The meth epidemic - - ABC13


According to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the number of meth labs in South Carolina has nearly tripled in the past five years. There were just 26 reported meth lab incidents in 2007. Officials at SLED say there have been 302 from January to July 1 of 2012 alone. South Carolina has made its way into the top 10 meth producing states in the country and the state is now asking for federal help.

The effects of meth on the brain:
Brain experiences severe structural and functional changes
meth and the brain
Methamphetamine increases the release and blocks the reuptake of the brain chemical (or neurotransmitter) dopamine, leading to high levels of the chemical in the brain—a common mechanism of action for most drugs of abuse. Dopamine is involved in reward, motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function. Methamphetamine’s ability to release dopamine rapidly in reward regions of the brain produces the intense euphoria, or “rush,” that many users feel after snorting, smoking, or injecting the drug.
Chronic methamphetamine abuse significantly changes how the brain functions. Noninvasive human brain imaging studies have shown alterations in the activity of the dopamine system that are associated with reduced motor skills and impaired verbal learning. Recent studies in chronic methamphetamine abusers have also revealed severe structural and functional changes in areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory, which may account for many of the emotional and cognitive problems observed in chronic methamphetamine abusers.
Repeated methamphetamine abuse can also lead to addiction—a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, which is accompanied by chemical and molecular changes in the brain. Some of these changes persist long after methamphetamine abuse is stopped. Reversal of some of the changes, however, may be observed after sustained periods of abstinence

Source: The National Institute on Drug Abuse
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