Magazine article Addiction Professional

A Full Picture of Methamphetamine

Magazine article Addiction Professional

A Full Picture of Methamphetamine

Article excerpt

The Methamphetamine Crisis: Strategies to Save Addicts, Families, and Communities

Herbert C. Covey (ed.); Praeger Publishers, Westport, Conn., (203) 226-3571; 2007; ISBN: 0-275-99322-1; hardcover; 296 pages; $69.95

Herbert C. Covey, a field instructor with the Colorado Department of Human Services, has produced a one-size-fits-all treatise on methamphetamine that effectively serves his premise: that a collaborative approach is needed to combat methamphetamine addiction. By choosing 13 writers whose professional relationships to the meth issue vary (treatment, law enforcement, child welfare, etc.), Covey succeeds in presenting the detailed information about the drug that each perspective can offer.

Covey intends the book as a resource for professionals working with active addicts, people in recovery, and family members. This approach works, as in a very practical way Covey and his contributing authors walk readers through the entire experience of encountering methamphetamine.

So the reader comes to understand what exactly a methamphetamine laboratory consists of, how meth is made, and the significant hazard that the environment of these makeshift labs poses. From the law enforcement perspective, the reader senses the frustration of raiding a lab and finding children who were not known to be there because communication with child welfare services was lacking.

Kathryn M. Wells, MD, a pediatrician who has worked closely with the Alliance for Drug-Endangered Children, explores in detail meth's medical effects, including those on pregnant women. Colleen Brisnehan, an environmental protection specialist with the state of Colorado, walks the reader through the steps of properly cleaning up an abandoned meth lab.

Understanding the drug

Covey describes the history of methamphetamine (street names: speed, crystal, ice, crank, chalk), its current prevalence, and the paradoxes associated with the stimulant (it can be legally prescribed as a treatment for attention-deficit disorder and it is illegally made in clandestine labs and has euphoric effects resembling cocaine's).

A Schedule II drug in the United States, meaning it cannot be bought, sold, or possessed without a prescription, meth suppresses appetite and increases attention and energy. Low-intensity users tend to use it for a specific purpose, such as staying alert for a task or losing weight. High-intensity users try to maintain the euphoria.

A long list of potential short-term negative effects includes increased respiration, higher pulse rate, higher blood pressure, increased body temperature, convulsions, irritability, hyperexcitability, grinding of teeth, nervousness, dilated pupils, and death. …

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