Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Methamphetamine and Drug Abuse in the Workplace

Don't be fooled with all the talk about Methamphetamine like it is something new. It's not. This nightmare substance that will enslave a user after one hit and turn them into something akin to a rotting corpse within a year is not new. I wrote an article in 1997 when law enforcement and federal government control agencies first started really focusing on this illicit drug. It has only gotten worse. "Ice" is a drug that has received a lot of attention in the media and become a major problem in our area of the country in recent years. What is it? "Ice" (you don't hear the term ICE used much, but it is still used) is the street name for a crystallized form of an illicit drug call methamphetamine hydrochloride. This drug is part of a class of drugs collectively known as amphetamines, which became highly regulated in 1965 to inhibit a black market that emerged from their abuse. There are several different types of amphetamines, and their effects are similar. Just as "Crack" is smokeable cocaine, "Ice" is smoke-able methamphetamine. The chemical properties of this drug are similar to cocaine, but the onset of its effects are slower and the duration is longer. Like cocaine, it is highly toxic and addictive. In general, chronic abuse of "Ice" produces a psychosis that resembles schizophrenia and is characterized by paranoia, picking at one's skin, severe dental problems, anger and rage-focused behavior. preoccupation with one's own thoughts, and auditory and visual hallucinations. Violent and erratic behavior is frequently seen among chronic abusers of amphetamines.