Research Paper on Methamphetamine

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This paper will discuss the history and occurrence of abuse of the drug, its synthesis and characteristics of abuse, effects of its abuse as well as recommended treatments. In addition to these, the paper will give brief descriptions of the physiological characteristics of its abuse. History and Prevalence of Methamphetamine abuse Methamphetamine is a derivative of the stimulant amphetamine. In 1893, a Japanese pharmacologist, Nagayoshi Nagai first manufactured the drug from ephedrine. However, it did not become popular until 1940s, when American, German, and Japanese military personal used it to fight fatigue and boost performance, Japanese factory workers also used it during World War II. When the war ended, the remaining military stocks flooded the Japanese market, resulting to an epidemic of abuse. Because of the abuse, studies indicate that probably 5% of the population abused methamphetamine, with one-tenth of them thought to have suffered MA-induced psychotic symptoms (Meredith et al, 142). Studies indicate variant prevalence in abuse of the drug. For instance, several studies indicate that in 2004, about 1.4 million persons with 0.6 percent aged 12 or older had used methamphetamine in the past year, 0.2 percent about 583,000 people had used in the past month, and approximately 318,000 used methamphetamine for the first time in the past year. Between 2002 and 2004, there was a balance between the number of methamphetamine users and the number of new methamphetamine users. However, during the same 2002 to 2004 period, there was an increase in the number of past month methamphetamine users who met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual criteria for substance abuse or dependence in the past year. In this regard, there was about 164,000 that is 27.5 percent of past month methamphetamine users in 2002 compared to 346,000 about 59.3 percent in 2004 (Otero et al, 2). Synthesis of Methamphetamine The primary components for manufacturing methamphetamine are precursor chemicals. The ways of production are usually available on the internet or in underground journals and anyone can perform it so long as they have some high school chemistry experience. It is also difficult to regulate most of the chemicals because many of them are household products (Hunt et al, 7). Administration of Methamphetamine There are different routes of methamphetamine administration. Generally, there is a progression following the start of use, from oral ingestion regularly in gelatin capsules or presently in small wads of toilet tissue, or nasal insufflations, to intravenous use. In the 1980s, smoking of methamphetamine became widely popular in Asia and Hawaii, and occurred as Ice, which was smoking of larger crystals of methamphetamine in a pipe, similar to that of crack cocaine. Although this phenomenon attracted media coverage, it never achieved extensive popularity as a means of administration, and in comparison to others it remains minor (Logan, 137). Distribution of Methamphetamine Although methamphetamine distribution occurs throughout the human body, it is higher for some organs than for brain. This distribution of methamphetamine in the human body and in the organs is similar to the one in non-human primates and rats. In the human body, the uptake of methamphetamine is highest in lungs and kidneys, transitional in stomach, liver, spleen and pancreas and lowest in brain and heart