Tag: methamphetamine

Can I Overdose on Crystal Meth?

The rates of crystal meth abuse have steadily been climbing throughout the country over the course of the past several years. Crystal meth is typically smoked, snorted, or injected directly into the bloodstream. Overdose can result from any method of consumption, contrary to popular belief. Many individuals who use crystal meth regularly believe that they are safe from overdose so long as they avoid intravenous use – unfortunately, this is not the case, though overdose is the most prevalent amongst intravenous users. First-time users who are injecting the drug are at higher risk for overdose than any other crystal meth users, seeing as they have developed no tolerance to the substance whatsoever and will typically inject more than their bodies are able to tolerate.

Is It Possible to Overdose on Crystal Meth?

Because crystal meth is rarely sold in its pure form, the likelihood that overdose occurs as a result of an adverse reaction to a chemical it is cut with is exceptionally high. There is no way to determine the purity-level of a drug before a user consumes it, thus crystal meth users are constantly putting themselves at risk. Even non-lethal dosages have the potential to kill for this very reason. It is sometimes difficult to detect the signs and symptoms of crystal meth overdose in others, especially because visual symptoms of overdose lack, and it is frequently difficult to differentiate between the behavioral signs of overdose and the expected ‘high’.

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If you believe you or someone close to you is experiencing a crystal meth overdose, look for the following symptoms:

  • Paranoia
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Confusion
    Restlessness
  • High fever
  • Impaired vision (spots in the field of vision)
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Chest pain
  • Intense muscle pain and cramping
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Coma

Clearly, overdosing on crystal meth is entirely possible, and it can quickly lead to fatality if not adequately and immediately treated. Those who engage in regular crystal meth use are liable to overdose at any time, regardless of their method of consumption or the presumed purity levels of the substance they are using. If you or someone you love is battling an addiction to crystal meth, it is crucial to seek professional help immediately. Addiction is a progressive disease, and due to the highly addictive nature of this specific chemical substance, rapid physical deterioration is common and especially devastating. For more information on crystal meth abuse and overdose, please contact one of our trained representatives today.

Would You Let Someone Erase Your Memories to Save You From Relapsing?

Seriously, This Drug Can ERASE Your Meth Memories

It’s kind of an insane question, right? Would you let a doctor literally erase memories if they promised it would help prevent relapse and they’d only erase memories associated with meth use?

Start coming up with an answer because, according to top scientists, there’s a real possibility this type of treatment may soon be coming to a drug rehab near you.

An article published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry in early August explored how scientists in Florida are working to create a “meth memory eraser” and how they’re gearing up to start running human trails.

Without going into a bunch of technical jargon (don’t worry, that’s below), researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have been studying how memories and addiction interact for a number of years. Then, in 2013, they made a breakthrough.

They found that by blocking a common protein called actin they could actually erase memories associated with meth use in mice while, at the same time, leaving other memories untouched.

This project is the brainchild of Courtney A. Miller. Miller is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Scripps. She’s been exploring the intersection of substance abuse and memory for the past 15 years.

In a recent interview, Professor Miller stated,

“The idea is that someone would go into a rehab program with the typical abstinence therapies and while they are in the treatment program they would receive this medication one time and it should remove all of the associations with the drug…It’s exciting” (The Washington Post).

Learn exactly how this meth memory erasure works – and whether it’s safe for humans to try – below!

How Drug Memories Are Formed

In 2013, while conducting research that involved giving lab mice copious amounts of methamphetamine, Miller discovered something groundbreaking. No, it wasn’t that mice love meth – memories involving meth and “normal memories” are physically different, according to Miller.

To explain the difference, it’s important to explore how memories are formed. Although this is pretty scientific and dense stuff, The Washington Post explained it in pretty straightforward language.

Basically, our memories are nothing more than electric and chemical connections in our brains. In other words – our memories are made up of neurons and the connections between them.

The actual connections are named dendritic spines. They “held up” by that protein actin we mentioned above. It acts as support and framework for the dendritic spines spanning our brain.

what our memory neurons look like
this is what our memories actually look like

Once we experience something – anything – actin stabilizes around new dendritic spines. After a few minutes, it’s stable and the memory is cemented into our minds.

When it comes to meth, though, this isn’t what happens. Rather than stabilize around the dendrite, actin actually remains instable.

This leads the memory to behave differently than a normal memory and may, scientists believe, account for the euphoric recall associated with meth addiction.

This also may have something to do with anhedonia, or the inability to feel pleasure that many recovering meth addicts experience in early-sobriety.

Okay, so scientists now know how meth memories are different than regular memories. They know how they’re formed and how to selectively target, disrupt, and effectively erase them.

Sounds pretty good, right? Well, there’s a bit of a problem.

