Professional News
What’s Behind the Meth Epidemic?
Psychiatric News
Volume 38 Number 1 page 12-12

Worldwide, amphetamine and cocaine are the mostly widely abused illicit drugs after cannabis. According to the World Health Organization, more than 35 million individuals regularly abuse amphetamine/methamphetamine, while 15 million abuse cocaine (mostly in North America), and fewer than 10 million abuse heroin. Richard Rawson, Ph.D., of UCLA’s Integrated Substance Abuse Programs believes that methamphetamine is going to be around for long time for the following reasons:

• Production of methamphetamine is relatively easy, and precursor chemicals cannot be eliminated.

• Methamphetamine’s effects are long lasting, and the drug is likely to remain available and inexpensive, at one-quarter the cost of cocaine.

• Many people can obtain the formula for methamphetamine from the Internet, and organized drug-trafficking cartels are actively engaged in the manufacturing and distribution of the drug.

• Methamphetamine is expanding from a purely Caucasian, English-speaking clientele to Hispanic and Asian populations.

• Usefulness of the drug in reducing fatigue and its value in weight reduction make it attractive to users. If they do not inject the drug, many people can take methamphetamine for years before negative consequences begin to occur.

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