The Epidemic Expands: From Opioids to Meth

Somewhere in the range of 115 Americans die each day because of the opioid epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And now the epidemic is moving to what some say is a significantly more dangerous drug—at least in places like Ohio, Texas, Montana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Iowa and South Dakota.

That drug is meth.

Meth is short for methamphetamine. It’s a very addictive, powerful stimulant that, at one time, was created in makeshift meth labs across America. Presently, it’s generally coming across the border from Mexico.

It kills more gradually than heroin or opioids, yet it changes lives just as fast.

Here’s how Kristin Korpela, a social worker in Wisconsin explained it in an NBC News story: “Meth makes you forget that you ever had children.”

The Emerging Meth Crisis

What’s occurring, according to some specialists, is that heroin and painkiller users are turning to meth.

It all started in 2006 when the U.S. government took action against meth labs by setting stricter regulations on the over-the-counter cold medications used to cook meth, creating a void that was quickly filled by Mexican superlabs. As meth flooded the market, prices fell. By 2014, the estimated number of meth users was up to 569,000 from a low of 314,000 in 2008, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

What does that have to do with opioid users? Authorities have documented heroin users turning to meth because there’s less chance of an overdose.

Yet, that is not by any means the only reason. Specialists have likewise reported a disturbing new pattern among heroin and painkiller users who are trying to break their addictions by taking daily Vivitrol injections. While Vivitrol hinders the euphoric effects of opioids, it has no impact on stimulants. The outcome is that Vivitrol users are still desperate to get high and are turning to meth.

That is precisely what’s going on in Vinton County, Ohio, which was the focal point of an ongoing NPR story. Also, when you combine Vivitrol and meth, the results are paranoia, hallucinations and other symptoms that look like schizophrenia.

But meth is powerful enough all on its own to lead many in Vinton County to worry. NPR asked Amanda Lee, a local rehab counselor, which addiction she thought was more dangerous—opioids or meth.

“Methamphetamines scare me more than opiates ever did,” Lee responded.

Hope and Healing at Moonlight Mountain Recovery

Moonlight Mountain Recovery, located in Pocatello, ID, specializes in treating addictions to prescription painkillers, heroin, and methamphetamines.

When you walk through our doors, our first goal is to make you feel safe and comfortable. You’re then assigned your own master’s level therapist who will work with you to come up with a plan for rehab—and to rebuild your life.

One-on-one and group therapy sessions will help you heal emotionally, while chef-prepared meals and fitness activities help heal your body. Meanwhile, you’ll be staying in a clean and cozy setting that feels like home, with staff that treats you like family. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the prescription painkillers, heroin and meth treatment programs at Moonlight Mountain Recovery.

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