Actin is one of the most prevalent proteins in the human body. It’s responsible for a host of necessary functions, including “…how muscles contract, [how] the heart works, [how] cells divide…So if we inhibited actin it would probably kill a person” (The Washington Post).

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Is There a Way to Erase Memories Without Killing Us?

That, readers, is the billion-dollar question.

Well, Miller and her team at Scripps weren’t ready to give up. They went back to the drawing board and tried out some new ideas. After a year of hard work, they believe they’ve come up with a way to erase meth memories without also killing someone.

Instead of targeting actin itself, they’ve switched their focus to something called blebbistatin. This is a chemical that inhibits something called a nonmuscle myosin II (also known as a NMII). NMIIs support memory formation and by blocking them Miller was also able to block meth memories from being formed in mice.

meth causes intense drug cravings
meth? what’s meth?

Don’t worry if you don’t get exactly what that means. I’ve been reading scientific studies about NMIIs and blebbistatin all day and still don’t understand exactly how they work!

What matters here is the practical implication of Miller and her team’s research. After injecting mice with one dose of blebbistatin, they were able to block meth memories from being formed for 30 days. At the same time, the mice’s other memories were left untouched and intact.

That sounds like a win to me!

There’s one major thing to remember though. These tests have only been performed on mice. It remains to be seen whether the effect will be the same in humans. Miller and The Scripps Institute are in the process of applying for federal grants and hope to start human trails within the next five years.

When asked about her research, Professor Miller remained hopeful. She said,

“We now have a viable target and by blocking that target, we can disrupt, and potentially erase, drug memories, leaving other memories intact…The hope is that, when combined with traditional rehabilitation and abstinence therapies, we can reduce or eliminate relapse for meth users after a single treatment by taking away the power of an individual’s triggers” (Gizmag).

What do you think? Let us know on social media!

This New Medication Makes it Impossible to Get High

Does This New Med Solve Meth Addiction?

A new medicine shows promising results in helping meth addicts quit once and for all. This medicine is especially important because meth has the highest relapse rate of any drug, a shockingly high 88%.

Eric Peterson, of the University of Arkansas, helped develop a “anti-meth antibody” that makes it impossible for users to get high. He recently presented his findings at a meeting of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

meth antibody

This new medicine, which has yet to be named or tested in humans, shows remarkable effectiveness in mice. The med research was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

So, what does this medicine do? How does it block meth’s incredibly addictive effects? More importantly, is this therapy a new silver bullet in the fight against addiction or simply the latest scientific trend?

Meth Antibodies That Block the Drug

Peterson, with help from graduate students at the University of Arkansas, has developed what some people are calling “the meth vaccine.” Basically, they developed a combination anti-meth antibody and virus that can be administered via injection.

Once administered, the medicine makes it literally impossible for meth addicts to get high. It also lasts for around fifty days. This makes it an invaluable tool for those in early-sobriety who’re struggling to stay sober despite overwhelming cravings.

The medicine works by delivering genes into meth addict’s cells. The genes tell the body to make a continuous supply of anti-meth antibodies and are delivered via a dismembered, or harmless, virus. The antibodies then block meth molecules from crossing the blood-brain barrier.

Sound a bit too scientific? Yeah, I thought so. Basically what happens is that after getting a shot of this medication, the virus begins to replicate. Then, the genes this virus carries prompt the body to produce large numbers of meth antibodies. These antibodies, in turn, attack meth molecules when they enter the body. They effectively render the drug useless.

What’s more is they last for up to fifty days! Peterson and his graduate students tested mice fifty days after they were injected with the new medication. The mice showed large amounts of methamphetamine in their blood, which means it never entered the brain and got the mice high! The meth was eventually filtered out of their blood through the kidneys.

Okay, that’s pretty cool! I can 100% get behind anything that makes early-sobriety easier for struggling addicts. Even the Big Book urges addicts and alcoholics to make use of doctors and the benefits they offer. What I’m not sold on, though, is the idea that this new medicine will “solve” addiction.

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Addiction is More Than Just Drugs

The disease of addiction is about more than simply drugs. It’s a three-part disease: physical, mental, and spiritual. So, while this new medicine does wonderful things on a physical level, it doesn’t touch the mental or spiritual sides.

vaccine for methamphetaminea

For that reason, I hesitate to label it a “cure” for addiction. After all, we’re never cured of our disease. We can put it into remission through medicines like this new one (and working the steps!), but it never goes away completely.

So, while this new medication is extremely helpful, it isn’t a cure by any means. It will keep addicts from getting high if they pick up, but it won’t stop them from picking up in the first place. Remember, relapse is a process. It doesn’t just happen. It’s a long development of faulty thinking, spiritual disconnection, and unhealthy emotional outlet.

A true solution to addiction addresses the many reasons we turn to drugs to make things better. A true solution to addiction addresses the physical side of things and the mental and spiritual side. So, until the day that enters the picture, let’s keep praying and meditating!

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