Methamphetamine (meth) is a stimulant drug that is highly addictive and has gained popularity quickly over the years. In the US, there has been a significant increment in the use of meth over the past few decades, and its use is said to be more prevalent among homosexual males (Homer et al., 2012). The use of meth among this population and the general population is said to have a detrimental impact on efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS, as the drug is commonly used to initiate, boost, and prolong sexual encounters (Homer et al., 2012). Given the addictive nature of the drug, it is a worrisome trend to see a general increment in use all over the world. Meth is associated with both genetics and external factors, which drive the user to be quickly tolerant to the drug, thus affecting their socio-cognitive, households, and society negatively.
In most twin studies, it has been shown that various substance abuse forms show high levels of heritability. According to Barr et al. (2006), different studies show major links between varying genes and the use of meth or meth-induced psychosis development. The high-risk genes are found in ethnic groups, including Japanese and Chinese (Barr et al., 2006). Both environmental and genetic factors play a crucial role in substance use disorders. However, for individuals with an already-existing genetic predisposition, the probability of meth use is even higher when environmental and cultural factors that enhance and allow its use are at play. Mootz, Miner, and Phillips (2021) claim that genetic variations tend to affect one’s sensitivity to meth, influencing their use of the drug. Therefore, genetic considerations should be made when addressing the use and possible treatment for individuals who are heavily addicted to the drug.
An individual’s environment characterized by the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs makes it conducive for them to expand their use of drugs (Arria et al., 2006). Arria et al. (2006) claim that meth is more common in certain regions, and this predisposes individuals to its use. The use of meth has become more common among pregnant women and men who have sex with men (Arria et al., 2006; Homer et al., 2012). Some of the factors that prompt the use of meth among pregnant women include social isolation, poverty, domestic violence, and a history of violence (Smid, Metz & Gordon, 2019). Arria et al. (2006) claim that single pregnant women with low education levels are more likely to use meth and other illicit drugs. The use of alcohol during pregnancy is linked to being employed, older, and single, and most women who use illicit drugs tend to miss important prenatal care appointments, which might be costly to the well-being of the mother and the unborn baby. Among men who have sex with men, the use of meth is profound and acceptable as it is associated with a boost in sexual energy. However, various factors, such as stigma and discrimination faced among this population, tend to encourage the use of illicit drugs (Compton & Jones, 2021).
Meth negatively impacts the physical, mental, economic, and sexual health of individuals. Among pregnant women, meth is likely to cause clefting, fetal growth retardation, cranial abnormalities, and cardiac anomalies in the child (Arria et al., 2006). Meth also hurts the mental, behavioral, psychological, and physical health as well as the economic health of individuals (Watt et al., 2014). Impaired decision-making, as evidenced in impulsivity and risky sexual behaviors, is also common among meth users (Homer et al., 2012). Rawson, Gonzales, and Brethen (2002) claim that meth’s physiological impacts are almost immediate, resulting in high body temperatures, stomach cramps, shaking, stroke, hallucinations, paranoia, aggressive tendencies, insomnia, and anxiety. Users also tend to record poor memory, executive functioning, and attention. Furthermore, Watt et al. (2014) argue that users record an increase in impulsivity and libido and lessened inhibition, which might translate into risky sexual behaviors and increased vulnerability to acquiring sexually transmitted diseases like HIV. Lebni et al. (2020) report an increment in depression, suicide, and psychosis risk among meth users.
At the family level, the use of meth directly or indirectly affects the physical, mental, and economic health of users’ families, which, in turn, may cause anti-social behaviors, violence in relationships, family structure erosion, and negative parenthood (Watt et al., 2014). Meth is mainly linked with increased violence, especially domestic violence or intimate partner violence (Lebni et al., 2020). Furthermore, given the adverse mental health effects of health on the user, the family members are forced to bear the burden of care for the individual, who is likely to become socially isolated and depressed.
At the community level, the use of meth causes violence, crime, police corruption, and disruption of community cohesion (Watt et al., 2014). The community commonly bears the financial burden of meth use. In the US, Watt et al. (2014) note that the average health cost of individuals was approximately nine percent more than that of non-users, and meth users had a lower probability of being insured. Society also has to bear the burden of treatment on various facilities (Rawson, Gonzales & Brethren, 2002). The society also has to bear the cost of poor productivity, child injury and neglect, and a heightened burden on the justice and law enforcement system as meth users tend to engage in various crimes, and its use is also illegal (Watt et al., 2014).
