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Methamphetamine Addiction   PDF  Print  Email 
Methamphetamine Addiction
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Tweaking for the high-intensity abuser is still the most dangerous time to confront him because tweakers are extremely unpredictable and short-tempered. The crash is often spoken of in terms of I never sleep, or I sleep with one eye open. In an attempt to appear normal, perhaps because of an appointment with a doctor, lawyer, or court official, high-intensity abusers will make themselves take short naps; otherwise, they see no need to come down from the high.

Dangerous Tweakers

A methamphetamine abuser is most dangerous when tweaking. The fact that a law enforcement officer is confronting the tweaker makes him more dangerous, not just to the officer on the scene but also to anyone nearby. When tweaking, the abuser has probably not slept in 3-15 days and consequently will be extremely irritable. The tweaker craves more methamphetamine, but no dosage will help re-create the euphoric high. The result is a strong feeling of uncontrollable frustration that makes the tweaker unpredictable and dangerous.

If the law enforcement officer on the scene is unfamiliar with the physical signs of a tweaker, the abuser can appear normal. In fact, unlike a person intoxicated on alcohol with glassy eyes, slurred speech, and difficulty even standing up, a tweaker appears super-exaggerated normal. The tweaker's eyes are clear, his speech concise, and his movements brisk. With a closer look at the tweaker, law enforcement officers will notice that his eyes are moving about ten times faster than normal and may roll. He is talking in a quick, often steady voice with a slight quiver to it, and his movements are quick and jerky. The individual's movements are often exaggerated because he is overstimulated, and his thinking is scattered and subject to paranoid delusions.

The tweaker does not need provocation to react violently; however, confrontation increases the chance for a violent reaction. Law enforcement officers should consider the potential for violence when determining that a suspect is tweaking. For example, case histories indicate that tweakers react negatively to the sight of a police uniform. Confrontation between the tweaker and law enforcement often results in a verbal or physical assault on the officer.

Besides confrontation, nobody knows for certain what will trigger a tweaker to be irrational and violent. A tweaker exists in his own world, seeing and hearing things that no one else can perceive. His hallucinations are so vivid that they seem real. What law enforcement officers say and do enter into the abuser's altered reality, and if his paranoia is triggered, law enforcement appears to be a threat to the tweaker's life.

It is during tweaking that hostage situations can easily occur. If the abuser feels cornered, with no means of escape, the tweaker is likely to take a hostage, often an associate, a relative, or a police officer. In extreme cases, the tweaker may physically assault the hostage.

If the tweaker has chosen to ease his discomfort with alcohol, he becomes a disinhibited tweaker, making reasoning with him or even identifying him as a tweaker more difficult. Physical signs of a tweaker become blurred to an observer when the tweaker is using alcohol. Motor and speech functions, for example, become impaired, but not to the degree of a person using only alcohol. The rapid eye movement and the quick speech of a tweaker might actually slow to an apparently normal speed. However, a tweaker using alcohol can be identified in two ways:

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