How Some Develop a Taste for Meth

SEPTEMBER 29, 2016
I ran into an old friend at a party the other day. I’d known him since he was about 6 and he’s now in his mid-20s. For some reason, the kid had taken a shine to me.
 
He was into the idea of my marathon running. When I was running a personal record marathon, he was there waiting for me in front of his house to splash me down, but I declined his enthusiastic gesture because I didn’t want to get my shoes wet. He then ran about a half mile right next to me.
 
Young adulthood hasn’t been treating him so well. He got into methamphetamine and is doing everything he can to kick it, but he’s struggling. He knew about my addictive past, and we talked. I suggested a 12-step program, but he wants to do it on his own. I’ll let him, for now. However, I feel an intervention coming on.
 
As we talked, I asked him about his childhood medication regimen. I knew he was medicated, but I forgot on what. He said he’d been put on mixed amphetamine salts to treat his attention deficit disorder.
 
“And it gave you a taste for meth,” I said before he was about to.
 
According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 4 in 5 users had abused prescription opioids before converting to injectable heroin. Although I was unable to come up with any solid data on amphetamine salts leading to meth abuse, I imagine the numbers are similar.
 
I can’t wait for the day when pharmacists can dispense medical cannabis because it’s a far more noble thing to dispense than some of the things we dole out to kids. Cannabinoids can do all of what opioids and amphetamines do for their respective disorders and then some. Opioid maintenance isn’t an indicated disorder for medical cannabis, but it needs to be. High-THC oils need to be part of the program, as well. If we’re concerned that we’re getting patients “high,” perhaps they should consider the fact that psychiatry is nothing but trying to give patients a buzz they can live with.
 
Although modern medicine has done wonders for society, let’s not ignore the fact that we have caused a horror or 2. We excel at creating drug addicts, and then we act surprised when a patient checks into rehab or is arrested for illicit drug possession. Although these medications have their legitimate uses, we must be more vigilant on counseling patients of all ages on the risks of addiction, or this already horrible problem is going to get worse.
 
Jay Sochoka, RPh, is not a drug pusher. He just sort of feels that way.


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