Contingency management is among the most promising strategies for meth addiction treatment. It is important to develop treatment strategies to deal with the addiction and psychosis problems linked to meth use. Research shows that the best outcome can be obtained from evidence-based programs that integrate both substance abuse and mental health treatment (Barr et al., 2006). Rawson, Gonzales, and Brethen (2002) claim that meth dependence is complicated to manage. Inpatient care to manage symptoms is among the best solutions. However, the cost of care is very expensive, particularly since the use of meth is most common in highly impoverished regions with low access to health care. Pharmacotherapy can also be used in the management of meth addiction. Arria et al. (2006) suggest that the need for treatment services is targeted at pregnant women, particularly those with low educational and income backgrounds.
Awareness should also be created to help men who have sex with men have increased knowledge of the risks associated with drug abuse, particularly the risky sexual behaviors that might result from illicit drugs like meth. Watt et al. (2014) claim that in communities with profound meth use, HIV intervention efforts need to target meth users to help shed light on the knowledge of HIV, risk behaviors, and attitudes. Lastly, there is a need for behavioral and psychosocial treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which have been linked with high success in managing meth addiction (Rawson, Gonzales & Brethren, 2002). The aim of these strategies should be to stop the use of drugs, enhance knowledge on issues of relapse and addiction, provide education and support to family members affected by their loved one’s addiction and recovery, and increase awareness of self-help groups.
Meth addiction has become a key global problem that often affects individuals from low-income, drug-prone, and low-education backgrounds. These factors should inform policies as dealing with issues of poverty and unemployment might play a key role in eliminating or lessening the use of illicit drugs. Among men who have sex with men, the use of drugs is often linked with issues of discrimination and stigma, and therefore it is also essential to address these. Various strategies need to be combined to help deal with meth addiction. These strategies need to incorporate both treatments for drug use as well as mental health problems since the use of meth is linked with comorbid factors like depression and anxiety.
Arria, A. M., Derauf, C., LaGasse, L. L., Grant, P., Shah, R., Smith, L., & Lester, B. (2006). Methamphetamine and other substance use during pregnancy: preliminary estimates from the Infant Development, Environment, and Lifestyle (IDEAL) study. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 10(3), 293-302.
Barr, A. M., Panenka, W. J., MacEwan, G. W., Thornton, A. E., Lang, D. J., Honer, W. G., & Lecomte, T. (2006). The need for speed: An update on methamphetamine addiction. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 31(5), 301-313.
Compton, W. M., & Jones, C. M. (2021). Substance use among men who have sex with men. New England Journal of Medicine, 385(4), 352-356.
Homer, B. D., Halkitis, P. N., Moeller, R. W., & Solomon, T. M. (2013). Methamphetamine use and HIV in relation to social cognition. Journal of Health Psychology, 18(7), 900-910.
Lebni, J. Y., Ziapour, A., Qorbani, M., Baygi, F., Mirzaei, A., Safari, O., & Mansourian, M. (2020). The consequences of regular methamphetamine use in Tehran: qualitative content analysis. Substance abuse treatment, prevention, and policy, 15(1), 1-10.
Mootz, J. R., Miner, N. B., & Phillips, T. J. (2020). Differential genetic risk for methamphetamine intake confers differential sensitivity to the temperature‐altering effects of other addictive drugs. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 19(5), e12640.
Rawson, R. A., Gonzales, R., & Brethen, P. (2002). Treatment of methamphetamine use disorders: an update. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 23(2), 145-150.
Smid, M. C., Metz, T. D., & Gordon, A. J. (2019). Stimulant use in pregnancy–An under-recognized epidemic among pregnant women. Clinical obstetrics and gynecology, 62(1), 168.
Watt, M. H., Meade, C. S., Kimani, S., MacFarlane, J. C., Choi, K. W., Skinner, D., & Sikkema, K. J. (2014). The impact of methamphetamine (“tik”) on a peri-urban community in Cape Town, South Africa. International Journal of Drug Policy, 25(2), 219-225.
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Analyze and apply the appropriate ethical standards and social responsibilities of the human services profession to the delivery of human or community services (Human Services Concentration Outcome).
In Module 5, you created an outline and annotated bibliography for your final essay.
Based on the outline submitted in Module 5:
• Prepare a paper between 1250-1500. This paper should use all of the scholarly sources from the bibliography you submitted in Module 5. This paper should be in American Psychological Association (APA) format. This paper will be due at the end of Module 8.
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