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Meth users and abusers

Specializes in RN, BSN, CHDN.

We have seen a huge increase of Meth users in our hospital and the really sad thing is the increase in age, we are finding that it is not young kids who are using but people in their 30's upwards. The aggression that these people use during the hospital stay is draining the nursing staff and wearing us out.

Last week I looked after a 64yr old man who was high on Meth, and a very violent man-his daughter had supplied it to him during his hospital stay.

This week I looked after a 42 yr old man in a psychotic state from Meth use3 and abuse-unfortunatly he was the most violent I have ever experienced in my 20yrs of nursing.

The staff at work are blaming it on the falling economy, what do others think and are they experiencing this frightening increase.

I know I have had enough of the violence from these pts:argue:

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele.

Meth is on the bottom rung of illicit drug use in my opinion. Meth users are far worse than heroin users, I think. Heroin users are merely utterly pathetic and weak. Meth users are maniacs.

meth's a type of speed, a stimulant.

so yeah, the users, their minds, their bodies...

all go nuts.

dangerous, dangerous drug.

leslie

Larry77, RN

Specializes in Trauma/ED.

I think it's just because it is so readily available all across the country...can be made in any house by any idiot with an internet recipe. I have worked with nurses across the country and each one states they live in the "meth capital" of the US...hmm...maybe we all do :)

We have had numerous problems in my community with stolen metal...even power wires! Construction sites have to have 24hr guards a lot of the time and mills had to increase security. Why is our gov't allowing metal recyclers to pay for stolen metal knowing these are tweekers they are supporting.

It's a good thing I work in the ED where we don't see any drug use...:)

I agree Larry - it is the accessibility and cheap cost (in money) of the drug.

We say we are the "drug capital" of the State of California.

steph

Beleive it or not....I'm seeing more of these pts in LTC. Young kids, needing long term IV abtx wound care etc. Sad...LTC.

Meth is on the bottom rung of illicit drug use in my opinion. Meth users are far worse than heroin users, I think. Heroin users are merely utterly pathetic and weak. Meth users are maniacs.

I understand and can appreciate your disdain for substance abuse, but I don't know that I'd classify them in a hierarchy. All of them lead to the ruin of lives, families and friendships. One isn't necessarily more/less efficient at doing so than another.

But I had to respond to you because of your quote by Timothy Leary, who happened to also be a huge advocate for psychedelic use...that's a bit of irony.

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele.

But I had to respond to you because of your quote by Timothy Leary, who happened to also be a huge advocate for psychedelic use...that's a bit of irony.

I like the quote, I thought it was humorous and rang true...

:chuckle

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele.

And yes, some illicit drugs are more destructive than others...

vampiregirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice.

We have seen a huge increase of Meth users in our hospital and the really sad thing is the increase in age, we are finding that it is not young kids who are using but people in their 30's upwards. The aggression that these people use during the hospital stay is draining the nursing staff and wearing us out.

Last week I looked after a 64yr old man who was high on Meth, and a very violent man-his daughter had supplied it to him during his hospital stay.

The staff at work are blaming it on the falling economy, what do others think and are they experiencing this frightening increase.

Increase also noted here in my small town in the central part of the U.S. Yet, I've not seen it confined to one socialeconomic group. I've also encountered it in multiple generations of the same family... sad.

I'll agree these are some of the most violent people I've cared for in my EMS career. It's already difficult to get an accurate history and assessment done on someone under the influence... it's even harder to do this non-judgmentally and objectively when it's the people trying to help them (emergency/ medical staff) that these patients are physically and verbally assaulting.

I'm not a nurse - I'll enter the program next fall, just putting some pre-req's and then some electives to bed this year...

But- meth is apparently instantly addictive, and terribly destructive. The "cure" rate I've heard (someone successfully kicking their addiction to meth) is only around 10%.

I personally know the story of a local business owner's wife where I live who tried it at a party, got hooked and then went on to leave her husband and children (previously a pretty devoted mom) and is now a complete, homeless, wreck.

I wouldn't touch drugs with a ten-foot pole, and I wonder how many people, if they could go back in time, would wish they'd never tried them.

It is really heartbreaking. :(

ArwenEvenstar

Specializes in med-surg, teaching, cardiac, priv. duty.

Meth is on the bottom rung of illicit drug use in my opinion.

I agree so much with this! All illicit drugs are destructive, but meth seems to be in a special category all by itself! I was amazed to learn that many people are addicted instantly. Yes, you can try it once and be already addicted. Meth seems to affect the pleasure center in the brain in a way like no other drug does. A few months back I did some personal research on meth addiction, and it was a horrifying eye-opener.

Meth is on the bottom rung of illicit drug use in my opinion. Meth users are far worse than heroin users, I think. Heroin users are merely utterly pathetic and weak. Meth users are maniacs.

ITA. And the destruction they wreak on those around them, especially their innocent children, is unequaled by any other drug, even crack.

:(

In recent months, my hospital has seen a surge of people with drastic, critical oral infections, in addition to full mouth extractions. I wonder how much of this is "meth mouth" in the adults, and neglect in the children.

And yes, some illicit drugs are more destructive than others...

I guess it'd depend what you mean when you say "destructive"--on an individual basis? on a societal basis? It really is way too complicated of an issue to simplify by saying drug X is more/less dangerous than drug Y

for example, although nicotine isn't likely to cause you to lose your family or rob, steal, and kill for a "fix", and doesn't alter one's reality, studies find it's the most addictive and we know about the harms of nicotine

heroin, alcohol, and benzos, on the other hand are more difficult to stop using because of their physical dependence, which for EtOH and benzo withdrawal can result in death if not done under close medical supervision, so that's pretty destructive to an individual

meth is primarily a psych depenedence drug; few die from meth abuse, per se, but becuase of the strong psych dependence (as seen with cocaine as well), they do long term damage to their body (which happens with most other illicit drugs as well)

studies show that cocaine users who undergo MRIs while actively using and a year after abstaining show similar brain function when shown words or pictures associated with their use; I'd be curious to know the results of similar studies done with meth, opiates and other illicit drugs (if they exist)

if you want to talk about destructive in terms of a society, SAMSHA still shows that meth use is quite a bit lower than other drugs such as MJ, cocaine, opiates, tobacco, and alcohol.

wait until PCP makes a comeback (which will hopefully never happen); ask a police officer who they'd rather arrest and none of them will pick someone who's on PCP because it acts as a stimulant, hallucinogen and pain killer--horrible combo when you try to subdue them by force

I agree so much with this! All illicit drugs are destructive, but meth seems to be in a special category all by itself! I was amazed to learn that many people are addicted instantly. Yes, you can try it once and be already addicted. Meth seems to affect the pleasure center in the brain in a way like no other drug does. A few months back I did some personal research on meth addiction, and it was a horrifying eye-opener.

did the research specifically say it was worse than other drugs? could you point me in the direction of your research? I'm in substance abuse research, but my clinic focuses more on cocaine and opiates than any other drugs (although i know we've done smoking, EtOH, X, MJ studies in the past), so I'll admit I don't have as much information on some drugs as I do others.

ArwenEvenstar

Specializes in med-surg, teaching, cardiac, priv. duty.

did the research specifically say it was worse than other drugs? could you point me in the direction of your research? I'm in substance abuse research, but my clinic focuses more on cocaine and opiates than any other drugs (although i know we've done smoking, EtOH, X, MJ studies in the past), so I'll admit I don't have as much information on some drugs as I do others.

Hi! If you are in substance abuse research, you know way more than me about illicit drugs. I just looked into meth for personal research. Interesting you mention cocaine, because Dr. Rawson (see below) actually directly compares meth to cocaine. I've copied and pasted some info below for you.

First link is a Frontline program on meth. Very eye opening for me. Meth started out west and slowly spread east. At the time of this program, 85% of the property crime in Oregon was related to meth, and 50% of the kids in foster care were there because of meth! They show part of a presentation with a Richard Rawson, PhD out of UCLA on the neuroscience of meth. (Explore the entire Frontline site - lots of info including the special challenges of recovery from meth. High relapse because it takes a year for the destroyed dopamine receptors to regrow.)

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meth/view/

This next link takes you to a site of Dr. Rawson's presentations. You can look at the actual PowerPoint slides from his meth presentations. Very informative.

http://www.uclaisap.org/slides/presentations-rawson.html

Audio presentation with slides here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meth/body/methbrainflash.html

Dr. Rawson compares the effect that different drugs/substances have on dopamine release in the brain, and he states that meth is the “mother of them all”. (Way more than cocaine!) He said meth releases more dopamine than the human brain is even designed to handle.

Comparing cocaine to meth:

Cocaine half-life: 1-2 hours

Methamphetamine half-life: 8-12 hours

Cocaine paranoia: 4 -8 hours following drug cessation

Methamphetamine paranoia: 7-14 days

Methamphetamine psychosis - May require

medication/hospitalization and may not be reversible

"Faces of meth"

This photo was the most shocking to me, this lady looked 25 years older in only 3 ½ years.

http://www.drugfree.org/Portal/DrugIssue/MethResources/faces/photo_5.html

Hope this gets you pointed in the right direction.

madwife2002, BSN, RN

Specializes in RN, BSN, CHDN.

Those photo's are horrific Arwen but thank you for posting them.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

Back when I was a full-time student in central California in January 2005, I rented out one of my spare bedrooms for some extra cash flow. I had no idea that my new roommate was a 22-year-old meth addict with four children ranging in ages from 7 months to 8 years old. Her background and credit check turned up nothing suspicious and, with the exception of a very underweight body, she didn't have the stereotypical "look."

She was receiving $400 monthly in food stamps, but sold them for drugs as soon as she received them. She received $700 monthly from the welfare office, but also spent that on drugs as soon as she received it. Her children had physical and psychological impediments, likely stemming from prenatal drug exposure.

We lived under the same roof for 3 weeks as she used all my spare light bulbs as makeshift pipes for smoking her meth in my downstairs bathroom. We would have been living together for longer than 3 weeks if my wonderful family had not come to the rescue by convincing her to leave immediately.

Hi! If you are in substance abuse research, you know way more than me about illicit drugs. I just looked into meth for personal research. Interesting you mention cocaine, because Dr. Rawson (see below) actually directly compares meth to cocaine. I've copied and pasted some info below for you.

First link is a Frontline program on meth. Very eye opening for me. Meth started out west and slowly spread east. At the time of this program, 85% of the property crime in Oregon was related to meth, and 50% of the kids in foster care were there because of meth! They show part of a presentation with a Richard Rawson, PhD out of UCLA on the neuroscience of meth. (Explore the entire Frontline site - lots of info including the special challenges of recovery from meth. High relapse because it takes a year for the destroyed dopamine receptors to regrow.)

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meth/view/

This next link takes you to a site of Dr. Rawson's presentations. You can look at the actual PowerPoint slides from his meth presentations. Very informative.

http://www.uclaisap.org/slides/presentations-rawson.html

Audio presentation with slides here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meth/body/methbrainflash.html

Dr. Rawson compares the effect that different drugs/substances have on dopamine release in the brain, and he states that meth is the "mother of them all". (Way more than cocaine!) He said meth releases more dopamine than the human brain is even designed to handle.

Comparing cocaine to meth:

Cocaine half-life: 1-2 hours

Methamphetamine half-life: 8-12 hours

Cocaine paranoia: 4 -8 hours following drug cessation

Methamphetamine paranoia: 7-14 days

Methamphetamine psychosis - May require

medication/hospitalization and may not be reversible

"Faces of meth"

This photo was the most shocking to me, this lady looked 25 years older in only 3 ½ years.

http://www.drugfree.org/Portal/DrugIssue/MethResources/faces/photo_5.html

Hope this gets you pointed in the right direction.

thank you...as I mentioned, we've never done studies on meth; I suspect that's because it's not as prominent in the beltway area of Houston; I've heard it is more of a problem in North Houston and outlying areas, though; the other reason we haven't is because of the violence involved and we certainly aren't equipped to handle that situation

Back when I was a full-time student in central California in January 2005, I rented out one of my spare bedrooms for some extra cash flow. I had no idea that my new roommate was a 22-year-old meth addict with four children ranging in ages from 7 months to 8 years old. Her background and credit check turned up nothing suspicious and, with the exception of a very underweight body, she didn't have the stereotypical "look."

She was receiving $400 monthly in food stamps, but sold them for drugs as soon as she received them. She received $700 monthly from the welfare office, but also spent that on drugs as soon as she received it. Her children had physical and psychological impediments, likely stemming from prenatal drug exposure.

We lived under the same roof for 3 weeks as she used all my spare light bulbs as makeshift pipes for smoking her meth in my downstairs bathroom. We would have been living together for longer than 3 weeks if my wonderful family had not come to the rescue by convincing her to leave immediately.

aye aye aye; glad you got out of that nightmare

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