On this date 11 years ago former President George W. Bush signed the proclamation declaring the First National Methamphetamine Awareness Day, November 30th 2006. When Bush signed this proclamation our country was in a downward spiral with more and more users each month. Followed by more overdoses than ever before. In 2006 an estimated 1.2 million people were using the illicit drug, of those 1.2 million people nearly 440,000 of those used just one month prior to the survey. Let’s put that number into perspective. 1.2 million people is greater than the population of Rhode Island or Montana which stand at the 43rd and 44th most populated states. In addition to how many users there were, 103,000 people were sent to emergency departments nationwide during 2006 (A quarter of the population of Wyoming) from methamphetamine related injuries.
The goals of our nation’s November 30th Anti-Meth abuse efforts include the following; Educating current users about programs available to get help, Sending a prevention message to potential users, and Educate the public about the effects of Methamphetamine abuse.
Programs Available Right Here in Routt County
If you know anyone who has ever suffered with addiction it is a life altering experience. (Not only for the user but often times the family and loved ones suffer almost as much) The once fun loving soul you knew who enjoyed being outside now no longer wants to leave their home. Living their days in the dark, Alone. Meth is extremely addictive causing other needs and desires to fall behind the need to chase a high. You may notice a loved one skip out on food, sleep, social interactions or job responsibilities as the drug takes hold.
If you start noticing any of these changes you should be ready to step in and do whatever it takes to help this person including but not limited to sending them to a treatment center. Locally we have a center named The Foundry. They vow, “to provide a comprehensive, whole body treatment program that encourages each to seek their own values and beliefs through innovative and evidence-based treatment modalities.”
If you are like me you want to do everything in your power to keep your loved ones away from illicit drugs, especially Methamphetamine which is known to hook people faster than nearly any other drug. With the highly addictive nature of this drug, the potential for addiction, and extremely damaging consequences with as little as a one-time use, it is vital to know how to prevent meth use. Below we will go over a basic guideline of steps you can take to prevent meth use.
- Learn the Facts about Methamphetamine- Information is available online and self-educating yourself will help you stay safe
- Share the Facts with your Family and Friends- Share what you learn with those whom you care about so that you can help keep them safe too.
- Speak Up!- If someone you know is going to try meth, encourage them to learn the facts first! Do not keep it a secret, help them seek help before the addiction starts.
- Set Goals- Set goals for yourself, both short-term and long-term, and work towards achieving them. Bored and aimless wandering in life can open the door to drug use.
- Choose Drug-Free Friends- Peer pressure to use drugs is known to be a factor in drug use. Recognize it for what it is, and make the choice to remain drug-free.
- Preserve your health- Feeling unwell of experiencing unhandled physical pain can open the door to drug use. If you are in less-than-optimum physical condition, get help from a practitioner who specializes in a holistic, natural approach to wellness and lifestyle.
- Participate in Athletic Activities or just Participate in LIFE!- Joining a sports team can be a great way to make friends and stay fit. If your not one of those people don’t give up hope! Find a group of people with the same interests as you whether it be music, computer sciences or entrepreneurship get involved with a group.
- Help Others- there are many local and community groups that would welcome your help. Helping others gives a sense of personal fulfilment that is never found in a chemical substance!
Set your sights on creating a life you want to live and dedicate yourself to accomplishing it without dependence on drugs or alcohol.
Effects of Methamphetamines on your Overall Health
Immediate effects from swallowing, snorting, smoking or injecting the drug can cause many short term problems. Problems can include shaking hands, teeth grinding, dry mouth, jaw clenching, decreased appetite, paranoia and profuse sweating. Long term use of the drug can have detrimental effects on your health causing hallucinations, tooth decay, memory loss, extreme weight loss, as well as kidney and liver damage. (To name ONLY a few.)
Methamphetamine and your Oral Health
As mentioned above immediate effects of meth can include; Dry mouth, Teeth Grinding, Jaw clenching, and vomiting which all equal tooth decay. You could be a meth head with the best oral hygiene program and that will not save your teeth! Which is very important to know and understand! Frequent grinding and Jaw clenching can remove the enamel from your teeth and in more severe cases expose the underlying layer of dentin. This can lead to sensitivity and tooth decay. Dry mouth leads to tooth decay as saliva in our mouths help wash away food debris and reduce plaque buildup.
Awareness Brings Solutions
Learning more about methamphetamine and raising awareness of it, we can work to prevent more people from using this drug. The best thing you can do is be open about it. If you see a loved one experiencing a problem say something! Parents who are concerned about drug use in their school, neighborhood, or community should talk to a school administrator or community leader about the problem and what is being done about it. Parents, schools, and communities should work together to reduce or prevent the use of meth among all members of the community.
Links for a Meth-Free-America
Call 800-481-9412 TO SPEAK WITH AN ALCOHOL OR DRUG ABUSE COUNSELOR