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I’m Worried that my Child is a Crystal Meth User

How do I know? What do I do?

Boy oh boy, I wish I had a buck for every time I’ve heard this. Which is really very sad and tragic to think of how many of us parents go through the torturous roller coaster of having an addictive child and do not know to send them to rehab in Pheonix for Crystal Meth. Then there’s the added stress of the adult children who are no longer legally under our care, the 18- 20 somethings. Maybe they are what is labeled “failure to launch” and living with you in your home, often without steady employment, not paying rent, and then on top of it, being a disruption in your life: in and out at all hours, strangers showing up, things suddenly “missing.” It’s a parents nightmare: if I kick them out they might die. If they stay I’ll be put through hell. Many, many parents end up keeping their children in front of them, which means they are at the house or nearby. Most do not take the risk of losing their child to drugs and crystal meth, but unfortunately making it easier on the addict ends up as enabling them to stay in the vicious cycle.   Slang names change throughout time. Listed below are some common terms. If your adult child is on the phone and you hear some of these words, play closer attention that they might mean they are talking about drugs, perhaps setting up a deal and “scoring.”

  • Crystal Meth
  • Meth
  • Crystal
  • Speed
  • Crank
  • Tweek
  • Uppers
  • Chalk
  • Christina
  • Tina
  • Go fast
  • Cookies
  • Cotton candy
  • Dunk
  • Gak
  • Go-go juice
  • No doze
  • White cross
  • Pookie
  • Rocket fuel
  • Scooby snax
  • Wash
  • Trash
  • Garbage

When crystal meth is combined with other drugs, such as Ecstasy, cocaine, crack and coffee, there are slang terms for those combinations as well. These include “twisters,” “hugs & kisses,” “fire,” “shabu,” “biker coffee” and “party & play.”

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs on Crystal Meth

So, how do you know if you’re your adult is among those 111,000 crystal meth users in this country? Use of meth produces some tell-tale signs among users…such as the following seven common and easily detectable indicators.

Weight Loss

–  Crystal Meth is a stimulant, meaning it speeds up the body’s central nervous system. It has even been used medically to treat obesity in the past. If your teen is using meth, you will see a noticeable drop in body weight. This can be due to the physical effects of the drug, as well as a loss of appetite or general lack of interest in food.

“Meth Mouth”

– Crystal Meth causes an extremely dry mouth, which leaves teeth without their normal protection of saliva. Users may also grind their teeth and typically lack good hygiene. This combination causes dental problems. Tooth decay is common. Burns on the lips can also indicate the teen was smoking through a hot pipe.

Mood Swings

– While this may seem like standard behavior for any young adult, it can be a sign of drug use. Meth often causes aggressive behavior, as well as depression as the body’s systems, are negatively affected and users cope with withdrawal.

Isolating

– people using Crystal Meth will likely lose interest in most, if not all, social pursuits. Their friendships and interactions diminish. They isolate, putting little effort into things such as work, sports, extracurricular activities or hobbies.

“Tweaking”

– Crystal Meth users often get into a what is termed a “cycle of abuse”. Your adult child may use meth for days, running on no sleep and only stopping when they  run out of meth or is physically incapable of using more. After a while, the drug does not give the desired effects, resulting in more use, which leads to increased agitation. Often during the “high” the user is engaged in an obsessive activity, such as collecting objects, working with small objects, compulsive cleaning and coming down from the drug can cause extreme paranoia and have auditory and visual hallucinations. Those in this state are “tweaking.” Tweaking signs include violent outbursts, quivering voice, rapid eye movements and jerky body movements.

Skin Lesions

– Crystal Meth often causes the sensation of “bugs” crawling on or just under  the skin. As a result, meth users will scratch and pick over and over at their skin, creating sores and often injuring themselves in the process. Their hygiene is also poor resulting in dirty nails, and the sores they pick at will become infected.

Lowered Mental Function

– The use of meth will cause poor mental functioning.  You may notice your adult child has memory loss, lack of concentration, and trouble with articulating. Using an over abundance of meth can cause permanent damage: at times the user undergoes a psychotic break, where they have taken so much the brain is no longer capable of returning to its normal functioning.

What should I I do to help them?

The best way to help your adult child is to catch it early. Stay involved in their life if you suspect it. Don’t preach at them, let them know your concerns, listen, and ask open ended questions to get them engaged in conversation. Often assistance with helping them get sober. If they are still on your insurance policy, you most likely can admit them into a rehab if they would be willing to go. But you need to be part of their treatment when they go to rehab in Pheonix: attend family sessions and most importantly: EDUCATE YOURSELF ON CRYSTAL METH! There is a common phrase that rolls around the treatment industry and inside clinician’s offices: addiction is a family disease.  This doesn’t mean you are or were a bad parent, it does mean that you are missing something that your child has needed, and that is the hardest thing for parents to grasp in my opinion. Taking the responsibility of possibly being part of the suffering that your adult child is going through raises many questions for the parent: Wasn’t I there enough? Didn’t I give them all that I could? Didn’t I work hard to create a better life for them? If this sounds like you, don’t despair. Yes ,you did all those things and yet your daughter or son is a meth addict. WHY? There are multiple answers from pre-disposed conditions, socio-economic pressures, bullying at school, being given everything and spoiled, resulting in entitlement and immaturity, feeling of worthlessness and low self-esteem, not being able to live up to your expectations, a family member a user in denial (this includes prescription pills) and poor communication. It effects all areas from small towns to big cities, all economic levels, and every age. As this is a family disease, I have often suggested that the adult child get the treatment they need from a professional team. A rehab or treatment facility that can focus on the underlying issues and be able to get to the crux of the matter with the addict, can start them on a good foundation to recovery. Post residential treatment, an outpatient setting is often an appropriate time to involve the family. If you or your adult child chooses to enter an inpatient rehab facility, please know upfront the rules the center has regarding communication. In early sobriety, it is often a negative impact on the addict if the family becomes too involved. Allow your adult child space, and listen to the clinical team of when is the right time for contact. In addition, a very important piece of information is that the treatment center has the client’s confidentiality as it’s utmost priority. If the adult child no longer wants contact with you, and you call in to speak with them, you will hear the center say “I cannot confirm or deny” if they are in fact at the center. The adult child may have taken you off a call list, or they may have left on their own accord. Prior to attending a rehab, if you can talk to your adult child about how they want to be contacted, it would cause less anxiety for all. In the meantime, you can attend meetings to understand more about the disease and how to handle the situation. 12-Steps meetings aren’t just for the addict, check into the local ALANO CLUBS or call a hotline to find out the next ALANON meetings, which are for loved ones of addicts. Your adult child can’t get sober on their own, and you shouldn’t think you can handle it on your own either.

If you think it’s somewhere else, your wrong

It’s  here at home, maybe even in yours: Meth remains one of Arizona’s most pervasive drugs, with law enforcement authorities seizing nearly 6,400 pounds of methamphetamine in 2016— a 294 percent over the last six years, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The highly-addictive stimulant has surpassed cocaine, which now is more difficult to get. Arizona serves as one of the largest drug gateways in the United States, and Phoenix is already a major hub for illicit activity. Drugs and violence go hand in hand and in 2012, the average violent crime rate in the city was 373 per 100,000, exceeding the national average by a whopping 159. In 2013, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Maricopa County compiled a report which showed a total 18,334 arrests that were related to drugs. In recent years, there has been an increase of drug trafficking in Arizona. Authorities report that there has been a significant rise in the import of methamphetamine into the state as of 2018.