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Meth still top drug problem in
Meth treatments rise sharply over last decade
Methamphetamine Medicine May Cause Brain Damage
Meth still top drug problem in U.S., study
Meth abuse continues to fuel an increase in crimes like robbery and assault, straining the workload of local police forces despite a drop in the number of meth lab seizures, according to a recentsurvey.
Nearly half of county law enforcement officials consider methamphetamine their primary drug problem, more than cocaine, marijuana and heroin combined, the survey of the National Association of Counties found.
"Abuse of this highly addictive brain-altering drug continues to destroy lives and strain essential county services across America," said Bill Hansell, the association's president and commissioner of Umatilla County, Ore
The survey of 500 county law enforcement officials in 44 states showed that about half reported a decrease in the number of meth lab busts as a result of laws that restrict the sale of cold medicines with precursor ingredients used in the manufacture of meth.
That's consistent with federal figures released last month showing a 30 percent drop in the number of labs seized nationwide. But county officials said supply of the drug remains high from superlabs in California and Mexico.
About half the counties reported that one in five inmates are jailed because of meth-related crimes like robberies and burglaries. Another 17 percent of counties reported that one in two inmates are incarcerated for meth-related activity.
Hansell called on Congress to develop a comprehensive strategy to deal with the meth problem that includes more funding for anti-drug task forces, drug prevention campaigns, treatment programs and cleanup of toxic chemicals used to make meth.
Last month, the White House drug-policy office set a goal to cut
meth use by 15 percent over the next three years and increase
seizures of meth labs by 25 percent.
Meth treatments rise sharply over last
States in the Midwest and South that had few meth abuse patients a decade ago are now seeing a sharp rise in the rate of admissions to treatment centers, according to the report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The findings mirror the trend of meth abuse moving gradually from the West where the drug first became popular across the Midwest and South to the East Coast.
Nationwide, the admission rate for treatment of methamphetamine or amphetamine addiction rose from 28,000 in 1993 to nearly 136,000 patients in 2003, the report said.
The report found 18 states with meth treatment rates higher than the national rate: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Northeastern states had low rates of treatment admissions for meth
and amphetamine abuse in 1993 and those rates remained low in 2003,
the report said.
Medicine May Cause Brain Damage
Rat studies showed that the combination of methamphetamine and the medication, haloperidol, increased the risk of seizures and movement-related disorders; the drug combination killed off brain cells and led to an increase of toxic glutamate in the substantia nigra region of the brain, which controls movement.
"This work in laboratory animals raises immediate concerns that a standard treatment for methamphetamine overdose in humans might worsen drug abuse-related brain injuries," said William Carlezon, Ph.D., of McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. "A crucial next step is to determine how atypical antipsychotic medications would affect methamphetamine toxicity in the same model."
The research by Bryan Yamamoto, Ph.D., and colleagues at Boston University School of Medicine was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Hatzipetros, T, Raudensky, JG, Soghomonian, J-J, Yamamoto, BK.
(2007) Haloperidol Treatment after High-Dose Methamphetamine
Administration Is Excitotoxic to GABA Cells in the Substantia Nigra
Pars Reticulata. The Journal of Neuroscience, 27(22): 5895-5902; doi: