According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 1.2 million, which .4 percent of the U.S. population, reported using methamphetamine and 440,000 people reported using meth within the month of being polled.
Meth is cheap and can be made at home which allows the spread of it to be very easy and affect rural and middle-class areas. Also, methamphetamine accounted for 103,000 emergency departments in 2011 and was the fourth most mentioned illicit drug in emergency department visits. Treatment for meth addiction is long and difficult but going to a great treatment facility can make it so much easier. However, a lot of the time addicts, after being in recovery, tend to hit a wall in between their first and third months of sobriety where they don’t feel much please due to their former addiction. This is usually when they relapse.
The History and Rise of Methamphetamine
The use of methamphetamine, also known as meth, crystal, glass or crank, has risen dramatically in the United States over the past 40 years. In 1970 methamphetamine was regulated with the Controlled Substances Act. Before the passing of the Controlled Substances Act, was used for many different things: obesity, asthma, and narcolepsy. However, soon when people were able to get their hands on meth for recreational use the results were devastating. Recreational use started in the 1950’s with different subcultures and college students but soon spread with the ever-growing knowledge of the effects of the harmful drug. Recently, TV shows like Breaking Bad have, without necessarily intending to, increased the rate of methamphetamine use in the United States and in most places throughout the United States; methamphetamine is more in use than heroin or cocaine. With its growing popularity, and its extremely addictive qualities, meth addiction has become a massive problem in the U.S. and, like heroin other hard drugs, is extremely addictive and incredibly hard to treat.
New Treatments for Methamphetamine Addiction
The wall that many addicts hit between months one and three is a prevalent problem that causes many to relapse. That could all change very soon. A group of researchers have found a drug that could essentially erase any memory associated with methamphetamine. The drug, blebbistatin (or commonly referred to as blebb) targets the actin protein in the brain which helps constructs memories. In comparison to regular memories, for example, those of the names of people and places, drug-affiliated memories are weaker and don’t take up the same mental space that the regular ones do. Due to the drug memories’ vulnerability, blebb is able to target and erase them. Hypothetically, a former meth addict could completely forget their first hit of meth and subsequently get rid of any urge to do it in the future. Although the research surrounding blebb is still new, tests among lab rats have proven fruitful. Unlike heroin addiction, which has a drug replacement therapy with methadone, methamphetamine doesn’t have a drug to replace it; blebb could prove to be methamphetamine’s methadone. Hopefully, human trials of blebb can begin soon so the path to blebb’s usage can be paved.