Methand the Brain
Themechanism of action of methamphetamine is that it prevents thereuptake of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine leading toincreased levels of these neurotransmitters (Fast et al., 2014).Also, the drug through reverse transport releases these threechemicals leading to higher concentrations. Cocaine, on the otherhand, works by stopping the addition of serotonin, dopamine, andnorepinephrine regardless of whether the neurotransmitter ispresynaptic or postsynaptic (Fast et al., 2014). Cocaine alsoincreases the levels of glutamate in the first few hours of itsintake, but it depletes glutamate with long term use. Unlikemethamphetamine, cocaine works against the sodium channels in cellsand can cause irregular heartbeats (Fast et al., 2014).
Thereis a methamphetamine epidemic in the country because the number ofpeople that abuse the drug continues to increase. Since it was firstsynthesized in the 19thcentury, more changes have been made to the drug including thecurrent synthetic versions such as MDMA and MDA (Rommel et al.,2016). These rising numbers are a sign that the drug is highlyaddictive and proper treatment should be provided. Another clear signthat methamphetamine is a big problem is that there are more arrestsof people that have been found synthesizing the drug in their homes.These arrests and the fact that the illegal drug business continuesto make more money shows that the market for the drug is expanding(Rommel et al., 2016).
Thereason why methamphetamine users are increasing in an area whilecrack grows in popularity in different areas is due to differences inthe economic status. Crack is less potent than meth because itseffects last for only a few hours. Crack is, therefore, cheaper thanmeth and users that come from low income communities prefer it as aneasier option for getting high (Fast et al., 2014). Synthesis ofmethamphetamine involves more complex processes and the use ofexpensive equipment. Crystal meth costs more due to such factors andalso it has a stronger potency than crack. The effects ofmethamphetamine can last for almost 15 hours. The drug is preferredby people from the middle income communities that have no financialconstraints (Fast et al., 2014). An added reason for the differencein popularity of the two drugs is that cartels that control thesupply may push either crack or meth into an area to expand theirmarket (Rommel et al., 2016). Many crack addicts once they discoverthe rush of meth, they usually end up quitting crack for meth.
Methamphetamineis commonly abused by young people especially those that are incollege and the ones that have recently graduated. The meth isconsidered a party drug and most social events always have the drugsold in secret. Many nightclubs that are frequented by young peopleusually have several dealers within the premises that look for aready market (Fast et al., 2014). A trend has also begun where thesedrugs find their way into high schools. More high school students arebeing exposed to methamphetamine at a young age. Some users begintaking the drug from their teenage years (Rommel et al., 2016). Ifthe current tendency continues, the use of methamphetamine forrecreational purposes will continue growing to the point where itwill be hard to control. As the demand for the drug rises, so willits price (Rommel et al., 2016). Some addicts may find it difficultto raise funds for their daily fix and might resort to crime as a wayof funding their addiction. Without the proper and immediateintervention, crime levels will go higher, and everyone in thesociety will be adversely affected by the drug use (Fast et al.,2014). To protect the future generations from the damaging effects ofmethamphetamine, a solution is urgently needed.
Fast,D., Kerr, T., Wood, E., & Small, W. (2014). The multiple truthsabout crystal meth among young people entrenched in an urban drugscene: a longitudinal ethnographic investigation. SocialScience & Medicine, 110,41-48.
Rommel,N., Rohleder, N. H., Wagenpfeil, S., Härtel-Petri, R., Jacob, F.,Wolff, K. D., & Kesting, M. R. (2016). The impact of the newscene drug “crystal meth” on oral health: a case–controlstudy. Clinicaloral investigations, 20(3),469-475.