In a recent study, which surveyed methamphetamine addicted teenagers at the average age of 17, found that female adolescents were less responsive to teen meth abuse treatment than males. The study suggested that there might be a need for a new meth abuse treatment method for female teens.
The study had teens take the medication bupropion, which provided fewer methamphetamine-free urine samples than those who took the placebo. This indicates that bupropion did not work as a treatment method for some. Also, the study revealed that male adolescents had more than twice as many methamphetamine-free urine drug tests than girls in both groups.
The study was published in the April 2013 issue of Journal of Adolescent Health. In fact, studies also reveal that females tend to more vulnerable to the use and addiction to methamphetamine. In fact, Dr. Keith Heinzerling, lead author of the study, commented, “The greater severity of methamphetamine problems in adolescent girls compared to boys – combined with results of studies in adults that also found women to be more susceptible to methamphetamine than men – suggests that the gender differences in meth addiction actually begin in adolescence.”
Methamphetamine (meth) is a very toxic and addictive substance that can cause severe damage to the brain and central nervous system. It can be smoked, snorted, injected, or ingested orally. The high that meth produces includes excited speech, decreased appetite, increased physical activity, and elevated levels of energy. Consequences of meth use include memory loss, aggression, violence, psychotic behavior, and agitation. Meth can also cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain which can lead to strokes. These are only some of the severe health consequences associated with this drug.
Methamphetamine is a stimulant. Because of its addictive quality and the danger of being abused, meth is classified as a Schedule II drug and is legally only available through prescription. When prescribed by a doctor for medical use, its dosages are significantly lower than when the drug is abused. This drug is man-made and produced in laboratories for medical purposes. However, those who abuse the drug mimic its production in small, unsafe laboratories, which are illegal.
According to a 2012 survey from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 6% of teens, ages 12-17, used the drug at least once in their lifetime, 3% of teens used the drug in the last year, and 2% of teens used meth in the last month. Fortunately, the abuse rates for methamphetamine have decreased in the last year. The rate for lifetime use among 10th graders decreased from 18% in 2012 to 16% in 2013, and among 12th graders the rate for lifetime use also decreased from 17% in 2012 to 15% in 2013. Furthermore, the abuse rate among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders declined significantly between 1999-2007.
Despite these decreases, there are certain parts of the country where use of the drug remains to be a significant problem, such as in Hawaii, the West Coast, and the Midwest. As long as meth is available and used by teens, then it continues to be a concern. The drug is incredibly addictive because of the release of dopamine, which creates strong feelings of euphoria. However, this experience is followed by a crash that leads to repeated use of the drug and increased doses to feel the level of euphoria experienced with the first use.
Certainly, meth addiction is a serious health and psychological concern for teens and adults alike. The study mentioned above indicates that new treatment methods for teen meth abuse are needed, particularly for female adolescents.
By Robert Hunt
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