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Methamphetamine Addiction   PDF  Print  Email 
Methamphetamine Addiction
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  1. Individuals who can get close enough to see the tweaker's eyes should look for a horizontal-gaze nistagmus. This phenomenon occurs when the methamphetamine abuser, who is also using alcohol, looks out of the corner of his eyes, and the eyes jerk back and forth.

  2. If communication lines are open with the tweaker, ask the tweaker if he is using methamphetamine and then inquire if he is also drinking alcohol.

If a strong smell of alcohol is present, but no signs of drunkenness exist, one should err on the side of caution and approach the person as a tweaker using alcohol rather than assume the person is harmless. Because tweakers using alcohol are ordinarily not concerned with the consequences of their actions, a situation can quickly lead to violence.

Are there any other problems that can occur from methamphetamine addiction?

Regarding domestic disputes, cities across the United States report increased percentages of domestic violence incidents associated with methamphetamine use. Domestic disputes, ordinarily regarded as dangerous situations for law enforcement, become intensified when a tweaker is involved because of that individual's unpredictability.

Many motor vehicle violations and accidents may also involve tweakers. Paranoid and hallucinating, tweakers may decide to travel in their automobiles. Their delusional state makes moving shapes and shadows appear threatening, and they are very likely to increase their speed and exhibit erratic driving patterns as they attempt to evade the images. An additional threat to society and themselves may stem from tweaker's tendency to arm themselves for their personal safety. Interviews with methamphetamine abusers have confirmed that these individuals often maintain weapons in their automobiles, as well as in their residences.

Tweakers may also be present at raves or parties. In addition, to support their habit, tweakers often participate in spur-of-the-moment crimes, such as purse snatching, strong-arm robberies, assaults with a weapon, burglaries, and thefts of motor vehicles.

Methamphetamine is readily available and is spreading rapidly across the United States. Unlike the abusers in the 1960s and 1970s, today's methamphetamine abusers cross ethnic and gender boundaries. Methamphetamine is psychologically addictive during the binge and high-intensity patterns of abuse, with users becoming paranoid and unpredictable.

Index of Terms

Addiction ad·dic·tion - n. the condition of being addicted to something [trying to conquer an addiction to drugs]
Alcohol The world's most popular drug and legally used in most countries. Alcohol is produced through the fermentation of fruits, vegetables or grains.
Caffeine The stimulant drug found in coffee and some teas.
Cocaine A bitter, crystalline drug obtained from the dried leaves of the coca shrub; it is a local anesthetic and a dangerous, illegal stimulant; the primary psychoactive ingredient in the coca plant and a behavioral-affecting drug.
Heroin A white crystalline "narcotic" powder derived from "morphine", formerly used as a painkiller and sedative.
Methamphetamine A powerfully addictive stimulant that dramatically affects the central nervous system.
Nicotine The drug found in "tobacco".

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