse prevention. A variety of other treatment techniques could be used in conjunction with these, depending on the patient’s own unique, individual needs.

If you, a family member, friend or loved one are struggling with any type of drug addiction, please give us a call as soon as possible. The longer you wait to get substance abuse treatment, the harder it can be to quit. Most people who die as a result of complications from meth abuse are from a brain hemorrhage, seizure, or a heart attack. This is especially true for older addicts, as their bodies are no longer equipped to handle a long-term episode of substance abuse.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been using, or how much you have used in the past. More Than Rehab can help addiction at any level of severity. If this has been a wake-up call for either yourself, or your family, or friends, please talk to someone about the problem as soon as possible. Addiction won’t go away by itself. When you’re ready to change your life for the better, give us a call. We are available 24/7 to help you when you need it.

888-249-2191

Why is Meth so Hard to Quit?

Methamphetamine, speed, ice, or crystal meth is hard to quit simply because it is one of the most addictive drugs known to exist. In the 1990’s and early 2000’s methamphetamine was a major problem in Texas and across the whole nation because the ingredients were relatively easy to obtain at your local, street corner drug stores. The availability of ephedrine and other cold medications used to manufacture meth was at a high point. Then, between 2005-2006, the United States Federal Government began regulating the cold medicines used to manufacture meth. This created a decrease in meth production, coupled with a decrease in social indicators of misuse and abuse for the drug.

This decline in drug abuse indicators for meth continued until fairly recently. Methamphetamine has made quite the comeback, especially in southern and western states, partially due to the influence of the Mexican drug cartels. This new methamphetamine epidemic has been overshadowed by the constant media headlines of the opioid epidemic. While many politicians, governing agencies and the news media are focused on heroin and prescription pain killer overdose deaths, meth is silently killing thousands of Americans every year. Sadly, it appears only to be getting worse.

Methamphetamine is incredibly addictive, which makes meth hard to quit.

With the US crackdown on meth labs in the early 2000’s, we have a new precursor to methamphetamine manufacture known as phenyl-2-propanoe (P2P). This is what the Mexican drug cartels use in meth production that makes their versions so much more potent. The increase in meth potency from south of the border also makes the substance much, much more addictive. The intoxicating effects of Mexican meth is far greater that what we saw just a decade ago coming from American meth labs. The potency alone contributes to substance abuse and addiction at a far higher rate than we’ve seen in the past.

In Houston, Texas, the presence of methamphetamine is at an all time high, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Meth lab seizures in Texas are virtually non-existent, however as the majority of the drug seizures in the United States can be traced back to Mexico. Meth from Mexico is typically transported to the US in liquid form. The liquid methamphetamine is smuggled into the US in modified gas tanks. This liquid meth is then converted into its typical crystal form at conversion labs here in the US. This is commonly a much more potent form of the drug than we’ve seen in the past. Lab testing in 2007 showed an average meth purity level of 39 percent. Today, meth found on the streets in the US typically tests around a level of 93 percent purity.

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The greater availability and increased potency of meth, means more abuse and more drug overdoses.

Stimulant overdoses from cocaine and meth are the leading cause of drug overdose deaths in the state of Texas. Fentanyl overdose deaths are also spiking currently and many attribute this to the increase in stimulant overdoses. This is somewhat ironic, as fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, which is quite the opposite of a stimulant. However, drug dealers in Texas will order the drug from China and mix it in with their supply of cocaine, methamphetamine or counterfeit prescription pills. No one is completely certain as to why drug dealers mix fentanyl with drugs that are supposed to have the exact opposite effect, but it may be to increase the perceived potency of their drugs, or it might even be entirely accidental. Some drug labs or pill mills (which Houston is notoriously known for), may manufacture or cut different drugs with the same lab equipment, which can lead to unintentional cross-contamination of drugs. Fentanyl is so deadly that just a dose the size of 3 grains of salt is enough to kill an average human being.

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Many who abuse methamphetamine are also known to use other substances as well. The Chicago Tribune recently ran a story about dual addiction, titled: “Meth in the morning, heroin at night”. Across the nation, meth use is on the rise and many experts are saying the opioid epidemic has given crystal meth a resurgence. Opioid users who admit to using meth as well has gone up from 19% in 2011 to 34% in 2018. This evidence suggests that as doctors began to cut back on writing prescriptions for opioids, that many users began to seek street drugs like meth and heroin.

For others, methamphetamine and opioids can offer a type of synergistic high. The two types of drugs in combination can sort of balance each other out, making it seem that the user is able to function normally. In the past, the term “speedball” (which was a mix of heroin and cocaine) was used to describe the balancing of two, seemingly opposite drugs. This combination has been deadly, killing many people, including notable celebrities such as: John Belushi, Chris Farley, Ken Caminiti, Mitch Hedberg, Chris Kelly and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

In theory, the meth combats the opioid’s drowsiness, while the opioid balances out the erratic, spastic “tweakiness” of the methamphetamine. Many people who abuse any type of drug end up “chasing the dragon” trying to feel “normal” again. For some people, their “normal” is constantly changing. This happens as their body’s tolerance to the drugs they’re using fluctuates, or the potency or types of drugs they are currently using can change rapidly as well. This is a dangerous balancing act, one that has led many people to dangerous and deadly consequences.

Meth is a drug that is very hard to quit. The crisis at the US-Mexico border has helped create a meth-overdose epidemic.                  

While the opioid crisis appears to be slowing-down, a new meth-fueled crisis is poised to take its place. It is estimated that 774,000 Americans used methamphetamine in 2017. When US lawmakers cracked-down on the manufacture of meth in the mid-2000’s, it worked. That is, until the Mexican drug cartels filled-in the gap. Now meth is available in virtually every community across the United States. While it is extremely important to keep focusing efforts on combating the opioid epidemic, we should be looking at ways to help people who need treatment for an addiction. This act alone would cut down on the demand for these dangerous drugs, which is the first step towards truly combating the problem.

If you or someone you know needs help with a substance abuse problem, please don’t hesitate to call us at More Than Rehab. We are available 24/7 to help or your loved one create the foundation to live a better life. We offer the best in evidence-based addiction treatment in the greater Houston area. Please don’t wait any longer, call us right away:

(888) 249-2191