Watched the NatGeo Documentary “World’s Most Dangerous Drug” (194/366)

“Drugs … destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with your self esteem.”
~ Kurt Cobain


Meth, or Methamphetamine is more powerful, and cheaper than cocaine, which is why it is ravaging the nation’s rural communities (and many others in the world). The use of this drug is something that although I have never taken it, has affected me personally, and I am truly amazed at the strength, perseverance, and courage of those who have been able to escape from it, to battle their demons, and to go on to lead healthy lives again.

This is one of National Geographic’s “Explorer” series, and Lisa Ling goes into communities where meth use is prevalent and tries to find out why this drug is so addictive and so destructive.

Meth use in the United States started in the West, and in places like Oregon, Meth users commit nearly 85% of the property crimes and identity theft in the entire state, and in Portland jails, one in four inmates test positive for Meth when arrested.

Deputy Bret King of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office began to notice how much Meth was affecting the people of the community, and the people who used in particular, through the police database photographs of inmates over the course of several years and arrests, and recordings people who had come in high on Meth.  He used this information to begin an educational program called “Faces of Meth” – to spread awareness of this detrimental drug that was robbing so many of their minds, and their lives.

Meth combines the hyperactivity of cocaine with the delusions of LSD – it gives the user a boost of energy and a feeling of great strength.  It was designed to trick your brain, to release dopamine into the system, to give the user these supernatural sensations.

Chemists in Japan first synthesized Meth from ephedrine nearly 100 years ago, but for years there was not really  a purpose for it, until World War II.  Many troops (on both sides) took Meth to keep fighting past what their bodies would normally be exhausted by.  The Japanese Kamikaze pilots reportedly used Meth to keep them stoked for their suicide missions.  More than 60% of the world’s Meth users live in Asia today.  Even though it is illegal, it is so ingrained in the fast moving culture in places like Thailand, that people use it to work longer hours, and some bosses even hand it out to their employees to keep up production.  At one point, the Thai government estimated that more than 3 million people used the drug.  In 2003 the government staged a brutal crackdown on the drug and its users.  In only two months, more than 2,000 suspected drug dealers and users were killed – about 25 people a day.  Now, Meth addicts in Thailand fear for their lives, and yet are unable to stop using.

Unfortunately, in the way Meth tricks your brain, it is one of the most damaging drugs abused today.  The brain starts to “fight back” against the drug, and the more you use, the more you need to use just to feel “right” or “normal,” not even to get high.  Over time, users lose their health, their brain function, even their teeth.  And because of how Meth affects the brain, many are not able to see themselves for what they have become.  They can only see the need for another hit.

Experts say about 500,000 young adults try Meth each year.  It is one of the most addictive substances on the planet – as much as 92% of users relapse after treatment.  And although Meth has been a street drug since the 50’s, the ingredients used to be more difficult to come across.  Today, the main ingredient is found in over the counter medications, and the other components are legal, inexpensive, and readily available.  Because it is so cheap and relatively easy for drug dealers to produce, the supply is now alarmingly high, and the drug is unbelievably dangerous.

In this documentary, you see and hear stories of meth users, and see just how much this drug changes them over the course of longterm use; and stories about those who lost their lives because if this terrible substance.  You also hear stories from people who were able to break the cycle of use and get help; and about the programs taking place now to try to stop this epidemic.  This documentary is a heart-breaking look into the lives of those who have been affected by this brain-damaging, system-decimating, life-taking drug; and it is an important one to see, to understand this dangerous crisis that is affecting our world, so that we may help stop this tragedy of abuse from spreading even further.

Related Links:
National Geographic’s “World’s Most Dangerous Drug”

One Response to “Watched the NatGeo Documentary “World’s Most Dangerous Drug” (194/366)”
  1. syingchew says:

    Will have to add this to my Netflix list.

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