Meth in the News
Professor Nicholas E Goeders
Methamphetamine is a drug used by people all around the world. And while men are two to three times more likely to use most other drugs, women are as likely to use meth as men are.
The reasons for this are not really clear.
Some claim that the energy levels that meth produces allow a woman to juggle family and a career, becoming “supermom.”
Others say that meth is so attractive to women because it helps them reduce unwanted weight. Maybe, but it comes at a stiff price as the drug begins to control more and more of the user’s life.
And then she tries injecting meth for the first time in an attempt to really boost her energy levels. She can handle it, right?
But then everything changes.
More than most other drugs, injected meth is so often associated with sex. Some claim that meth produces sexual desire and/or arousal and reduces inhibitions.
Some even claim than the euphoria associated with an injection of meth, when it is of sufficient purity and dosage, is very similar to sexual pleasure.
Scientists say that meth increases levels of the brain pleasure chemical called dopamine more than any other pleasurable activity. Other drugs also increase dopamine – that’s why people enjoy using them too. But methamphetamine increases dopamine three or four times more than even cocaine or morphine.
That may be because methamphetamine is a chemical not found in nature. Cocaine comes from the coca plant. Morphine comes from the opium poppy. Even marijuana grows like a weed.
Methamphetamine must be synthesized in a lab. It was first synthesized in 1893 by Japanese chemist, Nagayoshi Nagai.
And while the “high” from a related stimulant, cocaine, lasts for half an hour or so, the high from meth can last for 8 to 12 hours, depending on the user’s physiology and biochemistry.
The extended high that meth produces makes it possible for the user to stay awake for long periods of time. This property was exploited by the Japanese and German military during World War II as meth was provided to soldiers from both countries.
But like I said, this is also why many users begin smoking or eating meth. Then someone tells her that if she likes smoking meth, she should try injecting it. Her “friend” may even inject it for her.
And if the dose is right, she will experience an indescribable euphoria that, as I indicated above, is highly sexual in nature as dopamine floods the nervous system.
But it is never quite as good ever again. It can still be quite euphoric – for a while, but just not quite as good. So she continues to use meth, seeking that first high. We’ve all heard of “chasing the high.”
But it’s as though the drug is calling out to her – lying to her. Inside her head a little voice tells her that all she needs to do is to inject just a little bit more meth. Maybe she just needs to make the meth solution in the syringe a little thicker. Maybe if she can just find that dealer that sold her the “really good dope” that time…
But as with most things, too much of a good thing often becomes harmful. I think that God created us this way. Otherwise we would spend all of our time just doing that “good thing” over and over again. Come to think of it, that’s what some people do. But I digress.
The massive amounts of dopamine that meth releases in the brain begin to actually damage the very nerve cells that release the pleasure chemical. So over time, the user realizes that meth doesn’t make her feel as good as it used to. So she uses more and more of the drug, trying to find that euphoria she covets. But it’s to no avail. The more she uses, the more her dopamine cells are damaged.
Eventually she gets to the point that she feels like she has to slam (inject) meth just to feel normal – just to get out of bed.
Many people have told me that meth is evil or of the devil. They get to the point where they will do anything – absolutely anything – for another hit. And they blame it all on the meth.
And since the euphoria is so sexual, women (and men) often resort to sex to get meth.
Maybe that is why I have seen so many cases where men in their thirties, forties or even fifties are caught with underage teenage girls. It literally boggles the mind.
Perhaps some of the allure is due to the sexual effects of meth. But the effects on dopamine, especially in the frontal part (cortex) of the brain, short circuit the ability of the user to make rational decisions, so she does things that she otherwise would never even consider doing.
I am going to just list a few recent cases below to illustrate the points I made in this week’s column. But if you search my website, or the Internet, or the records of any sheriff’s office, you will find many, many more cases just like these.
On June 20, 2016, Kenneth Wayne Jones, 41, from Roundup, Mont., was arraigned in Yellowstone County Justice Court on felony sex crime charges.
Mr. Jones was accused of repeatedly raping a 16-year-old girl over the course of two years, starting when she was only 14.
The girl told authorities that the sexual abuse started when Mr. Jones began using meth. My assumption is that he probably encouraged the teenage girl to use meth too.
On Friday, June 17, Brandon Scott Thomas, a.k.a. “Gambino,” age 25, of Roanoke, Va., pled guilty to one count of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute at least 50 grams of meth, two counts of sex trafficking by fraud, force or coercion, one count of conspiring to commit sex trafficking by fraud, force or coercion, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.
Mr. Thomas admitted that he ran a prostitution business involving several women out of hotels in Roanoke and Charlottesville.
In a press release, US Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr. said, “These women were trapped by addiction and the violent nature of a man who preyed upon their vulnerabilities.”
“Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes we investigate,” said Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations’ Washington, D.C. field office. “In this case, Thomas sold women just like he sold drugs.”
Mr. Thomas used the women’s addiction to and desire for meth to force them into sexual slavery for his own profit.
Finally, in a case out of New Orleans on June 15, Justin Wiley, 28, was booked into the Orleans Parish jail on a charge of first-degree rape.
In a four-month period, two women separately reported to New Orleans police that they were raped by a meth dealer they met at Louis Armstrong Park – a man who they identified as appearing in a Facebook profile under the name “Swinga Justtohard.”
The picture in the Facebook profile was none other than Mr. Wiley.
Once again, the allure of the sexual euphoria produced by meth led to the rape and abuse of multiple women in New Orleans. Who knows how many other women were raped by this man, but were too ashamed to come forward?
Maybe meth really is of the devil.
Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!
If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.