Published on January 18, 2008
STRAIGHT FROM THE STREET: STRAIGHT FROM THE STREET Mark S. Royer, MS University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Street Drugs:: Street Drugs: Heroin Crack Cocaine Crystal Methamphetamine Slide3: HEROIN Black Tar Powder Crack Cocaine: Crack Cocaine CRYSTAL METHAMPHETAMINE: CRYSTAL METHAMPHETAMINE HOW STREET DRUGS ARE USED: HOW STREET DRUGS ARE USED Demonstration WHAT’S NEW WITH STREET DRUGS?: WHAT’S NEW WITH STREET DRUGS? Slide8: Two Words….. Slide9: Things have changed since my earlier days on COLFAX Slide10: CONFIDENTIAL PAID INTERVIEWS: Active Drug Injectors needed for Research Study. Compensation & Transportation provided. Call 800-429-9240 THIS SAME Advertisement has been on the back page of the WESTWORD for over 5 years.: THIS SAME Advertisement has been on the back page of the WESTWORD for over 5 years. In 2000, outreach workers report that less than 20% of those responding claim to be injecting speed, crack cocaine or crystal meth. In 2006, outreach workers report that nearly 70% of those responding claim to be injecting crystal meth alone. Slide12: “It’s all about crystal meth now. Who wants to waste their money on powder cocaine when you can get a better high on crystal?” JR – drug user/runner Comments from the street…: Comments from the street… “ I used to be a heroin junkie. I went on methadone and quit five years ago. I started using crystal meth last year. When I was on heroin I lost my job because I kept falling asleep. Now I work two jobs and I am looking for a third.” M.L. Slide14: “This is by far the best drug I’ve tried. I’ll do anything to get my hands on it” -Former crack smoker $100 street bag Slide15: Crystal meth is one form of the drug, methamphetamine hydrochloride, which comes in clear, chunky crystals, which are then inhaled or smoked. Crystal meth has become the most widespread and popular form of the drug, largely because it is so easy to make. Motorcycle gangs are becoming dominant at trafficking in this ‘new’ drug. Slide16: Also referred to as: Bitch, Chrissy, Crystal, Gak, Jib, Meth, P, Quartz, Sketch, T, Tina, and Tweak. Slide17: Crystal methamphetamine is a powerful addictive stimulant that dramatically affects the central nervous system. When taking Meth, you become more sociable feel smart, feel sexier, feel ‘powerful’ and are more confident. Crystal's dangerous effects include an over stimulation of the body's adrenal glands. The crystal user will experience hyper activity and inability to properly sleep. In all forms, the drug stimulates the central nervous system, with effects lasting anywhere from 4 to 24 hours. Crystal Meth, like LSD or Ecstasy, has a longer effect on the body than other stimulants due to its crystal chemical structure and therefore stores deeply in the body fat and other tissues of the body. These fat cells and tissues break down with stress and age and can retrigger cravings in the body for the drug. Slide18: All addictive drugs have two things in common: they produce an initial pleasurable effect, followed by a rebound unpleasant effect. Methamphetamine, through its stimulant effects, produces a positive feeling, but later leaves a person feeling depressed. This is because it suppresses the normal production of dopamine, creating a chemical imbalance. The user physically demands more of the drug to return to normal. This pleasure/tension cycle leads to loss of control over the drug and addiction. Methamphetamine short-circuits a person's survival system by artificially stimulating the reward center, or pleasure areas in the brain. This leads to increased confidence in meth and less confidence in the normal rewards of life. This happens on a physical level at first, then it affects the user psychologically. The result is decreased interest in other aspects of life while reliance and interest in meth increases. In one study, laboratory animals pressed levers to release methamphetamine into their blood stream rather than eat, mate, or satisfy other natural drives. The animals died of starvation while giving themselves methamphetamine even though food was available. Slide19: Crystal meth can be easy to produce in small, clandestine labs, sometimes in a kitchen or bathroom, by mixing a cocktail of about 15 substances, mostly pseudo ephedrine (a cold remedy), red phosphorous and iodine. Slide20: Products used to produce Meth include: salt, sulfuric acid, drain cleaner, camping fuel, car fuel system fuel cleaners, ephedrine, alcohol, methanol, Sudafed, allergy products, grease cleaners and paint thinner. The more difficult to acquire ingredients include lithium strips, usually from batteries, and anhydrous ammonia. Production of 1 pound of meth yields 5 pounds of hazardous waste. In one recipe, red phosphorous, usually extracted from matchstick heads, and iodine, are used rather than lithium and anhydrous ammonia. While most of these precursors are destroyed or consumed in the manufacturing process, residues are readily apparent in batches of finished crystal meth. Phosphine gas is a by-product of CRYSTAL METH production and has caused severe lung damage and death among several individuals. Slide26: Tooth decay ‘Meth mouth’ Respiratory distress Skin lesions Impotence Stroke Suicidal tendencies High risk sexual behavior Paranoia Psychotic episodes Convulsions Episodes of violence Hair loss Cardiac arrest Slide28: Unaltered Booking photos from Australia – (same person) photos NOT altered. Slide30: The person may exhibit anxiousness; nervousness; excessive talking; extreme moodiness and irritability; purposeless, repetitious behavior, such as picking at skin or pulling out hair; sleep disturbances; false sense of confidence and power; aggressive or violent behavior; disinterest in previously enjoyed activities; and severe depression. Symptoms of prolonged meth abuse can resemble those of schizophrenia and are characterized by anger, panic, paranoia, auditory and visual hallucinations, repetitive behavior patterns, and formication (delusions of parasites or insects on the skin). Methamphetamine-induced paranoia can result in homicidal or suicidal thoughts. Slide31: Methamphetamine may be swallowed, smoked, snorted, or injected. Some take advantage of the drug’s rapid vaporization by spreading it in powdered form on aluminum foil, heating it, then inhaling the fumes. There is evidence that the risk of addiction is greater when smoked or injected. Swallowing is considered by some to be the safest method. It is also taken anally by "bootie bumps". Slide32: Is there a connection between crystal meth and ecstasy? In some areas, crystal meth is replacing ecstasy as the drug used by teenagers and young adults in the rave and dance scene. In many areas, crystal meth is cheaper, at $10 for a "point" or about one-tenth of a gram. An ecstasy hit, or tablet, can cost twice as much, about $20. Some of the drugs seized at parties or dances that were sold as ecstasy were, in fact, crystal meth. Some dealers give out "free samples" at parties or in the dance scene, in hopes of hooking new customers. Slide33: Experts say that CRYSTAL METH is one of the most addictive street drugs and one of the hardest to treat. Some addiction counselors say the relapse rate of 92 per cent is worse than cocaine. The withdrawal symptoms, especially the depression and physical agony, are reported by addiction counselors to be worse than heroin or cocaine, and often addicts will drop out of recovery programs. With increasing use of the drug, there are strong indications that users suffer brain damage, including memory impairment and an increasing inability to grasp abstract thoughts. Those who do manage to recover from addiction and retain memory and the ability to function in society are usually subject to some memory gaps and extreme mood swings.