The purpose of this paper is to bring awareness to the Methamphetamine abuse epidemic our nation is actively batting. This drug is sought by multiple individuals who are looking for a quick feel-good, escape from reality. Methamphetamine is a blue-white glass-like substance that is cheap to make and easy to find. Some common street names for this drug include but are not limited to, crank, chalk, meth, speed, ice, and crystal. Methamphetamine is frequently smoked, snorted or injected. The abuse of these feel-good substances can lead to clinical manifestations such as heightened energy, increased alertness, decreased sleep, euphoria, weight loss, activation of the sympathetic nervous system, and dry mouth that lead to tooth decay. (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018).
Individuals seeking a relatively inexpensive, fast-feel-good experience often turn to use methamphetamine, often known as Meth, for a high. It first appeared as a low-priced drug that was also readily available (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2016). This drug is easy to obtain by addicts due to it being made in and outside of the United States. One convenient source is the small, secrete laboratories that use cheap, over-the-counter ingredients like pseudoephedrine that can be found in cold medications (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018). Just about and “street chemist” can manufacture the drug and sell it to addicts, regularly referred to as customers. A large number of these so-called “customers” are already dependent meth or another illegal substance.
The abuse of Methamphetamine is problematic and early identification with instant treatment is the best course of action (Bhatt et al., 2016). Abusing meth can lead to several health-related issues such as serious cardiac conditions. A shortlist of other health-related issues includes; aortic dissection, hypertension, pulmonary arterial hypertension, acute coronary symptoms, and methamphetamine-associated cardiomyopathy. Hypertension and tachycardia that stem from meth abuse is caused by a hyperadrenergic state that is similar to autonomic dysfunction or pheochromocytoma. In the hyperadrenergic state, stimulation occurs with both the a-adrenoreceptors, which mediates peripheral vasoconstriction, and the b2-adrenoreceptors that mediates peripheral vasodilation (Paratz, Cunningham, & MacIsaac, 2016). Consequently, treating tachycardia and hypertension that stem from meth abuse, including a blockade of both adrenoreceptors or hypertension will basically worsen due to vasoconstriction. Meth abuse is far from a modest predicament, its effects can develop into a wide variety of issues that are difficult to manage.
When it comes to treatment, there are no approved medications that can aid in the treatment of methamphetamine use disorders. Nevertheless, there has been a large increase in the use of psychostimulant agents, mostly dopamine agonists. However, more data is needed and there is a need for advocacy that calls for more studies on psychostimulant use on meth addiction (Bhatt et al., 2016) A few other medications have revealed potentials related to aiding in treating addiction to meth. Medications like naltrexone, modafinil, and bupropion are able to support psychosocial interventions by its focus on intermediate addiction phenotypes such as prevention of relapse or cravings. Again, more researches are needed as studies were consisted of small trials and covered distinct populations (Courtney & Ray, 2014).
As meth addiction continues to grow, so do the research and studies being conducted to break this addiction. In one study, it was delineated that Meth stimulated BK-? subunit trafficking thereby reducing activities of BK channels and researchers found that the resulting behavioral response due to dopamine neurotransmission modulation is partly due to BK channel activity regulation (Lin, Sambo, & Khoshbouei, 2016). However, these discoveries are still being substantiated and information has not found clinical application.
Unfortunately, there is no precise or absolute treatment for Meth abuse disorders. Researchers must undertake more studies that can help solve the methamphetamine public health issue. The current meth epidemic must be taken seriously, with an emphasis on studying more about biomarker identification that leads to treatment, prevention of relapse, and remediation of cognitive impairment. These are the knowledge areas that need to be addressed to gain a significant footing in the fight against methamphetamine abuse (Courtney & Ray, 2014).
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