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Meth Labs, a growing Epidemic

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The research topic; METH LABS, encompasses the role played by Meth Labs and their effects thereof. The research is based mainly in the United States with special reference made to Virginia State. This is because unlike most states, Virginia is still reeling under the effect of Meth Labs that are posing danger not only to the individuals but to the environment as a whole. To get to understand the idea of the Meth labs the research work has been organized into parts that ultimately helps one to get a broader understanding of the issue under study. For instance, the composition, administration and effects of Meth Labs have all been discussed separately and to finer details to help incorporate the whole Meth Labs and their influence. Data used to compile this report are purely secondary but are all from trusted areas. Reference has been made to various sources that have in one way or another aided in the compilation of this report


            A meth lab is a clandestine, secretly operated drug lab that comprises materials and ingredients used to make crystal meth.Methamphetamine or methamphetamine methyl amphetamine, N-methyl amphetamine, or desoxyephedrine, colloquially known as crystal meth or ice, is a psycho stimulant of the phenethylamine and amphetamine class of psychoactive drugs. The ingredients used to make methamphetamine in clandestine laboratories are generally household products that by themselves present little danger, but when combined can have serious toxic and explosive effects. These ingredients are often mixed and cooked together to make meth and these harmful chemical mixtures can remain on household surfaces for long periods running into months or years.


            Meth can be injected, snorted, smoked, or ingested orally. Injection, also known as slamming, banging, shooting up or mainlining. This is a popular method used by addicts which carries relatively greater risks than other methods of administration. Due to the sharing of the needles involved, there exists a higher risk of contracting other maladies such as HIV and hepatitis. Smoking, which basically refers to vaporizing of the substance to inhale the resulting fumes or smoke, is also another method of administering it. It is commonly smoked in glass pipes made from glass blown Pyrex tubes and light bulbs. It can also be smoked off aluminum foil, which is heated underneath by a flame. This presents the highest damage of the user’s chest.

            Insufflations or snorting in other terms. Here, the methamphetamine is crushed into a fine powder and then sharply inhales it sometimes with a straw or a rolled up banknote, it’s then absorbed through the soft tissue in the mucous membrane of the sinus cavity and straight into the bloodstream. It causes chemical damage to teeth Suppository, anal or vaginal insertion is a less popular method of administration used in the community with comparatively little research into its effects. It is however believe to stimulate sexual pleasures on its users and to last longer in the body system.

      Occurrence of meth labs.  Owing to the large population available in the United States of America, the occurrence of such Meth labs is undoubtedly widespread. Meth is believed to be the fastest growing drug threat and the most prevalent synthetic drug manufactured in the United States. Large clandestine drug labs are more often than not operated illegally for underground activities. Meth labs have been discovered in hotel and motel rooms, restaurants, barns, private homes and apartments, storage facilities, fields, vacant buildings and in moving or stationary vehicles.

            Meth has a number of effects to its users. Others could be classified as importance while most of them are detrimental in nature. These effects are categorized into two main classes; effects and adverse effects. First, there may be health effects associated with the exposure to chemicals to make meth before, during and after the process. This has made it one of the greatest epidemics in the United States. These effects include; physical, psychological, withdrawals, addictions etc. Physical effects can include anorexia, hyperactivity, dilated pupils, flushing, restlessness, dry mouth, headache, tachycardia, bradycardia, tachypnea, hypertension, hypotension, hyperthermia, blurred vision, dizziness, twitching, insomnia, numbness, palpitations, arrhythmias, tremors, dry and/or itchy skin, acne, pallor, convulsions, heart attack, stroke, and death.  Psychological effects can include euphoria, anxiety, increased libido coupled with increased tolerance to sexual stimulation, alertness, concentration, increased energy, increased self-esteem, self-confidence, sociability, irritability, aggressiveness, psychosomatic disorders, psychomotor agitation, delusions of grandiosity, hallucinations, excessive feelings of power and invincibility, repetitive and obsessive behaviors, paranoia, and with chronic and/or high doses, amphetamine psychosis can occur.( Diane, 2005)

            Adverse effects include addiction and meth mouth,Methamphetamine is highly addictive. To combat addiction, doctors are beginning to use other forms of stimulants such as dextroamphetamine, the dextrorotatory right-handed isomer of the amphetamine molecule, to break the addiction cycle in a method similar to the use of methadone in the treatment of heroin addicts. Research has also suggested that modafinil can help addicts quit methamphetamine use. The mental depression associated with methamphetamine withdrawal lasts longer and is more severe than that of cocaine withdrawal. Meth mouth, Methamphetamine users and addicts may lose their teeth abnormally quickly, a condition informally known as meth mouth. According to the American Dental Association, meth mouth is probably caused by a combination of drug-induced psychological and physiological changes resulting in xerostomia (dry mouth), extended periods of poor oral hygiene, frequent consumption of high-calorie, carbonated beverages and bruxism that is, teeth grinding and clenching,

            The Scope of methamphetamine abuse in the United States is amazing. According toIDA’S Community Epidemiology Work Group CEWG an early warning network of researchers that provides info about the nature and patterns of drug abuse in 21 major areas of the U.S, reported recently that methamphetamine continues to be a problem in the west. However, the biggest danger posed by this epidemic is its eastward drift to other eastern based states of the United States.The abuse of methamphetamine - a potent and highly addictive psycho stimulant - is a very serious problem in the United States. Initially limited to Hawaii and western parts of the country, methamphetamine abuse continues to spread eastward, with rural and urban areas everywhere increasingly affected. According to one national survey, approximately 10 million people in the United States have tried methamphetamine at least once.

            Virginia State is one of the states composing the United States in which the existence of Meth labs has been felt extensively. The state of Virginia especially on its western parts has had a thorough experience of the Meth lab effect. Unlike most states in the U.S., the state of Virginia still has a huge meth lab problem. While most states are feeling the effects of Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations, Virginia is still fending off independent meth lab operators.
In an attempt to handle the meth lab epidemic that is crippling this state, Virginia officials have implemented a new program called Virginia Meth Lab Watch. The purpose of this program is to raise the level of awareness of the methamphetamine lab problem; and train retail employees to recognize the signs of individuals who are obtaining the precursors of meth production; and limit the accessibility of precursors. 

Due to the widespread effects obtained from Virginia certain measures have been put in place to identify the problems and provide amicable solutions thereof.  Such measures border mainly the legal channels that can be adopted to help curb this epidemic. Therefore laws and legislations have been formulated to control the whole process.

            The West Virginia Legislature for example, has specifically found that “use of methamphetamine can result in fatal kidney and lung disorders, brain damage, liver damage, blood clots, chronic depression, hallucinations, violent and aggressive behavior ,malnutrition, disturbed personality development, deficient immune system and psychosis. Children born to mothers who are abusers of methamphetamine can be born addicted and suffer birth defects, low birth weight, tremors, excessive crying, attention deficit disorder and behavior disorder.

            In Conclusion therefore, due to the widespread effects of the Meth Labs, everyone is called upon to be extra vigilant to help combat this vice at a personal level. We should all make the fight against Meth labs our number one priority considering the effects it has had on the environment


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